Am I responsible to pay for lock changes after move out?

My old landlord is threatening to charge me for changing all locks on her house after I moved out. I returned the keys to her 10 days after I moved. She claims she was “forced” to change the locks for the safety of her new tenant, and is holding me liable since I did not return her keys until 10 days after move-out. My lease states that I may not alter, change or damage locks in the home. If locks are altered, changed or damaged then I could be liable for any costs incurred. I did not alter, damage or change the locks, and do not feel that I should be held liable.

Asked on August 31, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are wise to have read the terms of your written lease with your former landlord in that its terms and conditions set forth the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

Under most written leases, when the tenant vacates the unit, he or she is required to return all keys to the landlord at the time of leaving. In your situation, you waited ten (10) full days after you moved.

The landlord was forced during this time period to re-key the unit to protect it and any new tenant that may have moved during this ten (10) day period at a cost. Had you given the keys to the landlord upon move out, the re-keying would not have been necessary.

You are obligated to pay for the lock changes.

 


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