The door refused to open. It said, “Five cents, please.”
He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. “What I pay you,” he informed it, “is in the nature of a gratuity; I don’t have to pay you.”
“I think otherwise,” the door said. “Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.”
In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.
“You discover I’m right,” the door said. It sounded smug.
From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.
“I’ll sue you,” the door said as the first screw fell out.
Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.”
Autonomous corporations indeed.
The smart lock requires you to have a charged, working smartphone that you can use in order to get into your own apartment. One of the claimants is 93 and lacks the manual dexterity to do that.
On top of that, smart locks can report when you enter and exit your home to the landlord; and, if under the landlord control, can provide other people with a pseudo-legitimate access to it. I don't know what the tenancy law is in NY, but in the UK this is supposed to require the permission of the tenant except in an emergency.
(Does anyone have the search expertise to find the actual case from NY public records?)
Not just that, you also have to install a proprietary piece of software onto the phone from a third party and accept their TOS.
> can provide other people with a pseudo-legitimate access to it
I think in the news story the smart locks were only installed on the front door not on the doors to the homes. If the landlord installed them on the doors for the homes as well, that would be very troubling indeed.
People aren't thinking ahead here about what this opens you up to with respect to privacy loss. Think about the permissions on your phone such an app could ask for in the future. Now consider that if you don't grant them, you could potentially not get into your apartment.
Smart locks are a cancer. We should cut them out early.
Forget the future: the TOS currently permit the collection of personal information for marketing, to which the company blandly responded, "we don't do that".
Baby with bathwater. Smart locks are useful. Bad implementations are bad. You can have one with both a normal key lock and a card which uses a standard RFID tag rather than a specific app. They're both convenient and failsafe.
> Not just that, you also have to install a proprietary piece of software onto the phone from a third party and accept their TOS.
Also, the lock has to be charged at all times... is that the landlord's responsibility?
A burglar's dream.
Fail open and get your stuff jacked? Or fail closed and have to ingress/egress via the window (or worse)?
I can imagine smart locks with no secondary opening mechanism being installed in my old dormitories at school. People already locked each other in with the penny jamming trick. Imagine if you could do that either by disrupting the power supply or setting up a cell/wifi jammer?
When you say “The smart lock,” are you referring to the one in this story? The article mentions that this smart lock, which led to a common area, had a keypad:
“Lisa Gallaudet, the landlords' attorney, said the smart lock was on a single door and that tenants were able to enter a numeric code to get in and didn't need an app. They'd also been offered codes they could enter without a phone.”
So a few things here.
(1) This system did not provide access to a tenant’s apartment directly, only a common area, probably a hallway or entry to the apartment area (article mentions tenant was trapped without it)
(2) The claim that a 93 year old lacked the dexterity to operate the smart lock is spurious. A physical key requires more dexterity than pushing numbers on a keypad.
Overall, this does not seem like a resounding victory for tenants everywhere. More like, a technical win that would support future action by tenants if they find themselves faced with a mandatory-smart-lock-on-their-actual-door situation, which this is not.
In this case absolutely not. I've used the lock in question. It does not have physical keys, and the keypad is non-responsive, and round in shape (think rotary phone). Every person I know who has used the keypad has had trouble both on their first and succeeding attempts. I am pretty good with it, but it requires typing very slowly and using my thumb in order to ensure the key press is accepted.
I used to live in a place with a main door that was a smart lock and I loved it, now I have to carry keys again which is super annoying.
But one time the battery died while the landlord was out of town, which meant I couldn’t get in my building for hours until his friend was able to find and bring over the physical key backup.
Why not get your phone charged somewhere?
Neighbors, a shop, ... surely someone could lend you an outlet + charger for 30 mins?
Anyway the unit in question took 4 AA batteries which needed to be replaced every 6 months or so. The batteries of the lock itself died earlier than expected. Apparently the wifi connection to the front building door was bad and that caused the battery life to drain significantly faster than advertised.
You might want to account for the lifestyle impact of switching from physical keys to stuff you have to memorize.
I suspect there is a certain amount of muscle memory involved in using keys. I don't even think "which key do I need" when locking/unlocking my doors, my hands automatically select the correct key.
