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How many sets of keys and fobs is a tenant entitled to?

contractandkeysHere is a question to the blog clinic from Emma who is a tenant

Are there specific laws relating to how many sets of keys a tenant is allowed to have?

The reason I ask is that I live alone in a block of flats and have been provided with 1 set of keys. The problem is that the block entrance is fob access and the only way to obtain a fob is through the letting agent.

I have been renting for 15 years and have always given a set of keys to friends who visit regularly, family as well as a trusted cleaner who I sometimes need to come when I’m away or out to feed my cat, clean etc.

I have never had fob access before renting this flat, in the past I have just had normal keys for all doors so I have been free to get as many as I need copied. However this is not the case with fobs.

The letting agent say that as there is one tenant they give out one set of keys. However this is severely limiting my freedom to live in my normal way in what is currently my home.

Without additional fobs (for which I am happy to pay), my ‘peaceful enjoyment’ of the property is limited. Please can you advise what the law states on this point and what, if any, rights I have to have as many sets of keys as I require for lawful purposes. Thanks.

So far as I am aware the law has no pronouncement on this and you need to look to your tenancy agreement.

If your tenancy agreement is silent on the issue then it is down to what you can agree with your landlord and the agents.

You ask whether the failure to provide adequate fobs is a breach of your covenant of quiet enjoyment as it prevents you from using the property as you wish.

The covenant of quiet enjoyment is a rule that says that the landlord must allow the tenant to use the property in peace.  Breach is normally down to things like entering without notice, harassment and failure to carry out essential repair work.

I don’t think failing to give enough keys and fobs for your friends and cleaner to enter the flat really come within this but maybe others would disagree.  What do readers think?

In the meantime you are left with trying to negotiate something with the agents.

Note – a definition of a key fob from Webopedia:

A fob, or more commonly called a key fob, is a small security hardware device with built-in authentication used to control and secure access to network services and data.

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12 Responses to How many sets of keys and fobs is a tenant entitled to?

  1. I think it is fairly common for most homeowners to have more than one set of keys and tenants generally expect at least two.

    We always make sure the landlord provides two sets but unless it’s in your tenancy agreement there is nothing to say they have to.

    It is perhaps more common to only find one set if there is an electroic entry system as extra fobs are more expensive. We still insist on landlords providing two (it’s in our terms of business).

  2. We give out 2 sets (one for everyday use and one as a spare).

    The leaseholder charges us for each additional security we (the landlords) request and as long as the tenant was prepared to pay this cost – and return the keys when they leave I don’t see what the problem is.

    I do know that you can go to a specialist key shop to have keys cut but they normally require site of your tenancy agreement and a letter of permission from your landlord before they will cut a security key. this may be the same with a Fob as you can get Spare Fobs for your car done at a Key Specialists.

  3. I would hazard a guess that the letting agents do not in fact, have control of the fobs themselves. The freeholder of the block or their managing agents are likely to have control and they should be open to the idea (obv. supplied at cost) of handing out additional fobs.

    The letting agent could approach them on your behalf – but it sounds like they cant be bothered

    If your letting agent is also the managing agents then Tessa is right, you’ll have to start a discussion with them about it

  4. I know the legal answer to this one have had exactly the same fob query from one of my client offices about a year ago.

    The “Tenenat” is a singular entity, so legally the Landlord/agent only needs to issue one set of keys.

    Practice is to issue two for joint tenants etc.

    Emma if you have managed to cut entry door keys before you were very lucky as normally they are Ingersol or similar and can only be cut with a specific authority.

  5. If the tenant is willing to pay for an additional fob and hands it back at the end of the tenancy I would imagine the landlord would agree to that (we certainly have in the past). The tenant should ask the agency if the landlord will obtain one for her, as it may be outside what the agency are prepared to do for the landlord.

  6. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    @Industry Observer – whats your authority for saying that a single tenant is only entitled to one set of keys? Has there been a case on this?

  7. Tessa

    The authority is the definition of “The Tenant” as found in any glossary in any decent tenancy agreement. The tenant is singular so one tenant and the entitlement is one key.

    Conversely where at LAW does it state that every person named as one of joint tenants is entitled to a key? Or in a tenancy agreement?

    No-one is saying that “The Tenant” cannot have extra keys cut at their own expense and the agreement will provide for this and state they must all be returned at the end of the tenancy.

    Multiple keys are issued because of expectation and habit and because it is common sense and sensible to do so.

  8. Tenant is singular = 1 set of keys seems like a personal opinion more than anything else.

    Is there even an entitlement to be provided a key at all?

    Number of keys and fobs provided should be agreed in advance, I think.

  9. Clearly tenant(s) is entitled to one set of keys as otherwise they won’t have access at all!!

    Question is whether or not they are legally ‘entitled’ to any additional sets at Landlord expense or their own?

    The legal definition in a well drafted tenancy agreement shows The Tenant to be a single entity – even if it is 6 students on one agreement. It is simply common sense and good practice to provide joint tenants with two sets, but no more than that, not a legal requirement to provide them.

  10. IO: if I lose the key to my door, I get a locksmith to get access and change the locks.
    Hence it doesn’t seem to prevent access.

  11. Romain

    I will not debate with you as we do elsewhere. The position here is very simple you can have 6 student sharers but in the agreement they are “The Tenant” they are NOT the Tenants. The tenant is entitled’ to a key, so one key. Anything more is common sense, practicalities, cutting extra keys themselves etc.

    End of



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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