Q: I’m renting a rental in a big Manhattan constructing. The bedrooms and one of many closets have deadbolt locks that may solely be locked or unlocked with a key from the skin. The owner is not going to give us keys to the locks. This looks like a critical security difficulty, particularly if there are kids residing within the house. Are most of these locks allowed on bed room doorways? In that case, is the owner required to offer us with a key to every lock? She has additionally advised that if we wish these locks eliminated, we should pay for that.
A: A bed room door can not have a lock that requires a key to make use of it, as that might be a violation of town’s constructing code. Furthermore, it’s unlawful to impede a hearth escape or fireplace exit, so if any of the bedrooms have a hearth escape, these locks additionally violate fireplace guidelines.
It’s absurd that the owner refuses to provide the keys, however actually, the locks shouldn’t be there in any respect. A toddler may actually lock the deadbolt and get trapped alone inside a room (that truly occurred to my son when he was a toddler — it took us almost an hour to clarify to him how you can flip the lock.)
“The owner ought to take away locks that require keys on bed room doorways, and can’t cost the tenant,” stated David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan actual property lawyer.
Give the owner written discover demanding that she change the locks to adjust to metropolis guidelines. Advise her that if she fails to take action, you’ll rent a handyman or locksmith to take away the locks and exchange them with new unkeyed door knobs. Take pictures of the locks, hold the receipts for the labor and supplies, and deduct the price out of your hire.
I can’t think about why the owner added a lock to the closet door. Nevertheless, you will have much less leverage in pressuring her to take away it, assuming the closet doesn’t have a window that may very well be used as an escape route in a hearth. If you happen to can’t use the closet as a result of it’s locked, you might be able to make a case for a hire abatement as a result of a part of the house is unusable, in response to Mr. Kaminsky.
You might also wish to alert the rental to the state of affairs, because the rental may need guidelines about locks on doorways. Name the managing agent and clarify the state of affairs, expressing your issues about fireplace security.
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