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Locks: The straight facts

Posted by Ken on October 30, 2000 at 22:22:15:

In Reply to: Changing Locks posted by Pattynn on October 30, 2000 at 14:45:05:

The subject of replacing an apartment's locks has been the source of much confusion on Tenant Net, and has led to some factually incorrect advice, including a post below this one.

There are two possible actions involving locks. One is perfectly legal, the other, illegal. REPLACING the lock the landlord has provided on an apartment door is illegal, absent permission from the landlord. Tenants have been evicted for replacing the landlord's lock without permission. Please see Ritz v. Gagnum: L&T Index No. 91879/97 (11/24/1997). Landlords are legally responsible for providing locks that meet the requirements of the city's Administrative Code, and therefore are wary of allowing a tenant to install a potentially inferior lock. It is the landlord who will get hit with a violation.

That said, do not confuse REPLACING a lock with a tenant adding an ADDITIONAL lock. Section 51-c of the state's Multiple Dwelling Law gives the tenant the right to install an additional lock, up to 3 inches in diameter. The tenant must provide a copy of the key to the landlord if he so requests. This could be provided in a sealed envelope.

I hope this post serves to clear up confusion about adding and replacing apartment locks. If anyone has further commentary, please refer first to the laws I have cited.

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