Hi. Please excuse if this is a naive question but I really don't know. I suspect my landlord is coming into my apartment when I'm out. I have
2 Medeco cylinders in the door from the 1980's and never gave anyone duplicate keys. I don't lock the top lock when I leave but occasionally find it locked when I return. Nobody has a second set of these keys. Could he have obtained a Master key - if such a thing exists???
Generally your building superintendant will have keys for your apartment, including tenant-installed deadbolts like a Medeco.
Have you tried asking your superintendent or building manager if they have been in your apartment for some good reason without first notifying you they need entry?
If you suspect tampering with the locks, call your friendly local MEDECO security locksmith and have the locks re-keyed.
Do remember that your tenent firre insurance is null and void if you don't provide keys to your building superintendent!
If you want to know who is entering your apartment without your notice, install a security camera and if you want them aprehended, install a silent, monitored, alarm system.
Police are not particularly understanding of building people who invite themselves in without prior notice without an excellent reason.
PS: MEDECO locks can be master-keyede, but you would have to request this if it was you who had the locks installed and the master keys would be given to you by the locksmith and who you give them to is your business.
One thing I have learned in life is that what you suspect is happening or even if you know it is happening mean nothing unless you can PROVE that it is happening... It usually turns into two people saying that two different things are going on... Which person is correct ???
To address the locksmithing part of your question: Unless the lock was "master keyed" when it was installed, no one can get a "master key" that will open it after the fact...
Here is a question for you: Did you install these locks yourself ???
Even if you did, the locksmith will have supplied the owner of the building with a copy of the key because while you are renting the apartment you do not own it and in most, if not all, US states your landlord has the right to have a key to his property, so that they may enter in the event of some kind of emergency like a flood or a fire, and in some cases to inspect the premises to ensure that you are not causing some kind of health code issue...
Read your lease agreement contract and see if you are allowed the right to re-key your apartment's locks... In most cases with a standard FHA lease you will have to provide your landlord a copy of a key for any lock you install on their door...
Brian had good advice:
Having a video tape of someone entering your apartment without your authorization would be very compelling evidence to support your claim because if you intend to file any official complaints regarding this issue you will be asked for some form of proof to back up your allegations...
You never know, maybe you are just so used to locking the door that you zone out and have a "senior moment" and don't remember locking that top lock...
Evan, ~~formerly a miantenance man, now a college student
Uhm... I hate to suggest it, but most of the cases where this complaint is made turn out to be an elderly person who's simply started forgetting how they left things. Because they're afraid to accept that possibility, they try to blame someone else... a sort of low-level defensive paranoia.
I've seen it happen with two of my own relatives.
Uncomfortable to experience, and not your fault if that's what's happening, but do consider that the problem may not be the lock. If you've asked the landlord and he/she says no, I'd suggest that the next persion you ask might want to be your doctor. Sometimes this is a treatable chemical imbalance.
Re rigging a video camera: Think about whether you'll believe what it shows you. If you find the lock "different" when you get home but the camera says nobody came in, will you then accuse the landlord of playing with the lock but not entering, just to annoy you? If so, think about what that implies about your other suspicions...
Sure they can. If they are willing to go to the trouble. They can dissasemble and make one. If the lock isn't master keyed to begin with then obviously it would just be a key not a master key.
What are you talking about? If he (the tenant) installed the locks himself there is likely no locksmith involved and even if there is, he or she has no obligation or authority for that matter, to provide a key to anyone but the purchaser of the locks or rekeying as the case may be. If the locksmith installed the locks it would be a different matter. Most are not going to install them w/o written authorization from the property owner anyway assuming they know it's a rental. I wouldn't.
That would require access to the lock, which would mean that the person taking such action either had a key to begin with or could pick the lock and then it is all a moot point...
"Cause to be installed, either through direct personal action or the use of a hired agent..."
Most people who rent ptoperty would have understood that comment...
If you are not the OWNER of the property, but merely a renter, you can not obstruct the owner's access to their rental property... Most states allow the owner to recover any costs associated with gaining entry or re-keying locks that a tenant changed without proper authorization...
Evan, ~~formerly a maintenance man, now a college student
No it isn't. Locks and masterkey and SFIC systems in particular can be compromised by people who have temporary access, either covert or overt that they manage to turn into permanent access via decoding to make a key. In the case of picking, picking is relatively slow, if you want return access it's desirable to have a key. With regard to Medeco many of the blanks are not restricted and I have seen more than a few installs where the sidebar was left out.
That's the Evan def " to set up for use or service"
They might if you said: "Did you HAVE these locks installed?" You didn't. You said: "Did you install these locks yourself ???" Alternatively I suppose you could have said "Did you have these locks installed yourself?"
That has nothing to do with the way you phrased your question. Not to mention that you CAN do pretty much anything you want. There may be consequences for doing it but that doesn't stop you from being able to do it. Many many tenants change or re-key the locks and don't provide a key to the landlord, or even tell the landlord for that matter.