There are adapters and grips designed for people with arthritis.
A hidden camera watching someone entering a code is not as secure as placing a key in a hole.
This does not look like a privacy win to me. It looks like a good precedent that will aid in a privacy court battle in the future.
"It's not clear to me that this is true" is different from "this is false".
(Also note that the only evidence in the article even for the existence of the code, let alone the question of whether or not it identifies the tenant, is an attorney's claim; in the article, it is not denied, but nor does anyone else confirm it. For example, the attorney's claim is perfectly consistent with the possibility that there is a code, but that the landlord did not inform tenants of it, or would not provide it to them.)
> This does not look like a privacy win to me. It looks like a good precedent that will aid in a privacy court battle in the future.
But the article says:
> It won't set a legal precedent because it's a settlement, but it represents a win for tenants who had issues with smart locks and landlords installing them against their will.
I have a dumb phone and mainly leave that at home. Anybody who wants me can leave a message and wait for a callback. Seems to work well for past 20 years.
I don't have a fancy one for the very reasons of tracking, loss of privacy/data collection and above all for this type of use, and what the parent didn't mention, I do not trust tech even slightly, being a tech guy myself.
If you rely on power and intelligence, other than manpower and brainpower, to unlock a door, then you're a bloody fool.
(NB cost of a spare key ~£5).
(NB cost of a spare key ~£5).
With most keys you can't waltz into Mister Minit and have them pull a copy.
How are they going to even know?
> ...you can't waltz into...
I've never come across a key that couldn't be duplicated with a quick £5 waltz. IME only I suppose.
Only the entity ordring the locks is authorized to have additional keys made. And it's pretty heavily enforced by the manufacturers and distibuters.
Copies are also more than 5 quid.
Edited to add : While the web pages talk pretty much about smart locks, both manufacturers offer purely mechanical locks (or hybrids), which cannot be copied easily.
as long as you give back two copies of the key by the end of the lease, landlords usually don't care.
Because it's a non-standard key with print on it: "Property of X, not to be copied without permission" and because it's a non-standard key, to even get the blanks requires knowing whom to ask for permission to make copies.
Think something like US Post Office box keys, or bank safe deposit keys.
Not even that. The keys I was referring to have serial numbers and the blanks are strictly controlled.
Only the owner of said serial numbers (usually represented by a card) can order copies directly from the manufacturer or their designated agents.
Normal key copy shops wouldn't even have the blanks to furnish copies.
I don't think that it's totally impossible to copy such keys and it will be probably even be harder to prevent copys in the future (think 3d printing). But you can't have them copied by any old shoe maker with a key copy side business.
I just found "normal" blanks with the same cross section, whipped up the tooth profile and a holding fixture in some pirated CAD program and took a thumb drive and the blanks down to the machine shop during lab hours.
Also some "secure" keys don't have any blanks. Most shops don't have the ability to duplicate them. You can still get them copied, but you need a skilled machinist at considerably more cost.
I remember a story recently about a secure luggage key. And every luggage lock was supposed to use it, but you weren't supposed to be able to get copies. But then a newspaper article printed a full-page image of the key, so... yeah, it got duplicated on a 3D printer that day: https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2015/09/11/tsa-master-lugga...
This is not widely known, and virtually every rental contract says otherwise. But those terms are unenforceable.
For the record, I learned this from a lawyer living in New York as an example of why many landlords choose not to rent to lawyers.
It turns out that while discriminating on the basis of race and religion is illegal, it is perfectly legal to discriminate on the basis of profession. As a result it can be challenging for lawyers to find a place to live.
I see no contradiction between your logic and "it's hard for a lawyer to rent in NYC" :)
I can't speak for America or NY, but Switzerland has exactly the same tenancy law.
The landlord must announce a visit to the appartment like 48 hours in advance an he cannot abuse the privilege. Essentially you "own" the rented appartment during your tennancy.
Emergencies (i.e. a burts pipe) is different, of course.
