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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

Hiring An Eviction Locksmith: What You Need For An Eviction Lockout

by Ralph August 2, 2021

Going through the eviction lockout process can be very difficult for both the tenant and the landlord. As emotions and tensions run high, it can be indispensable to have a professional neutral party present to handle the more mundane tasks. Calling an eviction locksmith may also be required or requested by law enforcement in the case of a sheriff eviction lockout.

Eviction lockout services you may need include:

  1. Property Access
  2. Lock Change
  3. Rekey Locks
  4. Mailbox Change
  5. Padlock Removal


What does an eviction locksmith do?

Eviction locksmiths work with landlords to re-establish access and key control for a property after a tenant has vacated the premises. In some cases, an eviction locksmith will be asked to be present while a sheriff is performing the eviction lockout. Locksmiths may have to open the front door if a landlord’s keys no longer work. At the bare minimum, the locksmith will provide rekeying or lock change services to prevent the evicted tenant from re-entering the property.

How do you find a locksmith for evictions?

An eviction locksmith service can be provided by any technician who offers mobile locksmith services for residential or commercial buildings. If you are performing a tenant lockout, it is preferable for your eviction locksmith to have some prior experience. An eviction where the tenant must be removed under the supervision of law enforcement requires a punctual and professional locksmith.

Do you need a locksmith for a sheriff lockout?

Most sheriff departments will suggest you bring a locksmith with you to your scheduled lockout in case the tenant has changed the locks. In most circumstances, the sheriff will not break into the property or allow you to break in, which creates the necessity for an eviction locksmith. It is better to have a locksmith and not one than to need a locksmith and not have one.

When is a landlord locking out a tenant legal?

A landlord locking out a tenant should only happen after a court has sanctioned the eviction. Make sure you have fulfilled all required steps and filed all the appropriate paperwork. Consult with a lawyer if you have any doubt, and in cases where the tenant will not vacate the property, request assistance from the sheriff’s department.

How much does an eviction locksmith cost? 

An eviction locksmith’s final price will be determined by the extent of the services required. The basic services most often needed for evictions start with lockout services ($35) to gain entrance to the property. This is usually followed by lock rekeying ($19) or a lock change ($35) of at least the front door but should include all perimeter doors. Combined with a standard service fee of $15 for mobile arrival, the average total is likely to be around $90.

Residential vs. Commercial Eviction Locksmiths

An eviction locksmith can be called for both residential and commercial properties. Both have different considerations in terms of types of hardware, vulnerabilities, access points, and inherent security level. It is always recommended that you call a locksmith with specific expertise dealing with your given sector so they can make recommendations and assessments based on experience.

Residential Eviction Locksmith 

A home locksmith will handle residential eviction lockouts. They are trained to open and install the wide variety of locks used on residential properties, including chain locks and other non-keyed security devices that lock homes from the inside. If your property uses high-security door locks, you need a locksmith that knows the available opening methods when lock picking is not viable.

An eviction locksmith for residential properties is potentially putting themselves at risk of bodily harm. Homes, more often than office buildings, can have very volatile evictions. Evicted tenants will sometimes threaten or even assault those who are carrying out the eviction. This leads many locksmiths to charge an additional cost for something like a sheriff eviction lockout appointment.

Commercial Eviction Locksmith

A commercial locksmith is more familiar with the various aspects of physical access control, which creates special considerations. For example, the building or office may need a master key system to stay intact while changing a single lock, or the system may need a complete overhaul. You may also be dealing with electronic locks, which are hardwired into the building’s electrical system.

The complexity of integrated building security makes commercial door lock replacement all the more difficult for contending with the threat of an evicted tenant’s reprisal. You do not want to leave your new business owner vulnerable to break-ins that may result in theft or vandalism. Your locksmith will also be able to recommend the products you need out of the overwhelming options of commercial door lock types.

Eviction Locksmith Services

When you are hiring an eviction locksmith, you likely have some idea of the services you need. However, there may be more options and available services that you were not aware of or remain unconvinced that you need. In the sections below, we will discuss the top eviction locksmith services in a way that should help determine whether or not you need them.

1. Property Access

In the case of a sheriff eviction lockout, where law enforcement is carrying out the court-approved removal of a tenant, an eviction locksmith to assist with opening any doors the landlord does not have a key for. Whether renters changing apartment locks or house locks without providing the landlord a key is expressly prohibited in the lease or by law, delinquent tenants have a habit of adding this headache to the eviction process.

A house lockout service provided by a trained locksmith is essential to have on hand during an eviction. You must have access to the property to evict tenants and change locks. But in the case of a sheriff eviction lockout, it is essential that you do not need to break into the property. For business lockout solutions, most landlords will have working keys. But if a lock is broken, you will still need a way to open the door.

2. Door Lock Changes

Under the best of circumstances, after an eviction lockout, you are still going to have to be changing locks. It is irrelevant whether or not you have collected all outstanding keys from the previous tenants. When a tenant moves out, the locks must be changed. “DO NOT DUPLICATE” stamps and markings on a key cannot keep copies from being made. If someone had a key, assume a copy was made without your knowledge.

It is important not only to change the locks of the front door but also to change the locks of any keyed opening to the property. For example, patio door lock replacement is often neglected because it is not as straightforward as changing a deadbolt or keyed door knob. Also, if you have ever experienced a garage door lockout, you may have realized how easy it is to open a locked garage. So change the locks of any doors that lead into the home from the garage.

3. Door Lock Rekeying

Though the locks must be changed, there may be a way to do this without fully replacing all the hardware. If you rekey locks, the key that opens the lock is changed without getting a new lock altogether. The cost to rekey a lock is lower than the price of a new lock and installation. The existing lock is deconstructed, and the internals are replaced to correspond to the grooves on a new key.

The main difference between rekeying or replacing a lock is that rekeying a lock cannot fix the damage. Rekeying alone will also not increase the security of a lock. For a broken door lock or a more secure door lock, you will need to change the lock fully. Some locksmiths may offer security pin installation that can occupy rekeying, but this will be limited to partial drill and lock pick resistance.

4. Mailbox Lock Change

After an eviction lockout, you want to remove access to every keyed lock the previous tenant had. Over the past decade, mail and package theft has become increasingly prevalent. And in the case of apartments, previous tenants have been known to come back and see if their key still works on their mailbox. Without a mailbox lock change, packages and correspondence are not safe in a locked mailbox.

Houses are less likely to use keyed mailboxes, but if the previous tenant was especially problematic, it may be a good idea to install a mailbox lock. You do not want to expose your new renter to any undue risks. You can perform a home security assessment to determine your property’s level of exposure to mail theft or consult with your eviction locksmith for options.

5. Padlock Removal 

A property owner may encounter padlocks in several instances during an eviction lockout. The previous tenant may have left you to deal with a broken padlock they were uninterested in removing, broken the lockout of spite, or used a padlock you don’t have a key to. In any case, when a padlock won’t open, you need to remove it through manipulation or destructive means.

Removing a broken padlock will most likely require bolt cutters or, in some cases, an angle grinder. If you do not have the proper tools or know how to use them, be sure to have your eviction locksmith assist you. In some cases, during a sheriff eviction lockout, only a locksmith will be allowed to remove the padlock used to restrict primary access to the property.

Closing Advice

Navigating an eviction lockout is stressful and hectic, but it is also one of the many life changes that require lock changes. You have to make the security of your property and future tenants a priority, so you need a trusted eviction locksmith. Whether you need the best lockout services, so your sheriff-assisted eviction lockout goes smoothly, or just need to change locks, call an eviction locksmith.

Category: Commercial, Residential

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