Keys are among the essential things we keep secured after moving into a new house. Misplacing keys can cause a whole lot of worries and frustration. There are instances where some property managers or landlords charge tenants who misplace their keys. So as a precaution or proactive measure, you may think it wise to duplicate or make a copy of your apartment keys. Another reason you might want to make apartment keys copy is so that your spouse or family member can have them. The legality surrounding a tenant’s right to duplicate/copy an apartment’s key is often controversial – is it legal or illegal?

Is It Illegal to Make a Copy of Your Apartment Key

How tenants can know if it is legal to make copies of their apartment key

Check if the key has a ‘do not duplicate(or copy)’ tag

Though often contested, no law has made copying of apartment keys that has ‘do not duplicate’ tags illegal. These keys are often inscribed with these tags by their owners for the following reasons:

  • To prevent unrestricted or endless duplication of that type of key. It will reduce the likelihood of former tenants to have a duplicate of that key once they have been evicted.
  • It is a form of key control and a way of bolstering security. 

In summary, the ‘do not duplicate’ tag on the key is a request without any legal backing or binding. So, it is up to the locksmith to decide whether he will decide to copy the key or not. Some locksmiths will request you to sign an authorisation form before they make a copy of that key. It is not illegal to copy an apartment key with ‘do not duplicate’ inscription or tag.

However, a certain type of keys referred to as ‘restricted key’ – high security and patented – are never duplicated unless with the permission of the property owner. Restricted keys are characterised by their identification number and are different from ordinary keys with a ‘do not duplicate tag’.

Read: Can I Get A Copy Of A Do Not Duplicate Key

Look up your tenancy lease agreement

Your lease agreement is a legal contract between you and your landlord for your apartment. Leases are usually comprehensive and thorough. They spell out all the rules, restrictions and code of conduct expected of tenants. Your lease agreement is a reference you should consult in matters of this nature. Typically, if copying of your apartment key is prohibited, then it will be clearly spelt out in your lease agreement, so there will be no confusion. 

If your lease agreement is silent on the matter of apartment keys duplication, then you can conclude that copying of apartment key is permissible. 

Make enquiries from your landlord

If you still doubt the legality of duplicating your apartment key, you can consult with your landlord or your apartment manager. They must have encountered the question before and can see the reason behind why you may need to duplicate your apartment key. Their job is to create a secured and comfortable atmosphere for tenants to habitat in.

Landlords/Property managers frown at those who look for ways to circumvent their policies, especially those that have to do with keys and other security hardware. So if you require more than one key, you can explain to them your need for it and might entertain your request. Who knows? They might give you another key or permit you to make duplicates. 

Read: Does Home Insurance Cover Locksmith

Final thoughts

In a situation where you discover that your apartment keys are missing or have been stolen, do not be afraid. Ensure your landlord is informed at the soonest. You may be given a spare key to use for a short time while you contact a locksmith to rekey your lock and change your key. 

When in doubt, consult your lease agreement. If your apartment key is a restricted one or your tenancy lease agreement prohibits the copying of your apartment keys, then desist from making a copy of your apartment key. If your key is misplaced or stolen, the procedures for replacement (or potential charges) is usually indicated in the lease agreement.

Professional locksmiths can duplicate and copy every type of key. They are also security consultants that can furnish you with the best security tools – keys, locks and tips – to protect your residential, commercial property and even vehicle from burglary. 

Contact us here for more information.