Owners should not have copies of keys
Security is a fundamental step to avoiding lawsuits and unfortunate situations that could happen at a property and we take the safety of the residents very seriously. The Industry Standard as well as our legal counsels advises on the matter that residences are to be re-keyed between each new residential household.
We sign a new lease agreement with a resident indicating that in fact the locks have been re-keyed and nobody other than the current occupants and FBS has a copy of the keys. These are considered emergency keys, in which are in the FBS office, in a locked cabinet.
While the residents occupy the home we are very careful as to the emergency keys, requiring the resident to show proof (ID) prior to being able to get a copy or for us to open the door for them, if lost or stolen. The owner is not issued a key for the residence as an added layer of protection from potential liability.
While vacant and owner can have access to the property, if necessary, by obtaining a copy from the office. We have a sign out sheet and will need proof of ownership before a key is released. Often we will not need the key returned, since the locks will be rekeyed as the final step of the rent-ready process.
Owners will request the code to the lockbox on the premises and our staff cannot accommodate this request for several obvious reasons, but most importantly how do we verify ownership over the phone. Again, it is not to be difficult but to protect the property owner from potential lawsuit and liability and to give the resident peace of mind on the security of their new home.
Note: this industry standard came about from a lawsuit against a property owner for not changing or rekeying a property and the new resident was assaulted, with no sign of forced entry and the property owner lost a 2.5 million dollar lawsuit.
Best practice: keep the keys with the manager