Thank you all for your responses! The history of the install is in the murky past so there is no definite answer. Rather than solve the mystery the best recourse is just to buy 2 new cylinders and have a professional install done (it wasn't pro the first time). Any recommendations what I can ask the locksmith to do to increase security and prevent a recurrence?
I would take what you wrote to mean that you probably did not have control over the installation. If that's the case the landlord almost certainly has keys. The locks may be master keyed, especially if the owner has more than 1 rental unit, or the landlord may just have duplicates. Either way he/she has keys. If they are masterkeyed be advised that there is a certain amount of increased risk from unauthorized entry via another tenant on the same masterkey system who has decoded a lock under their control and made a master. This risk is lessened with the locks you have assuming they are correctly assembled and installed due to the difficulty of making a key w/o specialized equipment.
Medeco locks are good and are not cheap. Rather than replacing them talk to your local locksmith and see if you can just get them rekeyed. It shouldn't be a problem IF the landlord gives permission AND/OR the blanks are available. It will have to be a locksmith that can cut Medeco keys. As far as landlord access the best suggestion I have seen is to provide the landlord a key sealed in a tamper proof container i.e. a security sealed envelope, a laminated pouch, whatever. Then if you suspect someone has entered your apartement when they shouldn't or has done something they shouldn't you can request the landlord show you the key to verify that the anti tamper seal is still intact.
Be advised that even if you can get the locks rekeyed w/o the landlord knowing and getting a copy you are probably going to be in violation of your lease agreement and may be subject to damages.
Sorry I wasn't more explicit. I brought the locks in myself from my previous apartment. The current landlord (or super) never had a key to this Medeco lock of mine. installation was done by a friend at my request. The friend has no key; I have the only set. This is a coop apartment I live in now.
Good idea if I have to give him key copies. When I asked about other ideas I was soliciting people's opinions on rims cylinders, security shutters, anti-picking collars and other things I've read in this forum.
Thanks. But if I'm being entered illegally I wonder about enforcement of this 'violation.'
Then you have answered your own question... If you are the only one with keys someone would have had to force the door open (by picking or other entry methods) in order to take apart the lock to do anything to it...
It is more likely that you are forgetting that you are changing the state of this lock than it is someone else is messing with you... There are ways that you can
100% beyond-all-doubts prove that someone is actually entering your apartment... The fact that you have not really seriously even considered such a thig and are looking to immediately blame outside parties for your perception of a "violation" leads me to believe that you are either unable or unwilling to look at the situation objectively and figure out a way to obtain some form of evidence which will help you eliminate this condition where you think you are being "entered illegally"...
I would recommend a self-contained 'nanny cam' type device that is concealed in some kind of stuffed animal or a bushy plant that is strategically located somewhere near the door with a god view of the door, it would also be a good thing to make sure the area is well lit...
All of those protector plates are a fine and good thing, but it all depends on the type of door you have and how strong the frame is... It is no use to put all of the lock protectors on if the door can be easily splintered apart by someone kicking it in...
You can't do much of anything about the door on your unit, it is what it is... Changing out a door in a multi-unit dwelling house involves safety and fire code issues that you have no control over, and while you may be able to 'get away' with re-keying your door locks unnoticed, people will see the new door and stuff like that can and will get you into trouble with teh civil authorities...
First off --- You "think" you are being violated... Before you can "enforce" what you feel is a "violation" you must prove in fact that you are being violated... You would look like quite a fool if you did persue this matter and ended up in court with a you said - landlord (super) said type of argument without some form of definite proof to back your case... SO GET SOME VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THIS "PERSON" ENTERING YOUR UNIT...
Second --- Do you own your unit ??? Is there a deed that states you are in complete and total control over what happens inside its boundaries ??? Before you act on your "feelings" about the door lock make sure that you are able to execrise the privilege to change the lock without notifying the "management"
Evan, ~~formerly a maintenance man, now a college student
Someone else suggested much the same but it is impossible. When I leave I only lock the bottom lock. The top lock has jammed in the past so I don't use it. I carry the top lock key but it is wrapped in electrical tape so I don't use it by mistake. OK? So let's put that to rest. I know someone has keys and enters from time to time when I'm away (which is a lot) because how else would I leave locking only the bottom lock and return to find *both* bottom and top locks locked?
I suspect -- but can't prove and don't really care the reason -- the landlord, super was using my vacant apartment for a tryst. I only want it to stopthink it will now that I'm around more and buying new Medecos. Price is no problem
Then assuming the sidebar is present in your lock there is very little chance anyone is bypassing it to get in.
installation was done by a friend at my
With the lock you have if it's correctly setup and installed there is very little chance someone is picking it.
Enoforcement depends on your lease and the law in your state. Almost all standard lease agreements cover it though. If there was no damage related to inablity to get in I would just ask you for a copy of the key and offer you the tamper resistant pouch option. If you refused then I'd probably have to evict you, or if you were an especially good tenant, demand a substantial increase in your deposit to cover potential damage if I couldn't get in for a leak or whatever.