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JimTrail

join:2009-11-21
Knoxville, TN

Can a crook get a key made for my apartment dead bolt lock?

Hello DSL Reports forum!

Question. How difficult would it be for someone (in this case a neighbor) to have a key made for a dead bolt lock for my apartment door?

The door has a Weiser brand dead bolt lock.

I have been having trouble out of a neighbor. He is a seedy looking character. The other day I saw him outside smoking what looked like a crack pipe. That sort of conduct is unusual because this is somewhat of an upscale neighborhood.

I have about a 12" long sewing threat that I tape on the inside of the door - about six inches up from the bottom of the door. As I close the door to leave I pull the thread under the door then close the door. The thread lays about one or two inches on the floor on the outside of the closed door.

If someone opens the door the thread goes back with the door. When the door is closed the thread is no longer run under the door to the outside.

Today I came home from the grocery store. I looked at the bottom of the door. The thread was gone! I opened the door and the thread was still taped to the inside bottom of the door.

The door was locked!

I am suspecting that the crack smoking neighbor has somehow gotten a key to my apartment.

I would appreciate any insight.

Thanks.



Blackbird
Built for Speed
Premium
join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

1 recommendation

The first question is whether this is a lock you installed yourself, or was it already there when you rented the apartment? If the latter, then any number of former owners or their friends could have keys. Beyond that, a lot of common, less-than-expensive deadbolt locks have only a limited number of key patterns - if you look in a typical hardware store, some of the ones on display for a given brand may well have identical keys across different boxes with the same lot number. Beyond that, there's always "bumping" a lock, picking it, master keys, and any number of other ways to defeat it.

However, is it possible that the thread may simply have been blown back under the door while you were gone? Is it also possible your "odd" neighbor has seen you set your thread "tell-tale" when going out and is just playing with your mind by shoving it back under? Finally, does your landlord or his maintenance people ever enter tenants'apartments to access utilities, etc?

In the end, if you're allowed to (not all apartments allow it), for your own peace of mind you might consider installing your own higher-quality top-security deadbolt lock.
--
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. -- A. de Tocqueville



planet

join:2001-11-05
Oz
kudos:1

1 recommendation

What's the saying...locks are to keep honest people out.

Perhaps a good strong hasp and hardened combo or key lock on the outside of the door...cheaper.


daveinpoway
Premium
join:2006-07-03
Poway, CA
kudos:2

Be aware that the landlord may not allow these to be installed. Years ago, I substituted my own lock for the one on my apartment door and the landlord made me reinstall the original lock, even after I offered to give him a key for the replacement.



dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO

5 recommendations

reply to JimTrail

Get a nanny/webcam and leave it aimed at the door.



mackey

join:2007-08-20
kudos:6

1 recommendation

said by dib22:

Get a nanny/webcam and leave it aimed at the door.

+1. Mine e-mails me video clips on motion.

/M

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to JimTrail

said by JimTrail:

Hello DSL Reports forum!

Question. How difficult would it be for someone (in this case a neighbor) to have a key made for a dead bolt lock for my apartment door?

The door has a Weiser brand dead bolt lock.

I have been having trouble out of a neighbor. He is a seedy looking character. The other day I saw him outside smoking what looked like a crack pipe. That sort of conduct is unusual because this is somewhat of an upscale neighborhood.

I have about a 12" long sewing threat that I tape on the inside of the door - about six inches up from the bottom of the door. As I close the door to leave I pull the thread under the door then close the door. The thread lays about one or two inches on the floor on the outside of the closed door.

If someone opens the door the thread goes back with the door. When the door is closed the thread is no longer run under the door to the outside.

Today I came home from the grocery store. I looked at the bottom of the door. The thread was gone! I opened the door and the thread was still taped to the inside bottom of the door.

The door was locked!

I am suspecting that the crack smoking neighbor has somehow gotten a key to my apartment.

I would appreciate any insight.

Thanks.

Most common locks you can usually use a "bump key" and unlock them. You don't need the actual key. Or they can be picked.

