I just received word from my flatmate about a possible break-in. The building is secured by an outermost door, behind which lie doors to our flat and one other. These doors are also kept locked, but today my flatmate returned home to find our flat's door open without sign of forced entry.

We have only started to move in very recently and are still moving things between properties. The property in question is managed by an estate agent.

Do we have any legal grounding for demanding that the locks be replaced and room keys provided? (We were not supplied with individual room keys despite the doors coming with locks).

EDIT: Following confirmation from someone living in the other flat, my flatmate is certain that the door was shut and locked before his leaving. Also, there doesn't appear to be anything missing, though that doesn't rule out a break-in.

  • "Without sign of forced entry" - according to who? Unless you are an expert in physical home security, or have a report from such, there is nothing to base this on.
    – Nij
    Aug 4 '16 at 1:21
  • I suppose what I mean to say is: there's nothing broken. Does this affect the landlord's obligation?
    – Jack
    Aug 4 '16 at 5:59
  • 1
    That would depend on what is required by law and what is conditional to the contract. If you have a right to security, and this has been breached, the landlord has obligation to meet the condition. But you would need to show the breach (or equivalently, get them to admit one).
    – Nij
    Aug 4 '16 at 8:12
  • I am a landlord. As a landlord, I have the responsibility to reasonably ensure the security of any place that I rent. It is trivial to change locks or re-key a lock. Generally, if all the keys are surrendered to be by the previous tenants, then that is fine. However, if they are not, the locks get re-keyed immediately for my own security as well as any future tenant. What the law says is a different matter. Not sure it is covered. Not in he law I have read. Still, it is a reasonable request and it is not like you are asking for a lot. Check your lease.
    – closetnoc
    Aug 9 '16 at 5:53
  • @Jack - Practical advice - if it's a Euro lock (such as you get on PVC doors) then spend the £20 for a new lock from your local DIY store and replace it yourself. Very easy, with plenty of how-to videos online. If it's a Yale latch lock it may be slightly more effort (not sure, never had to try with one of those).
    – AndyT
    Nov 17 '16 at 16:51

Yes ! One of the first things any tenant in a new property should do is arrange with the landlord for the locks to be changed. You don't know how much time has passed since last they were changed and how many people may have copies of the keys.

As such, even if there were no trespassing, it's a security risk for you and your home and it disrupts your "right of quiet enjoyment" which stipulates you have exclusive and private access to your home.

Your landlord has a right to access, though they must coordinate this with you and provide you at least 24 hour notice requesting access. Though you're also free to deny them access, if it's not convenient for you.

You can even arrange the change of the locks yourself and provide a spare key to your landlord.

  • When changing the locks yourself, you're not even legally required to provide a spare key to your landlord. Your rental contract may specify otherwise; I'm not sure whether such a clause would be legally enforceable though - such a clause might be held to be contra to the "right to quiet enjoyment".
    – AndyT
    Nov 17 '16 at 16:50

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