Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Rental Recon
As a property owner, you know the importance of reliable landlord locks for your properties. Ensuring the security of your tenants directly affects your business so finding the right locks for your needs is crucial.
Since you might not know what are the different types of apartment locks, we can help. We are here to help you determine what is the best key system for property management, one that gives you access to your properties while also offering your tenants security while they live there and makes it easy for you as a landlord to ensure security.
What to Look for When Buying Landlord Locks for Your Rental
When you invest in locks for a rental property, there are certain characteristics to look for as you search for the best choices. The most commonly used locks are sturdy, durable, and prevent break-ins. We know that you want to balance the cost of purchasing a long-lasting lock that with security for you and your tenants.
When you choose a smart lock/key combination, the smart lock adds convenience and the option to lock and unlock remotely, while the key is a master that only you keep. However, if you prefer a standard deadbolt, you will find that they have smart capabilities that improve performance and ease of use.
If you live in a place where the law requires you to change the locks after a certain tenancy length, the investment of a smart lock deadbolt or a Wi-fi compatible keypad lock will save you time and money. Imagine how much money you will save never having to call the locksmith again!
Standard Key Locks
Traditional key locks are a reliable way to open and lock doors of any dwelling type. While they have been replaced with smart locks in many ways, a keyed lock offers you the distinct advantage of switching the locks of several properties. This keeps tenants who have made extra keys from returning and entering the home, possibly causing distress to the new tenants.
You can change out a physical lock quickly and this lock type is not expensive. Just keep a couple of extra locks on hand to move them around for security at all your properties.
If you are wondering whether a landlord should put a smart lock on a rental property, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. While you might not ever be ready to let go of using traditional keys, the current smart locks give you smart keys. Many tenants are tech-savvy and like the smart locks that offer digital keypads and fingerprint options to open the door without having to pull keys out of a pocket or bag.
We have found the combination keypad with a key lock is a great option. A primary advantage of a smart lock with a key option can be that you no longer have to worry about tenants making duplicate keys since you hold the master. They use a code for entry.
Whenever you have a tenant turnover, you will need to switch out or rekey the locks. If you are unsure of how many sets of keys do you give a tenant, most landlords provide one set of keys. After the tenant moves out, you can change the locks or rekey them.
Is it better to rekey or change locks for a new tenant? That depends on your preference and the level of security you want to provide. Some keyed locks allow you to change the interior cylinders which is an easy way to change the access. Other locks have smart keys which you can change digitally. However, if physically changing the lock cylinders or the deadbolt gives you peace of mind, that is a viable option.
If you don’t have the original key to the property lock and you wonder, Can I rekey a lock without the original key? you can enlist the help of a locksmith to remove the original lock for replacement. If you wish, they can make a key for the replaced lock so you can use it at another property.
Landlord Master Key Systems
Utilizing a master key system can eliminate the need for multiple keys for a specific property. this key gives you access to everything that is locked at a property. This is a great way to protect your tenants while retaining access to the property for yourself.
Something you need to consider if your rental properties are in high-crime areas is lock bumping where criminals have a sure system to align the pins of a traditional cylinder lock, giving them access to the dwelling. The smart deadbolt and other locks prevent bumping.
Several smart key locks let you rekey a lock in seconds while ensuring your master key still works. You should also look at the anti-drill and bump protection a lock offers to enhance security for yourself and the tenants.
The Best Landlord Locks for Your Rental Properties
We like the Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt best because it connects with smart capabilities so you can lock and unlock the doors from anywhere. This can be great when you need to let a prospective tenant into the property but you can’t be physically present. When they leave, you can lock the door remotely. You also get the master key option if that makes you feel more comfortable.
3 used from $211.95
- Built-in WiFi allows you to lock/unlock from anywhere, plus set up guest access codes for recurring, temporary or permanent access when paired with the Schlage Home app or Key by Amazon app, no additional accessories required
- For additional convenience, enjoy voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant
- Create and manage up to 100 access codes for trusted friends and family to use with the fingerprint-resistant, capacitive touchscreen with easy one-touch locking
Our Choice for Best Landlord Locks: Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt
Schlage locks have long been known as reliable locks. Their materials and fabrication stand the test of time, making them a great choice. Add smart capabilities and you have a lock that works well remotely and on-site. This is a win-win for you and your tenants.
We like that the Schlage Encode connects with Alexa, Google, Ring, and Key from Amazon. This pretty much covers all the bases for connectivity. Since it operates with Bluetooth and wi-fi, we can handle locking and unlocking remotely and physically with a master key.
We can program permanent codes for property cleaners, pest control, and others who need regular or periodic access. While we can program virtual keys for family members and friends who need a place to stay, we also have the physical key to ensure we always have access no matter the code.
We no longer stress about ensuring keys are labeled or whether we can get there to lock the door when someone moves out because we can handle that remotely. And, remember, you still get the smart key option to give immediate access no matter the programmed code.
The Schlage Encode is easy to install and only requires a screwdriver. The installation instructions are easy to follow with the Wi-Fi capability embedded in the lock so we don’t have to have any other smart connectors.
If you are not handy, you can follow the tutorial from Schlage that gives you step-by-step instructions.
