Locksmiths Challenge: Who Is The Real Homeowner?

May 31, 2022

There are many advantages of using locksmith services. For instance, they can repair and install locks, pick locks, duplicate keys, etc. Locksmiths are helpful in installing security measures correctly and helping out in emergencies like car lockouts, house lockouts, etc. Still, there are risks associated with this profession as well. For example, locksmiths lacking experience or proper certification fail to make the proper identification and thus give burglars or non-owners access to your property. 

And we are not just talking hypothetically; these scenarios occur worldwide and are a growing concern among the population. This article will discuss such locksmith incidents and also delve into who the rightful owner of a property is. Let us get started!

Not knowing who the real homeowner is

You might think that such locksmith incidents might not happen to you. Still, we recommend always being on the lookout, even when going on a vacation, and talking to your neighbors to report unusual activity. Let us look at some real-life incidents below:

  • Burglar Enter As Homeowner

In Southern California, a 43-year-old woman pretended to be a homeowner so that the locksmith would help her make new keys for the house she was looking to rob. The burglary attempt was spoiled when the real homeowner notified the police that their neighbor had noted suspicious activity, such as lights going on and off, even though the homeowner was out of town. 

The burglar had successfully fooled the locksmith into believing she was the real homeowner because when the police arrived at the scene and tried the key the neighbor – the homeowner’s relative – had given, it didn’t fit. When the police entered the house, they saw the fireplace turned on, backdoors open, and music playing, confirming someone was inside the home.

  • Building Owner Enters Without Tenants Approval

LaToya Barnes, a tenant in an apartment in Las Vegas, returned from her California trip to find that her apartment was infested with black mold. According to Barnes, she had communicated the problem with the complex before, but the owners dismissed it as mildew. The tenant had also notified the complex about a leak in the bathroom before she left but was told other pressing concerns needed to be taken care of first.

According to a spokesperson for the apartment complex, “Locks on the apartment had been changed when they arrived to check on the leak, and they had to call a locksmith to get in.” This was a violation of her lease. The building owner entered the apartment without the owner’s consent, making the case a lot more complicated.

The building owner denied all such claims and said they offered the tenant an exact copy of her apartment within the same complex, but she rejected it.

Who/when has the right to change locks of a property

For safety reasons, it is essential to know who has the right to change the locks of a property or enter with the help of a locksmith.

Can Tenants Change Locks?

Many reasons lead tenants to change locks on their apartments. For instance, they do not want anyone else to have access to their home, even the building owner. They might also want to get spare keys or install a smart lock to let housekeepers or dog walkers enter.

But can tenants change locks? Legally, tenants cannot exclude the landlord from their own property without probable cause. Although, laws regarding this issue differ by state and rental property, it is best to talk to your landlord first or get a written agreement before changing the locks on your own.

Can New Homeowners Change Locks?

When you move into a new apartment or an existing rental space, you need to install new locks, because you do not know who might have spare keys to your apartment; the old owners, their friends, etc. If it is a rental property, you can share your concerns and request your building owner to change the locks.

Can A Spouse Change Locks After Separation?

Another growing concern for separated spouses is whether the other spouse can change the locks or have them locked out. The answer is no. Legally, if you are in a civil relationship, have a shared tenancy agreement, or the property is owned in joint names, both owners have access to it. 

If a partner chooses to change the locks to exclude the other person from the property, the person has the right to call a locksmith and get the locks changed to help them get back into their home. Now that you know who can enter the property or change locks with the help of a locksmith, we recommend you always look up the locksmith reviews and only call reputable and well-known local locksmiths. Take no chances where your safety and security are concerned.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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