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Has Anyone Had Experience with Tenants Changing Locks?

We tried to enter our property recently for inspection, maintenance, pest control inspection, etc. and our keys did not work! We gave the proper prior notice according to Right of Entry stated in the Lease.  The tenant, a student at nearby university, claims we have the wrong keys. How do we prove we have correct keys to our property? The locksmith charges to get into our property were not inexpensive. (Student is on break and away from the property/out of city). Has anyone ever experienced this? The lease clearly states locks are not to be changed without written permission of Landlords.

Do you have a recordkeeping method for tracking keys?  Was the lock at the unit the same brand/type as the one you installed originally?  All of these pieces of information will  help you if this ends up in court.  It is helpful to have a statement from the locksmith if he is the one who installed your original also.  
Thank you for the help. No, I don't have a formal record-keeping method to verify specific keys for specific locks. I change the locks for each new tenant. Then, give them their keys on a nice university key chain and keep my copy on a key chain with a picture of the house. But nothing very formal - I never noted a number or marked the locks in some way with an engraver with matching engraved numbers on the keys? It's a problem. The lock unit was the same:  a top lock "Schlage" (the more expensive bolt lock) and the bottom lock "Kwick Lock" (the lesser expensive). But I think they "re-keyed" - so that just the internal locking mechanism was changed (a less expensive option).  That means the lock brands can be the same (Schlage and Kwick Lock") but the internal locking mechanism can be different. If I contact the locksmith that changed the locks when these tenants took occupancy, I don't think he would tell me different than it was a Schlage and Qwick Lock brand.  I'm beginning to think I messed up here and will be unable to prove I have correct keys to my property!   Do you or does somebody have a good record-keeping method for keys?? I spent almost $300.00 for the locksmith to come out! Again, thank you for helping me process this problem!
We keep a labeled ziplock bag in the file for each rental unit that has things like labeled spare keys.  We also use a color code ring that slips onto the key that is unique for that building.  When our tenant tried the lock change routine, we didn't get as far as court because once the tenant realizes that you have some backup for your position they usually don't want to get that far.   The re=key kits and the locks have a code number on them that indicates which pin set they are using which is good to note in the files on that tenancy.    If your locksmith noted the code numbers in his original billing/files that may help you also.   Did any of your keys fit?  In other words is it possible that keys got mixed up?  Also, if lock parts wear over time they can stop working well with the keys.  If it is worn lock mechanism parts then re-keying won't solve the problem.  With some locks if they get worn then they will get out of alignment and the key may work sometimes and not others.  It would be odd for both of your locks/keys to stop working at the same time though.  Another thing that can cause non-working keys is damage due to an attempt to break in.  Was there any scratching around the keyholes?  Was there any scuffing along the door jam that might indicate someone tried to 'slip' the lock?  If someone knew your tenant was away, they might have thought they would find an easy target.
This is really good information for us.  We didn't realize that the locks have a code number on them that indicates the pin set they used.  I will start to incorporate that method of logging.  No, none of the keys fit, the two sets I brought to enter the property did not work, those were color coded - blue and red (for Univ of Arizona) - on my set were 1 blue, 1 red and 1 green for our garage, the same with my husband's set, and the set I sent the tenant - 1 blue and 1 red.  The blue and the red (two)  keys opened each of the 3 entry doors to the home.  All matching locks.  The green key was our key to enter the garage - tenants do not have use of the garage. So the green key of the 3 key set, worked to open our garage.  Confirming we have the proper set of keys (red, blue and one green for the garage). I could check with the locksmith to see whether he noted these numbers when he put new locks in last May 2011 when I rented the home. (Fairly new locks, so they shouldn't really be having issues with being worn out I think).  It didn't appear that there was an attempt to break in, and since each of the 3 doors did not accept our keys, and there was no evidence of scratching or pounding to try to get in on any of the three doors, I think it's safe to believe that a break-in attempt did not damage locks.  We also have (and pay for) an alarm system for the house that is on (and functioning).  I'm going to try to contact the locksmith to see whether there is documentation of code number that indicates the pin set they used.  That is so helpful!  Thank you for this! By the way, I talked to an attorney with Legalzoom yesterday, as part of my benefits with them (for my rental business with this property), and she seemed to believe that I have grounds to collect the money we spent on the locksmith - I have to document everything that happened, and keep records of course, and let the parent co-signors know what has happened - and ask if they could get to the bottom of this - an act of goodwill- and in the end collect out of deposits with my record of receipts, etc.  Hopefully I will have the support of the code numbers you mentioned to look for. Thanks again.  
Whats works best for me is matching key locks where front and back door as well as deadbolts all use 1 key if any are changed its my lease its not to suppose to be changed but if so will be changed and at their exspence and I must always have a working set of keys and or security code to alarm systems.
Thank you for the tips, I feel really 'outsmarted' by my tenants right now.  I didn't think they would do something like that, but I could tell from a previous on-site property visit to meet the gardener (outside) that they didn't want me coming inside the house.  Since I didn't really plan on doing interior inspection, and gave no prior notice, I didn't say anything, but I got the feeling they didn't want a landlord inside.  Thank you everyone for helping me process this problem.
I have never used a locksmith.  I buy new lock sets, and rotate them out among properties.  A double lock set (two deadbolts, two handle locks, and 8 keys) generally runs about $30 here.  I have also gotten them on sale for as little as $15.  So for that price its far easier to just change the locks myself.
I'm grateful for the idea. I'm a little worried to try changing the lock set myself, but the price is right to try! And since I seem to be changing them every year - my tenants are students moving on - that is a more viable solution too! This is the first year I have tenants a second year in a row.  While I'm happy about them staying on a second year so I don't have to do all the work to get the house ready again, I still don't trust them! Oh well.  Thanks again for all the support!
A lock set is really, really easy to change.  Once you change one out you'll wonder why you ever hired someone to do it for you.  Just unscrew the two screws holding the plate by the deadbolt.  Then on the inside of the door unscrew two more screws.  Now take the whole lock out.  Put the other lock in and screw in the 4 screws.  Do the same thing with the door handle.  That's it -- a total of 8 screws.
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