Master Keying Residential Rental PropertiesA master key may not be what you might think that it is! It’s not a special key that will open every lock. It is simply a second key that will open specific locks that have been set up to work with it.

Looking at a key, you’ll see peaks and valleys. These correspond to the internal components of a lock which allow the lock to be opened. A master keyed lock has a second set of components that also allow the lock to be opened with a second, and different, key. The lock can then be opened with either key, the operator key or the second key even though they each have a different configuration of peaks and valleys.

What makes the second key a master key is when, although the operator key is different for each property, the second key or master key can open all of the properties which have been set up to work with that particular master key.

The question as to whether to master key a residential property or not raises an important liability issue for the property manager. Although it’s more convenient to carry only one key that will open all of the managed properties, controlling the actual master keys themselves is critical. If the master key (or a copy of it) ends up in the wrong hands, the person possessing the key can enter any of the managed properties without leaving any evidence of entry. That can be a huge liability for the property manager. Even though the master key may be a special “Do Not Duplicate” key, the master key can still be copied on any key duplicator just like any other key. A locksmith shop may not duplicate this key but there are plenty of other places that will.

There are more secure ways to have convenient access to all of your managed properties without using a master key. Ultimately, the decision whether to master key all of the managed properties or not rests with property manager. In these days of prolific litigation, key control has become a vital part of property management! Master keying the properties that you manage may open the door to greater liability!

Al Root - Mr. Rekey

Al Root
Mr. Rekey Phoenix
(602) 340-0004

Mr. Rekey offers services in AZ, CA, TX, CO, FL, GA, NV, TN, VA, WA.


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