“My vacating tenant has told me he’s lost the keys to the property. I’m not convinced, but what are my rights here? Can I ask the tenant to pay for new keys?” – Owner, NSW

We asked Senior Property Manager at Mint360property, Nancy Vieria, for her advice.

“At the commencement of a tenancy agreement, a photo showing all keys to the property should be taken, copied and signed by the tenant,” Nancy said.

“A copy of this image is kept in the office, and the agent should give another copy to the tenant with the tenancy agreement.”

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“Upon vacating the property, the agent should email the tenant a copy of the key photo given to them at the start of the tenancy agreement.”

If the tenant has lost the keys, they are held responsible for their replacement. Lost keys mean the security of your investment property has been compromised; therefore, you may require them to handle the costs incurred in changing the locks as well.

Locks and keys are important considerations for both the landlord and the tenant in any rental agreement, so both parties must be aware of their responsibilities as stated in the lease agreement to prevent any disputes.

In the future, you could consider adding a clause into your lease about losing keys, stamping your keys with ‘Do not Duplicate’ (i.e. you keep the master, unstamped version), or adding a fixed fee in the lease for not returning the same number of keys as were issued.

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Nancy Vieria
Nancy Vieria
Senior Property Manager at Mint360property

Nancy Vieria is the Senior Property Manager at Mint360property in Randwick, New South Wales. Mint360property's expert real estate team has a combined 150 years of industry experience. The company provide expertise and services across sales, property management, project marketing, commercial/retail sales and management. The office was founded in 2010 and is privately held.