What Can I Do If The Landlord Won’t Give Me Keys?

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Getting a new apartment on a lease can be exciting. You will be eager to get the ball rolling, move in and settle down, but this can also be very stressful, and some issues might arise during the move. If your landlord does not give you the keys to your home, you might be wondering 

What Can I Do If The Landlord Won’t Give Me Keys?

When leasing a new property, your landlord gives you the keys to your leased property when your lease begins. However, if your landlord won’t give you the keys, then you should break the lease or work it out with him by asking for another apartment you can stay.

You must know what to do in any situation that might arise in the move, so keep reading, and I will answer all your questions.

What Can I Do If The Landlord Won’t Give Me Keys?

If you are due to move into your new leased apartment and your landlord won’t give you keys for whatever reason, you can do any of the following:

  1. Break Lease

    you can ask for your money back based on a breach of a lease agreement. They might be some moving expenses you incurred the landlord should pay that on account of the lease breach.

  2. Work It Out

    You can work it out with the landlord (if the apartment is not ready). You can ask for another apartment to stay in until yours is due or ask the landlord to cover your moving expenses if you have somewhere else to visit while you wait.

When Should Landlord Give Keys

The landlord must provide you with all available keys to the apartment immediately after the tenancy or lease starts. It is illegal for the landlord to withhold the apartment keys once you have made rent and fulfilled all lease requirements. The tenant collects the key on the day the lease begins.

For instance: if you sign a lease on June 3rd and the lease starts on June 30th, you are not entitled to the keys on June 3rd but on June 30th. However, the landlord may provide early access for you to move in. This provision is entirely the landlord’s decision.

Can Landlord Hold Set Of Keys?

Landlords can hold an extra key to their building. In the event of a change of key by the tenant, most leases require that the tenant provides the landlord with a set of keys to all locked doors/gates. Landlords hold keys for emergency reasons like fire, flood, etc especially when tenants are out.

However, the landlord cannot use his keys without your explicit permission. The property belongs to the landlord, and you are only paying to use the apartment. It will be irresponsible for the landlord not to have a set of keys to his apartment.

When Should You Receive Keys To The Lease?

You receive keys to your leased apartment the day your lease begins. A lease can only start with all fees and paperwork filled out correctly. Generally, you pay your fees, make payment deposits, sign the papers and get the keys on the move-in day. However, you can receive the keys earlier if your landlord agrees.

Do You Get Keys When You Sign A Lease

You can get keys when you sign a lease only if the apartment is ready for occupancy. If it’s not prepared to move in or needs work, you will receive the keys on the day your lease starts. According to rules governing lease agreements, the landlord has no obligation to offer the key until your lease begins.

Can Landlords Hold A Set Of Keys in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, Landlords can hold an extra set of keys for rented properties to utilize in emergencies, for routine maintenance, or even give to the tenant in the case of lost keys; it is generally accepted practice. Only in an emergency or with the tenant’s permission can a landlord use his key to enter the tenant’s apartment.

Are The Landlords Responsible For Door Locks?

The landlord is responsible for changing all keys and locks before moving into a previously rented apartment. The landlord’s responsibility is to give the tenant a secure and hazard-free home. Under the UK tenancy agreement, the landlord should repair and fix all external door locks, hinges, etc.

Ensure that you access the property and that all windows, doors, and garage locks work properly before signing the lease.

Can Tenants Change The Locks?

Tenants can not change the locks to a rented property. They can not eliminate the landlord’s ability to access his property.  If a situation requires a change of locks, the tenant can get permission from the landlord or get the landlord to change the locks himself.

Moreover, if the locks were changed from the lease agreement’s onset, there should be no reason for new locks. When the tenant leaves the property, the tenant either has to hand over the new keys or fix the lockbox to its original condition and return the appropriate keys.

Suppose the tenant neither returns the keys nor fixes the original lock. In that case, the landlord may deduct the cost of replacing the lock from the security deposit and notify the tenant of this deduction.

When Can A Tenant Change The Door Locks?

Some situations might allow a tenant to change the locks on a rented property. These are reasons include:

  • If the landlord has ignored the complaints of the tenant about the lock.
  •  If the landlord has been negligent or unsupportive to the tenant’s request about a new lock. 
  • If the landlord is unreachable or unavailable to sort the lock issues. 

In this case, the tenant can change the locks but keep the original fittings and a set of keys for the landlord. A professional should change the locks to avoid damage to the door. The landlord will claim any damage expenses.


Once a rental unit becomes another person’s home, the landlord has limited control over it. Thus, it is vital as a landlord or tenant to know the tenancy agreement between you and your landlord. The landlord is entitled to have a set of keys for emergencies; he is also responsible for locks and security.


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