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Old 16.01.2020, 13:37
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Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

Hi Guys,

We got broken into our rental house about a month ago while we were overseas. We got many items stollen but no damage to property.

On the day, we called police that brought detective to do the investigation. It took few hours but the process was smooth. They even called "emergency" locksmith to replace the main lock. We are in canton of Fribourg.

Next day we followed up with real state to update them about what happen and asked them to replace the other locks (same key as main) so we don't have to stay in property thief potentially have access to. As slack as they always are they didn't come back to us. Worried sick that thief can easily get in since he could copied the key (free keys were next to the door). We called lock smith and asked him to replace all the other locks linked to one key. (linked to one key because that's how it was previously)

After I followed up with insurance and claimed damages. They were very helpful and everything went well. Although, they told me they will not cover replacement of locks as it supposed to be covered by owner. They told me to follow up with real state.

I forward real state the invoice from the locksmith and they now pushing back that they'll not cover replacement of the other locks. They will only cover the main lock that was replaced when the police came. The other locks has to be covered by us because we went ahead with replacement. Really?

So we were supposed to stay in the house (thief has potentially access to) for few days and wait until our real state decide to fix the lock? Am I really supposed to pay?

---

I don't have much trust in our real estate as we had numerous issues already such us:
- replacement of our kitchen fridge toke them almost a MONTH
- we had owner coming to our property unannounced (we didn't report it)
- other small requests can take easily few weeks to get done
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Old 16.01.2020, 13:45
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

Put the old locks back when you move out and inform your successor that there is a burglar who has the key but that the landlord refuses to pay for replacements.
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Old 16.01.2020, 13:50
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Put the old locks back when you move out and inform your successor that there is a burglar who has the key but that the landlord refuses to pay for replacements.
What gives you the impression that any of the keys got stolen?
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Old 16.01.2020, 14:31
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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What gives you the impression that any of the keys got stolen?
Well I mean I don't know but there was nothing to stop them making the copy. The spare keys were next to the main door.
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Old 16.01.2020, 14:51
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Well I mean I don't know but there was nothing to stop them making the copy. The spare keys were next to the main door.
Not that easy to copy a key in Switzerland.

In fact most standard issue front-door keys cannot be copied on the fly by a locksmith or key cutting service but you need to order spare keys directly from the manufacturer, for which you need to prove you actually own the property.

So i wouldn't worry about that.
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Old 16.01.2020, 15:40
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Not that easy to copy a key in Switzerland
Not in Switzerland or if you have an unscrupulous friend which is also a lock smith. For some keys all you need is one or two photos to cut a copy.
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Old 16.01.2020, 14:56
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Well I mean I don't know but there was nothing to stop them making the copy. The spare keys were next to the main door.
Were they stolen?

Tom
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Old 16.01.2020, 15:01
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

Just a simple question: Did you follow the proper, rental court accepted, procedure to get something fixed in the apartment?
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Old 18.01.2020, 18:06
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Well I mean I don't know but there was nothing to stop them making the copy. The spare keys were next to the main door.

Even if there was a way of making copies, do you think the burglar would have had the time to take the key to a locksmith, get a copy made and return the original to your house? And if so, why take the risk of returning to the house that he had burgled previously?
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Old 18.01.2020, 18:30
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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... why [would a burglar] take the risk of returning to the house that he had burgled previously?
Because of the household insurance, and even without it, those whose goods have been stolen often go out and buy nice shiny new ones.
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Old 18.01.2020, 18:43
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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And if so, why take the risk of returning to the house that he had burgled previously?
The Dutch had a research into this in 2017, they looked at 300.000 burglary of Burglary/thefts from private households, 4% of the burglary reports were for a house which had also seen a burglary in the 12 months upfront.

There are diff reasons to come back.

- People replaced their stolen goods with new stuff (when we got robbed we went on a shopping spree afterwards, new tv's, new laptops, new camera etc..
- They did see stuff that they did not take along but they want it this time, they either found out it is worth money or they simply could not carry it at first, or somebody now offered them money for it.
- They know the building.

So yes it happens.

But copying a key and hanging it back in another burglary days later would be a first for me to hear about.
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Old 16.01.2020, 13:45
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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---

I don't have much trust in our real estate as we had numerous issues already such us:
- replacement of our kitchen fridge toke them almost a MONTH
- we had owner coming to our property unannounced (we didn't report it)
- other small requests can take easily few weeks to get done
So sorry to hear, how frightening!

I don't know who is responsible from a legal standpoint. But I can attest that the above is completely normal from all properties I've rented in Switzerland. They don't want to pay for anything...and if they do, they take their sweet time to do it. Good luck!
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Old 16.01.2020, 13:58
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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So sorry to hear, how frightening!

