Always Change the Locks

Always Change the Locks

Always change the locks when a tenant moves out. It keeps them moved out, removes the temptation to return for the faucet they like or the copper plumbing etc.

You never want to stand up in court and tell the judge your soon to be former tenant was assaulted, burglarized, raped or killed by a previous resident who returned and used your laziness as an entry tool.

The Illinois Landlord and Tenant Act was amended via Public Act 097-047001 on Jan 1st 2012 it added section 765 ILCS 705/15, This requires landlords in counties with a population in excess of 3 million residents to change or re-key the locks on a dwelling unit after a tenancy ends.

There are two exemptions to the law:

  1. owner occupied buildings containing four or fewer units
  2. rental of a room in a private home.

ALWAYS check your local landlord tenant laws to be sure you are in compliance.

Our Procedure

We always change the cylinders (not the knobs) between tenants. 

We always buy our “Master Keyed” handsets and deadbolts from Ernie Riddle at Landlordlocks in Indiana.

We always install the satin chrome finish since it ages better than the brass look-a-likes.


Landlord locks sells hand built versions of the Ultra Max series similar to a  Kwikset Titan. However these locks feature a 6 pin pick resistant tumbler. Most of Ernie’s employees are Amish.

There are three kinds of keys: tenant key, master key and control key.

The control key lets you change the cylinders “WITHOUT” using a screwdriver. Put it in, turn counter clockwise and the entire lock assembly slips out of the door knob or deadbolt when you pull back on the key.

They sell hundreds of lock series. Each series is coded with two letters. AA, AB, LZ for example. Each lock series works with one master key and one Control Key and has 217 possible combinations.

Contractors and Showings

We always change the locks between tenants. While the unit is between tenants we use key number 217 in our series as well as the matching cylinders as a contractor’s key system.

When a tenant moves out we change the cylinder to brass so it is in contrast to the handset and deadbolt. We install cylinder 217 top and bottom.

Each  contractor gets a copy of key #217. We also have a code that is unique for them in our alarm system, This way we can tell not only “IF” someone went inside “After Hours” we can also tell what crew they are a part of.

Move In Ceremony

We leave #217 in place until time to move in. Then as part of our resident move in process we change the cylinders while they are watching and have them sign a document that acknowledges it.

Good Luck and Good Investing.

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