I had a call late one evening, 11.30 to be precise. A young woman in Bradford was locked out of her house that she had just rented. She had told the agent that the locks were not working properly, their reply was “the other tenants had no problem and you just need to get used to the key”.
It was a particularly grim night as it had snowed a lot during the day and it looked as if it was beginning to freeze; not the best night for venturing out! However, that’s the life of a 24/7 locksmith, so off I went.
When I arrived at the property, I tried the front door lock which was a night latch (Yale lock). I tried the lock with the key supplied to the tenant but it definitely wasn’t working; I tried a number of techniques to get the door open but with no success.
Fortunately there was another door to the property so I made my way round the back of the house. Again, the key wouldn’t open this door but this one had a letterbox and with the help of a letter box tool (almost an extended hand) I was able to open this door.
Once inside I had a good look at both locks, they were both faulty and definitely not insurance rated. I was surprised that they had lasted as long as they had.
When an estate agent takes on a new property they always have to make sure the electric and gas comply with regulations. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to locks. I dread to think what would have happened if a fire had broken out and the tenant had been locked inside.
Gas and electric are extremely important, as a former landlord myself I understand the need for these standards to be in place, I would also like to see guidelines that ensure locks to properties are fit for purpose and meet insurance regulations.