Does a property need to be rekeyed if the owner was the previous occupant?

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A man holds a set of silver keys in one hand and a small model house in the other.

09/23/2016 | Author: TAR Legal Staff

I listed a house for lease where the owner just vacated that house and moved to a new home. The owner thinks he doesn't have to rekey the locks because he's been the only occupant of that house since it was built. Is the landlord required to rekey the locks when he leases the property?

Yes. The Texas Property Code § 92.156 requires that a landlord rekey the locks no later than the seventh day after each tenant turnover date. “Tenant turnover date" is defined as the date a tenant moves into a dwelling under a lease after all previous occupants have moved out. The definition applies even if the previous occupants were the original owners of the dwelling. This means that your client, as the last occupant of the property, would have to rekey the locks no later than the seventh day after a new tenant moves into the home.

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Categories: Legal
Tags: legal, legal faq, rekey locks, landlord, property management, leasing


Martha Gomez on 10/24/2016

How about if the house has been rekey after tenant moved out but before new tenant has moved in,  before it has been listed it?

Bridget Hattaway on 10/24/2016

Jason, according to my understanding, yes, the door leading from the house to the garage is considered an exit door (when the garage door is up) so it must be in accordance with dead bolt key requirements.

Pat Manicom on 10/24/2016

I was told recently by a locksmith that dead bolts are requred now so tenant has privacy in case landlord comes in unannounced.  The charge was a lot more than anticipated.

Jamie Hoffman on 10/01/2016

Jason Matthews…. Yes, that door as well.
Any door that leads to an exterior must be changed.

Jamie Hoffman on 10/01/2016

John Caulkins - No, no rekey required if Tenant A moves out and Tenant B, who was later added to the lease stays. Only if that entire lease ends and a completely new one is starting with no occupants that were previously in the home.

Jason Matthews on 09/29/2016

Riddle me this. Does that also include the door from the garage to the house? I assume so.

John Caulkins on 09/29/2016

If the turnover happens simply by means of tenant change forms over a extended period of time to where all tenants previously listed on the original lease are no longer living in the home do we need to rekey the property?

Say Tenant A leased home, got approval and had Tenant B move in.  Tenant A moves out, all proper forms are completed and now just Tenant B is in the home.  Does it need rekeyed?

Irene Pence on 09/23/2016

Don’t miss the point of this requirement under the TPC.  The Owner or other previous occupant could have, and probably did at some time, provide a key to their property to another family member, maid, contractor, etc.  during their occupancy.  Rekeying protects the new tenant as well as the Owner, insuring that only the tenant and the Owner/Property Manager currently have a key to the property.  By the same measure of security, anyone purchasing a home should have the property rekeyed to insure they control who has access.

PAUL FRENCH on 09/23/2016

Yes if it is a new tenant. But the owner is allowed to have a key to his or her own property even if we are the property managers. So to me it is redundant to re-key if the owner is able to have a key to his own property. I suppose we could inform all owners that they can never have key to their own properties, although that would be silly. ALL owners can have keys to their properties.  They after all are entitled to have a key.

Carole Minton on 09/23/2016

We need more of this type of post.  It was brief, concise and very helpful.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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