This is the most common method out here in Vegas. Since it is usually drug addicts or kids stealing stuff for quick money. Pros will have better knowledge and tools to do the job. Plus you can usually tell from what they take wither it is a junkie or a pro.

I am going to get a set from a local locksmith, which has extra security features so it can't be "bumped" or picked easily (but only the locksmith can cut the key since he will have the only code and blank). Breaking the only window on the first floor wouldn't really be a option. Since it is in a gated community with armed security guards. And our houses are within close proximity of each other. So you can see the window and hear the glass break. The Front door would be the best option to get through without being seen or heard easily. So that is where I want a good high security lock set. They installed Kwickset locks when they built it. I hate builder grade stuff.


pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3

3 recommendations

reply to JimTrail

Good grief. It's an apartment. Have you contacted the management company or maintenance department? They were probably in there changing furnace filters or something.

What has led to the level of paranoia that compelled you to tape a string to your door? Does this door lead to a common area or outside? If outside, any number of small animals, particularly cats, could have molested the thread.

said by Beezel:

I am going to get a set from a local locksmith, which has extra security features so it can't be "bumped" or picked easily (but only the locksmith can cut the key since he will have the only code and blank).

How do you know the locksmith isn't a criminal? Highly unlikely, but entirely possible. Everyone has a price. My point is that home security is all about making your home less desirable to thieves rather than trying to make it burglar-proof. Criminals will generally take the path of least resistance (ie the easiest target). Home security budgets are much better spent on effective deterrents than high-security locks or overly complex alarm systems. Houses are inherently insecure. If someone is targeting your home specifically, they will get in no matter what.


dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to Blackbird

First thing i do when flipping a house is change all the locks with better qualiy locks.
--
Despises any post with strings.



dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to pike

Unless its an emergency, management / landlord should give advance notice to the tennant they're going to use their passkey to enter your home to perform whatever task.
--
Despises any post with strings.



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3

said by dvd536:

should give advance notice

And as anyone who has ever lived in an apartment can tell you, this doesn't always happen.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to JimTrail

said by JimTrail:

I would appreciate any insight.

I rented an apartment where the landlord changed the cylinder when a new tenant moved in. He did not allow tenants to change locks because the building had a master key system. I thought I lived in a bus station waiting room because of so many regular visits by service personnel. The maintenance man replaced the AC filter on a regular basis when I was not home. The exterminator treated the apartment on a regular basis when I was not home. The AC service company technician came into the apartment annually to check the AC under the landlords maintenance contract whether I was home or not. The landlord gave notice of a pending visit by service personnel the day before by placing a sign by the mailboxes. I installed a key in knob lock on the door of a large walk in closet in the master bedroom where I kept my tools and other valuables. I reinstalled the original passage lock when I moved out. Ask your landlord if your lock was changed when you moved in and if maintenance personnel enter your apartment on a regular basis when you are not home.


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to JimTrail

What was missing ?


iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to dvd536

said by dvd536:

Unless its an emergency, management / landlord should give advance notice to the tennant they're going to use their passkey to enter your home to perform whatever task.

yes, and in many(maybe all) states the landlord can get arrested for trespassing unless it's an emergency.


pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3

Do you have a citation for legislation in any jurisdiction making it a criminal offense for a landlord/manager to enter their own property?



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

said by pike:

Do you have a citation for legislation in any jurisdiction making it a criminal offense for a landlord/manager to enter their own property?

Are you kidding? There are dozens of them. Check out this inclusive listing:

»www.landlord.com/landlord_right_···tate.htm

Some states, notably Illinois, has *no* statute defining the landlord's right to entry of a tenant's property, which means the entry clause must be stipulated to and defined within the lease or rental agreement. Any entry without such stipulation in place is a violation of criminal law, specifically Criminal Trespass to a Residence.

That is a misdemeanor if the apartment or property is unoccupied, and a felony of the tenant is home.

