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Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practice??

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cyberceline
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Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practice??

Postby cyberceline » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:20 am

Dear all,

I just moved last week in one of the CBD condos into a 1 bedroom place and was very surprised when the agent only handed over 2 access cards to the unit. I asked him if there is not a 3rd card. He agreed and said that the landlord keeps the 3rd card for "emergency cases" and he mentiond this is common practice in Singapore.

I just wanted to ask all of you, is this really true ? I am hearing this the first time... I know that I am "only" the tenant, but I am tenanting the place for the next 24 months, shouldnt I be the one who is having ALL access cards to the unit during this period of time as long as I am paying rent ?

I checked my TA and there is nothing written i.e. that the LL will keep one access card.

What is your oppinion? Can I insist in getting the card as there is nothing stated in the TA of keeping one by the LL?

Many thanks, All the best, cyberceline

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Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:25 am

Probably the individual landlords preference?

I rent an HDB place and the landlord does not have a set of keys.

I would not feel comfortable with your situation and would insist on having exclusive access.

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Re: Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practic

Postby PNGMK » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:45 am

cyberceline wrote:Dear all,

I just moved last week in one of the CBD condos into a 1 bedroom place and was very surprised when the agent only handed over 2 access cards to the unit. I asked him if there is not a 3rd card. He agreed and said that the landlord keeps the 3rd card for "emergency cases" and he mentiond this is common practice in Singapore.

I just wanted to ask all of you, is this really true ? I am hearing this the first time... I know that I am "only" the tenant, but I am tenanting the place for the next 24 months, shouldnt I be the one who is having ALL access cards to the unit during this period of time as long as I am paying rent ?

I checked my TA and there is nothing written i.e. that the LL will keep one access card.

What is your oppinion? Can I insist in getting the card as there is nothing stated in the TA of keeping one by the LL?

Many thanks, All the best, cyberceline


1. 2 access cards is enough for one tenant.
2. Entering a property without your permission is a crime and shouldn't happen - check your TA for what advance notice is required. Inform the LL via the agent (if not indicated in TA) that there is to be no entry without written advance notice.

This is a little tricky though - balancing your needs vs the landlords concerns - as a landlord - like JR8 - I keep copies of keys for my houses. With access cards it's even more important as they can be difficult to replace. I assume these are access cards to the actual unit and not the estate?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:09 pm

Buy an inexpensive IP security cam like I just did last week (x9200, it's working a treat. Thanks) and notify the LL that you have installed one inside your premises to secure the premises against unauthorized entrance. Should take care of the problem.

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Postby abbym » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:10 pm

This is standard in the UK, and our agent in Singapore also has access to the property here. The rule in the UK is that the agent/landlord must give 24 hours notice if they are going to enter the property (though in practice often they give less if the tenant agrees they can enter for things like viewings, inspections, maid service etc). It may be something similar here.

I wouldn't be surprised by the owner of a property not wanting to give up all their access to it. I certainly would not give away all the keys to the property I own. I wouldn't expect it to mean they will be barging in every five minutes.

Maybe just ask the landlord about it to see what they say if you are concerned - which is completely valid to be if you are staying alone. We have a back-lock on our door that I always put on when I am home. Even if the cleaner tries to get in they can't, while I am here, without me letting them in.

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Re: Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practic

Postby cyberceline » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:11 pm

PNGMK wrote:
cyberceline wrote:Dear all,

I just moved last week in one of the CBD condos into a 1 bedroom place and was very surprised when the agent only handed over 2 access cards to the unit. I asked him if there is not a 3rd card. He agreed and said that the landlord keeps the 3rd card for "emergency cases" and he mentiond this is common practice in Singapore.

I just wanted to ask all of you, is this really true ? I am hearing this the first time... I know that I am "only" the tenant, but I am tenanting the place for the next 24 months, shouldnt I be the one who is having ALL access cards to the unit during this period of time as long as I am paying rent ?

I checked my TA and there is nothing written i.e. that the LL will keep one access card.

What is your oppinion? Can I insist in getting the card as there is nothing stated in the TA of keeping one by the LL?

Many thanks, All the best, cyberceline


1. 2 access cards is enough for one tenant.
2. Entering a property without your permission is a crime and shouldn't happen - check your TA for what advance notice is required. Inform the LL via the agent (if not indicated in TA) that there is to be no entry without written advance notice.

