Should You Change The Locks When Moving Into A New Home?
Whether you are renting or purchasing your new home, one thing that most people forget to consider is the locks. There is no way of knowing how many keys have been made and handed out by the previous occupants and whether, when they left, they dutifully collected them all back. In many cases, this is entirely innocent, a spare key is given to a neighbour or friend in case of emergencies, but in some situations, the keys to your house could fall into the wrong hand, leaving your new home vulnerable. So why should you ensure you change your locks when moving into a new home?
If you speak to locksmiths and the police, they should all be saying the same thing. For peace of mind changing the locks when you move into a new home is a good idea from a security point of view. This might sound like something a locksmith might say to gain more work, but it is just for your peace of mind. The history of your home is unknown, you don’t know who lived there and what happened, so it makes sense. Changing the locks is even something you can do yourself if you have some basic DIY knowledge and can be the cheapest method of restoring complete security to your home.
It may be a relatively rare occurrence, and most people are probably trustworthy, but the last thing you want is someone to let themselves into your home. Things happen, and we have heard stories of friends or relatives appearing and letting themselves into the home, unaware that the previous occupant has left. If they were not informed, the chances are it could be a bad situation, and you do not want to be involved. Angry exes, and upset relatives, really are not something you want to have to deal with when you have just moved in.
Before changing the locks, check with your insurance company to make sure you understand the requirements and do not leave yourself without cover. Usually, main front and rear doors should have a minimum standard, but as long as you meet this and inform them of this fact, you have nothing to worry about. Remember to keep your receipts to prove you have upgraded your security, and think carefully before handing out duplicate keys. If you don’t change the locks, you could also find that if there were a burglary or home invasion, the insurance would be invalidated as they consider that you did not take the correct steps to fully secure the property.
In some cases, there may be a lot of people who need to access your home, for example, if you have carers coming and going. Instead of having a load of keys cut to hand out, a safer method is to have a key safe on the wall outside. These tend to be operated with a padlock-style four-number code and keep one key safe inside until it is needed. If you give everyone the code, you increase security. For example, if the key goes missing, you will instantly know, and none of the people using it have any reason to take it off the premises, making it harder to get a copy made. If someone stops working for you and no longer needs access, you can simply change the passcode on the key safe and reissue it to the people who still need it. This is also an excellent tip for older people or anyone who lives alone, as the code can be given to the emergency services in the event they need to come out to you.
The best advice is to change the locks on your moving day, but as soon as possible afterward is ok if you cannot arrange it. There are a few options available if you engage the services of a locksmith, and this includes changing all the locks to one single key. This is a longer installation process, so most companies provide a temporary locking system when you move in, then return to install a single key system when all the locks have been manufactured.
Everyone has the right to be safe in their home, even if it is rented. Landlords should have no issue with you covering the cost of changing the locks, provided you keep them informed. In most cases, you will need to leave a set of keys with the property management agency or the landlord directly, but of course, this is a perfectly safe thing to do. If you do rent, you may need to accept that the work is carried out by a professional to ensure there is no damage, as you do not own the property. If your landlord is not keen on you changing the locks, you should pursue the issue with the management company as it is a fundamental right to feel safe and secure in your home.
Of course, moving home is not the only time you may need to change the locks, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important. Remember, when you carry your keys, do not have anything to identify you or the property on your keyring. At least then, if you lose them, there is less chance they can be used in a burglary, but if you have lost your keys changing locks may be a good idea. If you live in a high-crime area, we can advise you on the most secure locks, and if needed upgrading them will add to the security of your home. In some cases, locks can be rekeyed instead of completely replaced, which is a more complicated process but can work out cheaper as a lot of the lock hardware remains the same. The tumblers or key pins are changed, which means a new key is needed rendering any old key useless.