Even in NY though, landlords are allowed to request a key to enter the apartment non-destructively for emergencies or legally notified work. Its common practice here to add an additional interior deadbolt to your apartment front door, so the landlord (or building supervisor) will have one copy of the key for the main lock which any prior tenant could have also had, and you'll provide them a spare key for the interior addon deadbolt you added yourself. The standard lease also explicitly allows using a door chain/slider to prevent even keyed entry wile you are present in the home.
Many other states have no such requirement at all, or allow landlords to place much more limiting language they want into lease riders.
Read up after having a pretty scarring experience about two years ago. I like to take long showers to relax. One day I took a longer than usual shower and just so happened to be rubbing one out. Landlord busted into the bathroom mid rub out saying the water was running too long. I flipped a shit, read up on the laws afterward (previously skimmed them over and had a sense it was/is illegal), wrote a long letter hinting at taking legal action/very real what if scenarios (gf showering,etc). Rent hasn't increased since, beyond nice whenever we see each other, has even invited me to watch the soccer game with him a couple times after dropping off rent...
Regardless, what he did was fucked/illegal, and I was beyond embarrassed, though now I laugh about it when thinking back or a buddy brings it up
Possession vs Ownership. In some countries, there law makes a difference and in some like Switzerland and Germany, for example, the possession of an object (or apartment) gives you a number of rights that the landlord can't annihilate by adding more words to a contract.
While in germany the landlord is the owner of the appartment, they have no right to enter it as they want, use it as they want or do anything but emergency work without the permission of whoever pays rent.
On the other hand, since the renter is not in ownership but mere possession of the apartment, they can´t do as they want either; they can't take down a wall even if it's cleared by an engineer to be safe, the landlord has to approve any permanent changes to their ownership unless the contract gives the renter some free reign.
Structural changes either need the landlord's approval or have to be reverted to how it was before you moved in.
This can obviously be rather expensive if you tore down a wall.
If there's an emergency, the fire services will kick the door.
Deposit? Haven't heard that name before.
So could be that parent is French.
The landlord claimed (about half way down the article) that there was some sort of code that could be entered to open the door with no phone. Is that not the case?
> Lisa Gallaudet, the landlords' attorney, said the smart lock was on a single door and that tenants were able to enter a numeric code to get in and didn't need an app. They'd also been offered codes they could enter without a phone.
Whether that's an alternative depends on the implementation.
If it's a code unique to the tenant that goes through the same backend, then the same privacy argument applies. If it's a static code for any tenant, their whole argument falls apart. Either way, if true, bringing up the whole part about the elderly tenant not being able to operate a smartphone is just dishonest.
To clarify my position, I am not in favor of the app for privacy reasons, and prefer the physical lock and key. But it isn't clear to me how far the dexterity argument goes.
That doesn't seem too implausible to me. If you thrust your key at the lock but miss... you scratch the lock maybe. Not a big deal, you can retry. But if you thrust your finger at the keypad, you might miss and hit the wrong key. Okay, so try again right? Just the same as the physical lock.
Except the key only requires you to successfully align the key and the lock once. The keypad requires you to successfully align your finger and the correct key numerous times in a row. If you mess up the second or third key press, you have to start over from the beginning.
So yes, depending on the nature of the impairment, a physical key might very well be easier to use than a keypad.
Even then, it's not equivalent: a hidden wireless camera installed by a thief can easily see the code on the paper or key thing, or even typed into the pad.
And a key generally requires more dexterity to operate than a keypad. I think vision issues might be a valid complaint, since you can usually operate a key by feel; harder to do that with a keypad, especially in the dark.
Individual apartments still required a physical key to access.
This is not much different than my old apartment building that required a keyfob to enter the front door, but individual keys for the units.
Lisa Gallaudet, the landlords' attorney, said the smart lock was on a single door and that tenants were able to enter a numeric code to get in and didn't need an app. They'd also been offered codes they could enter without a phone
Forget manual dexterity, I'm 42 and I can't reliably assume my cellphone is charged, PARTICULARLY if I'm just getting home (the time it is most likely to be dead.
Comments below point out there is a bypass code, so my comment isn't so much about the in/justice as it is my inability to keep a charge.
I agree with the rest of your points, but I'm not sure that this is meaningfully different than them loaning out a copy of your key.
I thought it was pretty good practice not to have a door with an unknown number of previous tennants, cleaners, letting agents, landlords etc with access.
