Moving House? Don’t Forget To Change The Locks!

Moving house is a very exciting time. Whether you’re moving into a new rental property, you’ve bought your very first home or you’re taking another step up the property ladder, there’s nothing quite like walking into a completely empty property and being able to make it your own. But in all the excitement many people forget to make the property secure. When you’re just moving in, security is about more than locking the door – it’s about making sure that no one else can gain entry to your home using a good old-fashioned key.

A Frightening Fact

Just in case you thought that last line was a joke, did you know that around 4% of all burglaries are done using a key? According to the Office of National Statistics many burglars gained access to their target property using a key in the door, leaving no visible evidence that they had even been there. They do this either by cloning keys, or more likely by finding or stealing an old key from someone who used to live in the property. This is one of the big reasons you should change the locks as soon as you move into your new home – so that you’re protected from this type of burglary right away.

The Key Chain

If you’re moving into a new-build home, then you can skip this section. But for anyone moving into a previously owned home, it’s important to know that there is a chain of people involved in the locks in your home, and you don’t have any information on it. You don’t know when the locks were last changed, how many generations of people have lived in that house, or how many spare keys have been given out to relatives or family. You don’t know how many keys have been lost by absent-minded teenagers or misplaced on a boozy night out. And you have no idea how many of those keys are still in circulation. After all, do you ask for your keys back when you move?

All of these keys can open the front door to your home. Changing the locks as soon as you move in effectively resets this key chain to 0, so you know that the only people who have access to your home are in your family.

Rekey or Replace?

When it’s time to change your locks, you’ll be given the choice to rekey them or replace them. But if you’ve never done it before, you might not know the difference.

Rekeying: This involves taking apart the lock mechanism and programming it to accept a new key. We then put the hardware back and test the new key to make sure it all works. This method preserves the hardware on the door and can be done in as little as 30 minutes by an experienced locksmith.

Replacing: Is when you replace all of the hardware in the door. We remove the entire locking mechanism and handle and replace them with new versions. This can be a good option if you aren’t fond of the existing hardware or want to give the door an upgrade.

Either option is good for moving into a new property, as it means older keys won’t work in the lock. The difference really comes down to cost, and to whether you want to change the look of your door with new hardware. Sometimes that’s all you need to give your door a facelift!

Don’t Forget The Windows!

This is one of the things almost all homeowners miss. Even if they change the locks on the doors, they will forget to change the locks on the windows. While this might not seem as important, windows are a very common entry point for burglaries, so you want to make sure they’re secure too. These are usually a quick re-keying job, and it makes your property secure at all levels.

At My Locks, we spend a lot of our time replacing and rekeying locks, either because keys have been lost or for people who are moving into a new home. Even if the property you’re moving into is rented, you should insist that the landlord change the locks between tenants as an important safety feature. If you’re not sure if your locks need changing, or you just want some advice, please do give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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