After Hours Landlord Calls

Old Style Lock
Old Style Schlage Lock

Back to the second tenant that called from my earlier post about after hours landlord calls…  This issue was an unrelated issue to the gas pressure regulator.

On the same night as I had the pressure regulator issue, I had a call from another tenant.  The tenant was in the same building, his door deadbolt was malfunctioning.  The door could not lock, it was getting late.  It was time for “Super Landlord” to the rescue!  If you are a bit squeamish about handling after hours landlord calls, read on.  They are usually not that bad.

I always put a deadbolt on the main door, never a regular handset.  That way, there is never a call for a lock out.  At least not as often anyway…  I have had three or four tenants that have still managed to do it.

I always change the entry locks of all apartments between tenants.  While I do not worry about a previous tenant having a key, the new tenants would think it is creepy.  Yet, they would not think the next tenant should be worried if they had a key.  Since it is so easy to swap locks, I make it a point to do so.

That tenant called me because his door lock was not working properly.  The lock had fallen apart and would not lock anymore.  I had this happen to the same lock about two months prior; I made a quick fix, and I was hoping that I could limp along until these tenants moved out later this month.  Unfortunately, I had to do something.  The tenants could not lock their door.  While they trust everyone in the building, there is something about not being able to lock your door that makes people feel uncomfortable…

I had some extra locks parts at home and knew I could get this lock fixed.  I had to sprint the three miles back to my house, get the parts I needed to get the lock fixed, and sprint back.  By now it was about 9:00 PM.  The door had a deadbolt that was an old style Schlage lock.  It was installed without a door edge cutout, and was just one of those ‘push in’ type installs.  The bushing that was supposed to hold the lock in place was coming out.  I use the push in door latches for interior handsets, but never again for exterior doors with locks.

New Style Schlage Lock
New Style Schlage Lock

In the new Schlage style lock this issue cannot happen as easily as the deadbolt part is all one piece.  It cannot come apart.  I am replacing all of my locks with the new style as tenants move out, and removing the old styles from the lock rotations.  The new style is easier to switch between renters, and has less issues overall.

I needed to fix this in an expedient manner, and ty to avoid giving the tenant (and myself) a new set of keys.  I had an old style lock with a latch that could be screwed into the door.  It’s a bit hard to explain, I hope the pictures make sense.

To fix this, I returned with a door latch that had a plate attached not just a bushing.  I also brought a chisel, which could have been a bit sharper…  I chiseled out the door just a bit, and installed the new deadbolt latch.  There are two screws that hold the center latch in place now, rather than just a push-in metal bushing thing.  It is now fixed forever, as long as I use that type of door lock latch and use two screws.  I will never have to chisel out the door again.  I like the permanent fixes.

This was an easy fix, and it took about 20 minutes.  I should never have the issue again.  I was back home shortly after 9:30 PM.  A locksmith would have charged ~$100.

So I saved $100 by doing this simple task myself, rather than use a locksmith.  A handyman would have been a bit of a charge too.  Not bad for an hour of work.  Tax free!  Add that money to the retirement fund.

 What tasks have you had to call on your landlord after hours to fix?  Or what fixes have you had to do after hours?

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