While some apartment and home landlord locks have little to no break-in prevention, the Schlage Encode has the highest residential security score and boasts a built-in alarm if it senses that the door is being forced open. The siren-style sound is enough to scare away an intruder and give your tenant time to call the police.
Schlage Encode locks come in a variety of finishes so you can choose the one that blends best with the exterior doors for a seamless appearance. You can select from aged bronze, mat black, bright chrome, or satin nickel.
Other Good Lock Alternatives for Landlords
When the Schlage Encode lock features don’t do what you want, we have three more lock alternatives that work exceptionally well. One of these locks will likely do what you need with a minimum of work on your part.
Schlage is another lock brand that we can rely on to do the job well. Their locks are made of sturdy materials and offer a range of options to ensure your tenants and property are secure.
Kwikset 98160-009 816 Key Control Single Cylinder Deadbolt
A great choice is the Kwikset 98160-009 816 Key Control Single Cylinder Deadbolt. This is like a traditional deadbolt but has smart key technology. It is easy to install and eliminates the need for moving locks around to ensure there are no keys left floating around that can open the door. We have found changing the key in this lock to be fast and effortless.
4 used from $32.46
- KEYED DEADBOLT: Use on doors requiring a high level of security, turn piece interior locking, exterior locking using a key. Recommended for exterior-facing doors
- SMARTKEY SECURITY: Kwikset’s SmartKey Security technology protects against advanced break-in techniques and allows you to re-key your lock yourself in seconds
- EASY INSTALL: Do it yourself, installs in minutes with just a screwdriver, all the hardware you need is included for a hassle-free installation, detailed directions provided
This is the old-school deadbolt-type Kwikset Key Control lock that allows you to change the key on the spot. This Smart Key capable lock is better than a traditional deadbolt since you don’t have to worry about getting all the keys back from tenants.
Best of all, tenants can’t lock themselves out because the door won’t lock without their key!
Advantages of the Kwikset Key Control:
- You can rekey the lock as often as you need to
- Get a new key in 3 steps
- Protects against break-ins since it can’t be picked or drilled
Disadvantages of the Kwikset Key Control:
- All locks come with the same master key, meaning someone who owns this lock could possibly use it on your
Kwikset Smart Code Keyless Keypad
The Kwikset Smart Code Keyless Keypad lock is a good backup for several reasons. First, we can rekey the lock ourselves in minutes which is a great convenience. This Kwikset lock makes keeping up with getting the keys back from tenants unnecessary.
- One touch locking with a motorized deadbolt & back lit keypad for increased visibility.Control method:Touch.Note: Measure your door's backset, cross bore and thickness to ensure you find the right fit.
- Eight customizable access codes plus a master code option; Compatible with Kwikset (KW1) keyway
- Latch has adjustable backset 2 to 3/8 to 2 to 3/4 inches to fit all standard door preparations; Featuring SmartKey Security re key technology
Most tenants have made extra key copies so we never know how many keys are floating around. Instead of worrying about that, we just rekey the lock without having to remove it. Rekeyable locks offer the best of both worlds—smart key options with traditional master key access, too.
The Kwikset Smart Code Keyless Keypad has much to recommend it for a rental property. We found the installation easy and the lock itself to be easy-to-use. It has a satin nickel finish that blends with most front door colors and a touch-button keypad.
Advantages of the Kwikset Smart Code:
- Smart key security
- Lever is solid and feels secure
- Easy to install
- Has a traditional key backup
- Stands up to harsh weather
Disadvantages of the Kwikset Smart Code:
- Is not Wi-Fi compatible unless you purchase the connector
- The keypad does not illuminate automatically
Kwikset 99070-101 Powerbolt2 Door Lock
The third option is Kwikset 99070-101 Powerbolt2 Door Lock which offers several keycodes from five buttons with a master key option for you as the landlord. Your tenants won’t be calling you anymore if they get locked out since they can set their own codes and enter without needing a key.
1 used from $91.42
- SECURE KEYLESS ENTRY: Fast and quiet motorized deadbolt with illuminated keypad provides keyless door entry to your home, and one-touch locking when leaving
- AUTO-LOCKING SAFETY: Setup deadbolt to automatically lock after entry or exit, pick from multiple time settings, perfect for getting in and out in a hurry
- EASY PROGRAMMING: Setup keyless entry with 6 programmable unique custom user codes for anytime access, includes 2 physical keys to manually lock and unlock
The Kwikset Powerbolt Lock eliminates the possibility of tenants locking themselves out. You get quick and easy installation instructions with a Kwikset video. The Powerbolt also has a smart key master that lets you change the lock anytime right on the spot.
We installed ours in just a few minutes with one screwdriver.
Advantages of the Kwikset Powerbolt Lock:
- Offers six reusable pass codes
- Protects against bumping or lock picking
- The keypad is illuminated at night
- Once someone tries the keypad more than five times, an alarm sounds and the key is disabled for almost a minute
Disadvantages of the Kwikset Powerbolt Lock:
- Requires AA batteries
When you own multiple properties, especially if one or more is an apartment building, you need a simple solution to changing locks. Not only that, but no one wants to have to open the door for a locked out tenant. Landlord locks with smart key capability remedy the hassle of physically changing locks while protecting your tenants and your properties. We also like smart locks for the convenience of managing locking and unlocking properties remotely.