There are hundreds of thousands of commercial leasing agencies in the U.S. that bring in more than $216 billion every year.
Unless you have the money to buy your own office space, chances are you’re going to work with one of these agencies as you begin expanding your business.
If you’re getting ready to rent an office space, you probably have a lot of questions.
For example, you might be wondering if it’s okay for you to change the locks on the properties you’re renting. You might also be concerned about whether your landlord can go around changing locks without letting you know.
If you’re in this boat and you want to know what is and isn’t allowed with regards to the locks on your business, keep reading. Everything you need to know is explained below.
Is Changing Locks Allowed?
First, let’s address whether or not you, as a tenant, are allowed to change the locks on your business after you sign the lease and start renting it.
In most cases, landlords prohibit renters from changing locks on their properties. The purpose of this isn’t to make life difficult for you as a renter. It’s a safety matter.
Landlords need to be able to access their properties. In the event of an emergency, they need to be able to do this without waiting for you to arrive to unlock the door for them.
That being said, some landlords have a policy in place that allows you to change the locks on your property as long as you ask their permission first and give them a copy of the key.
Check your contract to see if any key provisions are listed in the contract. Then, reach out to the landlord and ask their permission. Often, if you explain your reasoning for wanting to change the locks, they’ll be willing to work with you.
Can Your Landlord Change Your Locks?
When the previous tenant moves out, it’s a good practice for landlords to change the locks on a property. This ensures that the previous tenant (or anyone who may have a copy of their key) cannot return to the property.
Outside of this, there shouldn’t be any reason for your landlord to change the lock on your business without your permission. Even if you’re behind on your rent payments, your landlord should not change the locks and deny you access to your belongings.
If your landlord changes the locks without giving you notice of an eviction, they’re not following proper protocol. This is grounds for you, the tenant, to file a lawsuit against them.
Tips for Changing Your Locks
If your landlord gives you the okay to change your locks, there are some steps you can take to ensure your business is properly secured. Keep these tips in mind when changing your locks to keep your property safe and avoid any annoying fines from your landlord:
Purchase the Right Lock
Start by purchasing a new lock for your business. When shopping for a lock, look for one that has a high effectiveness rating.
It’s also a good idea to purchase one that’s meant for commercial use. These locks are often more secure and will do a better job of keeping out intruders.
Remove the Old One
Once you have your new lock handy, it’s time to remove the old one. You ought to be able to do this yourself using a screwdriver.
Remove the Old Deadbolt
When the old lock is out, you’ll need to remove the deadbolt.
There should be two screw heads holding the deadbolt in place on the side of the door. Loosen these screws and remove the deadbolt, along with the deadbolt plate.
Insert a New Deadbolt
Now, it’s time to put the new deadbolt in place. Make sure the new deadbolt is facing up. There ought to be a label on it indicating which side is up.
Once you have the deadbolt in position, insert it into the door. Secure it in place using short woodscrews.
Install the New Lock
After you’ve installed the deadbolt, you can move on to the lock itself.
To do this, insert the bar that protrudes from the lock through the channel in the deadbolt. Then, position the lock so the keyhole is vertical.
On the other side of the door, insert the bar in the channel located at the back of the turn assembly plate. Position the plate so that the top side is at the top of the lock.
Now, twist the knob on the plate to reveal the bolt holes. Use the bolts included with the lock to secure everything in its proper place.
Test the New Lock
At this point, it’s time to test the lock. If you notice any problems with it or if it doesn’t seem to work in the correct way, you may want to read more now about hiring a locksmith to come and fix it.
Give the Landlord a Copy of the Key
Once you know the lock is working in the proper way, be sure to give a copy of the key to your landlord.
This way, you’re following the correct protocol. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that someone else has a copy of your key in the event that you get locked out of your business.
Change Your Locks Today
If you’re renting a commercial property, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into. This includes matters related to changing locks or having your locks changed without your knowledge or permission.
Hopefully, this article has given you the insight you need into the matter and has you feeling empowered about your rights as a commercial tenant.
If you need more help handling legal matters or other issues related to running a business, we’re here to help. Take a look at our startup resources today to gain access to tons of useful information.