It's their property, not yours, and depending on state/lease they have the right to have the locks drilled/replaced at YOUR expense because you are not allowed to lock an owner out of their property.
There are only a few US states which have laws permitting tenants from changing locks and not notifying the owner or giving them a copy (CA, NJ are two). Other states permit tenant to change locks (or don't have explicit rules) but require the tenant to give a copy to the owner (like say NY).
The reason why this is tricky is because in the case of an emergency if the owner of the property needs to make emergency repairs, but cannot because you have locked them out, depending on the law and the lease in question, you could be liable for all of the damage to the property since you barred the owner from making repairs. That could be a 5 or 6 digit lawsuit pretty quickly depending on the property, the emergency and if it's multi or single family. (Think burst pipe in a multi-family flooding other tenants.... very expensive very fast)
A lease prohibiting changing the locks would give the landlords insurance agent palpitations.
Recent Federal pushes into authoritarian areas, while an indicator that things are moving in that direction, do not make the country as a whole "Authoritarian", let alone VERY authoritarian.
We do tend to lean towards protection for owners of property, rather than renters of property (citation needed? In many states there are STRONG protections for non-owners even those squatting on land that is not theirs) That also severely limits the rights of the government to access the property without cause. That seems... decidedly _not_ authoritarian? But certainly skewed towards ownership.
The idea that the owner of a building couldn't perform maintenance as necessary is shocking!
A few hours ago I was summarizing this article to someone in person and concluded with "but this country is very authoritarian", the implication being that the letter and spirit of tennant laws are not widely known, and the more authoritarian cultural norms, biased towards landlords, end up as the de facto rules.
The landlord IS the owner.
They are inseparable. You cannot be pro-landlord and anti-owner, or pro-owner and anti-landlord.
"I'm pro-developers but against programmers!"
"I'm anti-programming, but pro-coding!"
Come on now.
It is in the interests of landlords that as few people owned property as possible. This being pro-landlord is being anti-ownership, numbers-wise.
I'm pro-owernship of property, I'm anti-getting-rich-off-mere-ownership (that is, quite literally, rent seeking).
Someone who only wants the police to have easy access to guns is anti-gun ownership.
Someone who only wants landlords to own property is anti-property-ownership.
And being pro-landlord is exactly that.
TL;DR: all landlords are owners, most owners aren't landlords. And the rent is too damn high.
>differing interpretations of property rights
The American interpretation is authoritarian. Just because it has a negative connotation doesn't make it untrue. The landlords are renting out a dwelling for someone, and because they are the authority of that land they get to enforce rules on who has access to it. That is authoritarian
That has nothing to do with the property owner but "America" based on my read, but I do appreciate this interpretation of the OP. If that's their meaning, I could see why the word comes up.
Do they just wait around until you show up with the key? Smash some windows or kick down the door?
A tenant illegally locking their landlord out and causing delay of several hours for a time-sensitive emergency would almost assuredly get a lot more % liability blame than a tenant who properly gave their landlord a copy of the key and who was able to give access to the plumber immediately.
Hopefully they have enough renters insurance to cover the claim and their insurance company will handle the court side of things when other tenants sue!
That's not the question at hand at all though. The question is what kind of liability you incur by legally locking your landlord out.
IANAL, but I'd guess that if you change the locks in a state where it's not legal to do so you're totally hosed in terms of liability. I have no idea how liable and to what degree renter's insurance would cover you if you change the locks in a state that guarantees your right to do so.
I've rented an over-the-garage studio in the past, and the landlord came in one time without notice when I was away because the supply line to the toilet burst and there was water dripping from the garage ceiling. That's the sort of emergency we're talking about here, where a landlord needs immediate access, and any delay will cause additional structural damage.
This is one of those cases where owners have rights too, and renters who want more rights should consider owning.
(Paraphrased from CA Civ Code 1954)
A landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
- In case of emergency.
- To make necessary or agreed repairs, exhibit the property, or perform move in/out inspections.
- When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
- Pursuant to court order.
It is what it is.