This is a little tricky though - balancing your needs vs the landlords concerns - as a landlord - like JR8 - I keep copies of keys for my houses. With access cards it's even more important as they can be difficult to replace. I assume these are access cards to the actual unit and not the estate?


exactly, we are talking about actual access cards to the unit itself. I feel unfomfortable that someone else is having a key to my privacy during the period am the tenant. That is my concern... :-/ anyone else having the same issue ? Or anyone who is a landlord and keeping access cards / keys to the units?

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Re: Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practic

Postby x9200 » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:40 pm

cyberceline wrote:exactly, we are talking about actual access cards to the unit itself. I feel unfomfortable that someone else is having a key to my privacy during the period am the tenant. That is my concern... :-/ anyone else having the same issue ? Or anyone who is a landlord and keeping access cards / keys to the units?

I would say it appears a pretty common practice so I always change the locks. Unfortunately with the access card it is a bit more expensive thing to do.

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Re: Landlord keeps 1 access card to the unit. Common practic

Postby abbym » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:51 pm

x9200 wrote:
cyberceline wrote:exactly, we are talking about actual access cards to the unit itself. I feel unfomfortable that someone else is having a key to my privacy during the period am the tenant. That is my concern... :-/ anyone else having the same issue ? Or anyone who is a landlord and keeping access cards / keys to the units?

I would say it appears a pretty common practice so I always change the locks. Unfortunately with the access card it is a bit more expensive thing to do.


Are you allowed to change the locks on a property that isn't yours?

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 1:06 pm

Why not? It is not more invasive/extensive change than replacing a shower head or fixing the toilet flush. The only thing it affects is the potential access of the owner to the premises but then such access should be only in the emergency situations or I should be informed about this (as defined in TA). If it happens I have no problem with taking responsibility to cover the costs of "breaking in".

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Postby abbym » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 1:36 pm

No, I was just curious as I don't think this would be legal in the UK. Or at least it would be stated in a standard tenancy agreement that the locks mustn't be changed. It's still the owner's property so they are entitled to access the property - just under the guidelines of the agreement (usually giving notice that they are entering, and the reason). They need access in the event that the tenant does a runner and they would be left having to break into their own house.

But in this particular scenario I really think it is best to discuss with the agent because most issues are contract specific. You don't want to live somewhere you don't feel safe, so it's in their interest to put your mind at ease either way.

edit: found this also: http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/in ... 827AA9dWDu
Someone suggests that you can change locks but must give the tenant a key. So maybe not unlawful, but certainly the contract should specify the rules. But then again - this could also vary from country to country!

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 2:07 pm

There was a regular here some time ago who seemed to be a lawyer of some sort. He also said a few times not to change the locks but when I asked what was the legal base that would prevent me from doing so, he said he was not aware of any but it would be just some act to avoid as unfriendly to the landlord.
I have not seen so far any TA that would explicitly state no change of the locks. The standard clauses are to permit the LL to enter upon earlier request, or with no request if the rent is not paid for some time or in case of emergency.

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Postby Steve1960 » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 2:13 pm

This is really odd as I had exactly the opposite experience when we came here last year. The Landlord asked us to change the locks as she had no guarantee the previous tenants had not kept a set of keys and she has never asked for a duplicate set of the new keys for herself.

Guess this is just an exception, not knowing any better I thought it was the norm :???:

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Postby PNGMK » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 2:24 pm

Steve1960 wrote:This is really odd as I had exactly the opposite experience when we came here last year. The Landlord asked us to change the locks as she had no guarantee the previous tenants had not kept a set of keys and she has never asked for a duplicate set of the new keys for herself.

Guess this is just an exception, not knowing any better I thought it was the norm :???:


There's a lot of variance here but one thing explains it - the cost of a cheap lock ($7 for some) vs a replacement access card (can be $100) or access card lock ($300).

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 2:27 pm

Probably the exception, but it's an interesting thought and something to put on a checklist when looking to rent a place. e.g., did the LL change the tumblers/locksets after the last tenant left? If not, there is the possibility of spare unaccounted for keys that could be used by someone in the future. If not done, get permission from the LL to change the locks or inform them you will do so and give them a key. Makes good sense to me.

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Postby Hannieroo » Wed, 21 Aug 2013 3:39 pm

It's not illegal in the UK. I've done it. In Texas it's mandatory for the LL to change the locks and only the tenants have the keys.


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