What charges can I make if my tenant has lost or does not return the keys?

KeysIt is always annoying when a tenant reports that keys have been lost or when they are not returned at the end of the tenancy.

Can you make a charge for this?

Thankfully yes, the Tenant Fees Act does provide for landlords to be able to make a charge for lost keys or other security devices.

However, you can only recover the reasonable costs that have been incurred.  In most cases this should be the ACTUAL cost of replacement ie

  • The cost of getting the new keys cut (make sure you keep the receipt), and
  • The actual locksmiths cost if it is necessary to replace the lock.  Again, keep the receipt.

Provided you are able to produce the actual receipts (and provided the level of charges is reasonable) your tenants should not be able to challenge your charge.

For this reason, it is recommended that you use professional locksmiths to do this work and retain the invoices.

If you want to do the work youself it is permissible for you to charge for your time – so long as this is reasonable.  In our Schedule of Fees, we have provided for an hourly rate of £15.

However, it is easier for tenants to challenge your own charges, particularly if these are more expensive than a locksmith’s, which is why we recommend that you use a locksmith and keep the receipts.

Note that tenants can challenge charges through the Local Authority, Trading Standards or the First Tier Tribunal and if your fees are found to be excessive this will be a prohibited payment.

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