Also it's empowering. One rental I had, prior to the tenancy deposit protection scheme I had a serial con artist landlord. At the end of the tenancy, he billed my entire £600 deposit return to three companies he owned. One for gardening, one for cleaning and one for maintenance. This made it difficult for a claim to be placed upon him. This was without entering the property, because I had changed the locks. The property was left immaculate. I took photos to cover my arse. Edit: to note I completely ripped out the overgrown garden in that time and cleaned it up to the point it was workable and decorated half the place so I added value to his property. He evicted us because he could rent it out for more money.
Retribution was simple. He didn't have a valid address on the tenancy contract. When he asked where to return the keys to, he sent me an SMS to just put them through the letter box. So I did. I put the keys inside a zip lock bag and used an 8 foot bamboo stick to poke them through the letterbox half way down the hall, double locked the security door from the outside and chucked the keys for the actual barrels down the drain in the street. My wife decided to add insult to this injury by spreading marmite all around the inside of the letter box.
The next morning I woke up to about 20 missed calls and 3 voice mails calling me all sorts of names and threatening to kill me and was going to sue me for new locks and a new shirt.
I went and bought another pay as you go SIM and never heard a thing.
Edit: just looked the guy up. He's still going. If you rent in Nottingham, keep an eye out for a cunt who turns up on a motorbike. Ask for a passport or driving license for ID from direct rent landlords, not just business correspondence.
This was the part where you lost my support. That's a bit too petty.
The marmite was deserved. If you’re going to make someone’s life miserable and insecure for six months then we’re going to roll out the red carpet on pettiness.
The best move is to avoid playing the game.
I think the person in question would be in vastly larger amounts of trouble for even raising his head above the cesspool he floated in for a moment. It would be like a chase from the Benny Hill show with local housing enforcement, HMRC, the police and a trail of angry and abused tenants.
The best move is making the game worthless so there are no winners. Shit on the board. It's a stalemate then.
The put the keys through the letterbox thing was actually a masterpiece of idiocy on his part which I refrained from mentioning to him.
Isn't every long-term benefit long-term only in hindsight?
But again, that's probably (very most likely) just the result of me existing in a hyper-litigious culture where In pari delicto is very much a thing.
So in the end we’re not giving any ideas to other people that their actions will have no repercussions.
It's honestly best to cut your losses and walk away.
That may be a criminal act in your jurisdiction. My local laws allow the landlord access, but the landlord needs to provide 48h notice of the inspection (with a list of specific exceptions for emergency work, mostly around plumbing and electrical work) and cannot bar the tenant from being present during the inspection.
Edit: I almost attacked one landlord when I found someone rummaging in a cupboard at night! Landlord was quite indignant when we pointed out he couldn't come and go as he pleased.
He was actually in my 2 year old daughter's bedroom when I opened the door. I heard him leave it and come down the stairs.
Small argument ensued and he sent me an SMS right there on his phone saying that he was coming to do an inspection on date X which was that day. Then said "oh sorry must have been delayed" with a smirk on his face, got back on his motorbike and rode off.
I think I would have phoned the police at that point!
Something about your comment makes me think there's more to this story.
The guy ran umbrella companies to hide his assets and address and to rip people off, got caught going through our stuff.
He’s still a landlord and has been the director of about 12 companies now in the last 20 years all dissolved.
Who’s the bad one? Hmm
Edit: also the place we had after that I rented for 11 years with no problems direct from landlord and they were excellent and we were excellent back.
And you basically did a disservice to all his future tenants by not reporting him to the police after being caught by you illegally accessing your home and destroying your property? By not reacting you basically silently allowed him to keep doing this. I would understand that he had some kind of power over you and you were afraid to react and report him, but you choose to confront him by being asshole to him, without doing the right thing and reporting him to whatever authority in UK is responsible for this.
Because of that, both of you are bad, though he is a bit worse.
Firstly, I spoke to the police and they said they couldn't do anything because I likely couldn't prove he was snooping and couldn't prove that it wasn't against the terms and it wouldn't be worthy of their time investigating it and it was probably a civil or contractual issue. "go see a solicitor". Which I couldn't afford.
Secondly, local housing officer was contacted and I was asked to attend the local council about it and I sat there for 4 hours and was told to go home because they had run out of time. I got a letter apologising and attempts to get a second appointment were fruitless.
