Landlord Question and Answer Forum

Forum / Move-Out & Eviction / Rekeying Due to Refusal to Return Keys
My Idaho tenant is refusing to return the keys and garage door opener. My lease states a $25 fee will be charged for each key that is not returned and the garage door is listed under the keys identified on the "Tenants Receipt of Keys" addendum. Can I only charge the $25 for the keys not returned, or can I charge his deposit for the cost of rekeying and reprogramming the garage door and opener? Seems to me, if he refuses to give the keys back, it should be his responsibility. However, he is claiming that not giving back the keys is normal wear and tear.
Jason W, ID on Sunday, May 26, 2019
RE: Rekeying Due to Refusal to Return Keys
If it's in the lease regarding lost keys, then you can only charge the $25 whether you re-key or not. As it's listed in the lease, his claim of "normal wear and tear" does not apply. What I do (22 years as a landlord and 18 units), in the lease I state "$50 lock replacement fee upon vacating). That gives me two benefits. 1. Gets me out of the "return key" game. 2. Just because the vacating tenant returns the original sets doesn't mean they didn't have additional copies cut. Last thing I want is a new tenant family sitting down for dinner when the last tenants drunk ex-(girl/boy)friend comes walking through the door.
Posted by Matthew M, IL on Thursday, May 30, 2019
RE: Rekeying Due to Refusal to Return Keys
Replace all the locks with the qwikset smart key locks. They cost about $50 for a knob and dead bolt set. Then you just change the key each time and just get rid of the rekeying problem now and in the future. To reprogram the opener is just pushing the program button on the remote and then remote button.
Posted by Scott H, VA on Sunday, June 2, 2019
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