(720 ILCS 5/19-4) (from Ch. 38, par. 19-4)

JimTrail

join:2009-11-21
Knoxville, TN

1 edit
reply to JimTrail

Removed.



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

said by JimTrail:

Of course, I am considering moving

Bingo


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to JimTrail

You are one of the most speculative people I've seen in quite a while....


Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to pike

said by pike:

How do you know the locksmith isn't a criminal? Highly unlikely, but entirely possible. Everyone has a price.

]

I use a PO. Box on my ID for certain things, so people won't know where I live. Even if they break in my car for info, it still goes to a PO. box.

JimTrail

join:2009-11-21
Knoxville, TN
reply to Hall

Then you must know a lot of naive people.

[Never-the-less, I do appreciate the perspective. It's possible you could be right.]


peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Ormond Beach, FL
reply to Hall

said by Hall:

You are one of the most speculative people I've seen in quite a while....



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3
reply to mattmag

The site you linked to says

quote:
Entry without consent

Yes, provided reasonable notice of time and place given or landlord reasonably believes tenant has abandoned premises.
720 ILCS 5 defines and sets penalties for burglary and doesn't seem to have anything to do with landlord/tenant law.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



Exactly. Reasonable notice has to be given, the landlord may not just proceed in whenever they wish. There are no special exceptions for landlords in either criminal trespass or burglary.

Landlord/tenant law in and by itself is civil law. You asked about criminal violation, and it does exist in nearly every state.



TheTechGuru

join:2004-03-25
TEXAS
kudos:2
Reviews:
·HughesNet Satell..
·WesTex Connect
reply to JimTrail

Any big box store deadbolt is pretty easy to pick or bump.

I would suggest investing in a Mul-T-Lock deadbolt.

»www.mul-t-lock-online.com/store/···ory_id=6
--
CompTIA Network+ Certified



TheTechGuru

join:2004-03-25
TEXAS
kudos:2
Reviews:
·HughesNet Satell..
·WesTex Connect

3 edits
reply to pike

said by pike:

How do you know the locksmith isn't a criminal? Highly unlikely, but entirely possible. Everyone has a price. My point is that home security is all about making your home less desirable to thieves rather than trying to make it burglar-proof. Criminals will generally take the path of least resistance (ie the easiest target). Home security budgets are much better spent on effective deterrents than high-security locks or overly complex alarm systems. Houses are inherently insecure. If someone is targeting your home specifically, they will get in no matter what.

The key is to make it difficult enough to get in that you would know if someone broke in.

Using easy to bypass locks will ensure you'll never know if someone has been in (unless you do the OP's string thing, there is also a paperclip method used by Hawkins in the TV show Jericho).

You need good enough locks that one would have to actually break something to get in that they will not be able to fix as it was before they broke it before leaving.

--
CompTIA Network+ Certified


IowaCowboy
Want to go back to Iowa
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
reply to Mr Matt

Here in Massachusetts you have the right to quiet use and enjoyment of your apartment. They can only enter with reasonable notice to make repairs or to show the apartment. Reasonable notice is 24 hour notice. But excessive entry can (like you describe) can be interpreted by the housing courts to be a breach of quiet use and enjoyment. They cannot enter during inconvenient times either.



EGeezer
Go Cats
Premium
join:2002-08-04
Midwest
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to JimTrail

Did you ask the property management if any of their people or contracted servicers had entered the unit for any reason?

I didn't see that information in your responses.
--
»www.flickr.com/photos/egeezer/


easonin
Rock Ridge, FL

join:2008-07-08
reply to mackey

Care to share the brand you use?



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to iknow_t

"yes, and in many(maybe all) states the landlord can get arrested for trespassing unless it's an emergency."

It depends on what's in the lease. When I was a landlord our leases spelled out when and why we could enter a suite and it was not just for an emergency. We could enter for things like changing filters, turning on heat when the temp got below freezing, to access remote water shut offs, etc. We didn't write our own leases we had a top real estate attorney in our area write them.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.