This was option three.
This was one of the points in my life I realised there is no magical state run safety blanket who will protect you from dickheads.
35. Landlord's Covenant for Quiet Enjoyment
The Landlord covenants with the Tenant, that, so long as the Tenant pays the rents reserved by and complies with the obligations of this lease, the Tenant shall have quiet enjoyment of the Property without any interruption by the Landlord or any person claiming under the Landlord except as otherwise permitted by this lease.
There are clauses covering emergency entry for repairs (e.g. burst water pipes, leaking gas) in short-term rental agreements but - as others have said - they require "reasonable" notice in almost all cases aside from dire emergency, and the tenant can still refuse entry.
It could still have been illegal, but it was definitely in the lease.
If they turn up unannounced this is actually harassment under UK law.
We had some rather unpleasant slum landlords between the 1950s and 1970s which caused a few laws to be introduced. Unfortunately the nature of being a landlord seems to attract certain people who find new and creative ways to be dicks. Not the majority of landlords I will say who are mostly pretty good, but enough to cause problems.
They probably have to do this repeatedly to meet the threshold for harassment.
For example, $75k in fines:
Now we have a deposit scheme in the UK which stops landlords doing this because the deposit is held in trust. The landlord has to prove it. Therefore there's escrow and a third party involved. Not being in this scheme is illegal and results in fines that go directly to the tenant as well.
This action is not necessary now, but changing the locks still is because it's your personal space and security and you genuinely don't know who has access to that unless you do it. Could even be the previous tenants with key copies.
There are strict protections around section 21 during the "fixed term" (normally 6 months to a year), but after that it's pretty easy to get tenants out even if they've done nothing wrong, and it's common to evict tenants, re-paint, then re-let the property at a big markup.
If you're a tenant in England it's probably a good idea to talk to the landlord each year about a small rent increase.
I can imagine that you can be held liable if, for example, a fire breaks out in your apartment, the apartment owner notices it, tries to enter your apartment to extinguish it, cannot enter because of changed lock, and the building burns down.
 as others have mentioned below, this does not seem to be enforceable, even if it is part of the contract, and you are free to change locks after moving in. You only have to give the landlord access to the apartment in case of emergency, and he may enter forcefully if you don't do that (or if you are not present / have changed locks).
I am not a lawyer but I know that this is a common misunderstanding in Germany. The landlord is not allowed to keep a key to the apartment he rented out, unless you're explicitly consent to it.
You have to grant him access in case of an emergency and if you don't do that, forced entry may be legal (like in the case of a pipe burst).
In most US states, landlords are required to give 24 hour notice prior to entering a unit (unless it's a maintenance emergency like a broken water pipe).
>the apartment owner notices it, tries to enter your apartment to extinguish it, cannot enter because of changed lock, and the building burns down.
The fire department/emergency services would absolutely be allowed to (force) enter...why should the landlord be the savior? Perhaps it's different in Germany.
Ah, yeah I encountered the same in Netherlands. A while back the law changed and some legal liability shifted towards landlords if their tenants were found to be growing cannabis. So my property management company decided that they would do random, unannounced inspections of all their tenants four times per year. Plainly contrary to the authorized, agreed-upon reasons for visits and counter to my right not to be bothered. Cue some unknown to me guy knocking on the door asking to look around. Nope! After I argued with the company a few times and refused them entry they finally stopped pestering me. And I'm not growing cannabis...but neither am I a freshman in a college dorm!
g) Permit the Landlord or the Landlord's agents on reasonable notice and at reasonable hours to enter the premises to view the state and condition thereof and if necessary to carry out repairs, alterations or other works.
s) Not to change or install any locks on any doors or windows of the premises or to make duplicate keys thereto and to return all such keys to the Landlord or the Landlord's agents at the end of the tenancy.
v) To permit the Landlord or the Landlord's agents during the last two months of the tenancy to enter the premises at reasonable hours during the day time together with any prospective tenants or purchasers to view the premises.
But that third term is a deal-breaker. Eight weeks of living in an unsafe, insecure home with no privacy? I'm not paying rent for that.
I'm not Australian, but my sense is that tenants are viewed by the law as something between children and moral degenerates.
EDIT: and landlords are permitted to (and do) "inspect the property for damage" on a six monthly basis. At which point they tell you the day before they'll be poking around in your home. I don't know why we stand for it, frankly.
This is completely wrong. In Germany the apartment owner is not even allowed to keep a copy of the key unless you voluntarily give them one. I live in Germany and I also changed the lock the day I moved in and the landlord is not allow to forbid me from doing that.
If it's not an emergency, then you don't need to enter the apartment without the tenant.
We do it for all properties and highly recommend it, as we’ve had an ex-contractor (had worked on renovations) walk into our rental a week after we moved in, letting himself in with his keys thinking no one had moved in yet. Wifey was on the couch and let out a hell of a yell, and we chased him out before calling the Police.
Upon viewing the place, I make explicitly clear that I expect it to be cleaned and anything that's broken shall be fixed prior to my taking possession and that I will consider the contract null and void if it's not. I ensure this is written into the contract so that if it's not taken care of, the contract is null and void the moment possession is granted.
I ensure that the landlord understands that I expect to be allowed to treat this as my home and that I will decorate to my taste for the duration of my occupation of the property.
The locks get changed the day I move in, pictures are taken to record the state of repair before furniture is moved in. I write up an inspection report with copies of the pictures attached and send it to the landlord.
I decorate as I see fit.
When I leave, I put the house back to the same state or better than it was when I arrived. If I have had to replace any appliances that didn't meet my requirements, I put the original appliances back and take mine with me. The place is left as I would expect it to be when I took possession, which is immaculate.
I take pictures as evidence of the cleanliness of the property and hand copies of these with my keys to the landlord the day I move out. This is mostly as a "You know I took pictures of everything when I moved in, and now I've taken pictures of everything as I'm moving out so don't try anything shady or you will be caught in a lie."
If the landlord wishes to complete an inspection during my stay, they can give me the legally required amount of notice so I can be home to let them in and see them out.
In the 25 years I've been renting properties, I have had only 2 landlords on short leases give me any kind of problems. I've never had a security deposit withheld. I've never been evicted and barring these 2 particular landlords, who failed to meet their obligations as landlords - i.e. fix broken water heaters and burst pipes etc. which I had to foot out of my own pocket and then go through arbitration to recover the costs, I've had nothing but cordial relationships with every landlord I've ever had.
I know there's a shit ton of bad landlords out there and that my experience has largely been one of luck given that I rented student digs too and there's plenty of landlords that prey on students who don't know any better; but it horrifies me how many people allow landlords to treat them with anything less than complete respect. It's your home, you're paying for it. They may own the deed. They may pay the mortgage company. They may be responsible for the upkeep. But it's your home. You should ensure the lease/contract allows room for you to treat it as such before you agree to sign it.
I've had applicants who insist on similar changes, and I'll decline their application every time. It sounds like you're a good guest, but without knowing anything more about someone, I take such behaviour as a big red flag.
If a landlord decided to decline me for those requests, I would equally see that as a giant red flag and would likely consider that I'd dodged a bullet.
I'm a great guest. I treat the home I live in - including the landlord and neighbours with the greatest of respect. If the landlord is unwilling to accommodate such changes to the contract, then I would assume that they're unlikely to treat me with the respect I would afford them. All business relationships are a two way street. If that affordance is not forthcoming, I wouldn't consider that any kind of arrangement I wish to pursue or maintain.
So this argument makes little sense to me.
And as another commenter notes - that's what renter's insurance is for.
Also for any Firefox Sync users, you can sync about:config preferences:
1. Open about:config
2. Right click > New (Bool)
3. Preference name = services.sync.prefs. + name of setting; true
Turns out she was right...
I can see pros and cons for both sides, is all...
I called the customer support and they told me the low battery alert message was sent after I had locked the door and left, which was about a 20 minute trip.
They ended up paying for my locksmith, but I haven't felt comfortable using the lock since so it just sits on my door.
But you can kick open the door anyways, so at least that's an alternative to being locked out.
For the fire fighters, I assume they break down the door anyways?