I don't know who is responsible from a legal standpoint. But I can attest that the above is completely normal from all properties I've rented in Switzerland. They don't want to pay for anything...and if they do, they take their sweet time to do it. Good luck!
We had our storage places vandalised and the landlord payed for every damage caused for each apartment - door locks etc. They made all the repairs on the same day, right after someone called them. (yes, the police too came but don't know if it's relevant)

On the other hand when we had something like fridge, dishwasher etc to be repaired or replaced....they took their time..
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Old 16.01.2020, 13:46
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

Each pays for their own damage, damage to the building is thus the problem of the landlord. So if the main lock was broken it is on the landlord to repair this.

As for replacing your other locks, if you still had all the keys after the burglary there was no need to replace the other locks, and since you gave the order to do so this bill is for you.
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Old 16.01.2020, 14:28
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Each pays for their own damage, damage to the building is thus the problem of the landlord. So if the main lock was broken it is on the landlord to repair this.

As for replacing your other locks, if you still had all the keys after the burglary there was no need to replace the other locks, and since you gave the order to do so this bill is for you.
Just to be clear, the other locks that were replaced was from the garage and side entry to the house. It's still part of the property. It wasn't my lock. We had one key that open main door, garage and side door. So there is a difference between main door and side door?
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Old 16.01.2020, 14:42
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Just to be clear, the other locks that were replaced was from the garage and side entry to the house. It's still part of the property. It wasn't my lock. We had one key that open main door, garage and side door. So there is a difference between main door and side door?
No, property is property wether it be a toilet seat or a window or a side-door or whatever got damaged by the burglar(s)

Since no keys are missing your landlord does not feel the need to replace all the locks and I can understand that. You however decided that they must be replaced and gave the order yourself, I can also understand this, but more from an emotional point of view than a practical point of view. Your landlord however does not have to pay for your emotions.

Our home has been fully open to all who pleased for some days due to a smashed window and by the burglars fully opened blinds and doors on the back, a truckload was missing and the whole place was a huge mess, but we still had all the keys of which some had been laying in the house, and yes we still have the same locks.

Had you or I had missing keys after this than it would have been a different story.
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Old 16.01.2020, 15:45
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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We called lock smith and asked him to replace all the other locks linked to one key....... The other locks has to be covered by us because we went ahead with replacement. Really?
Sadly, the landlord seems to be profiting from he rule that no change can be done to the property can be done without written approval. Thus, if you called the locksmith, you pay. There's ill-intention in the actions of the landlord, but seems to be legal.

I went to a scare like this once. One morning my wife called me to work because the kitchen faucet became a little fountain. Fortunately, all the leaking water was falling on the sink and not the floor. I tried for an hour to call the landlord to ask him if he knew a plumber to fix the issue, no results. Then I called a plumber I found on internet and by the end of the day the large leak was fixed.

Next morning I called the landlord and explained that a plumber came, replaced a faucet, etc. First thing he told me is that I had not right to a reimbursement because I contacted the plumber without his approval. To my luck, he knew and trusted the plumber and verified my story with him. In the end he agreed to pay the repair but warning once again that if repairs were explicitly ordered by him...I pay. If a window is broken, no electricity, or whatever, I should contact him and wait.

The challenge here is that when we have a problem, such as a robbery or a water leak that may flood the apartment and ruin the wooden floor, our minds are not available to think about the typical contract rules.
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Old 16.01.2020, 15:53
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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...our minds are not available to think about the typical contract rules.
Spot on, I agree I might have made rushed decision and maybe I should have waited for few days and figure how to block the garage and side entry door from inside....but it felt as crazy idea. I'm not expert on locks so I didn't really think about process of how copying of keys works
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Old 16.01.2020, 15:53
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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Sadly, the landlord seems to be profiting from he rule that no change can be done to the property can be done without written approval. Thus, if you called the locksmith, you pay. There's ill-intention in the actions of the landlord, but seems to be legal.

I went to a scare like this once. One morning my wife called me to work because the kitchen faucet became a little fountain. Fortunately, all the leaking water was falling on the sink and not the floor. I tried for an hour to call the landlord to ask him if he knew a plumber to fix the issue, no results. Then I called a plumber I found on internet and by the end of the day the large leak was fixed.

Next morning I called the landlord and explained that a plumber came, replaced a faucet, etc. First thing he told me is that I had not right to a reimbursement because I contacted the plumber without his approval. To my luck, he knew and trusted the plumber and verified my story with him. In the end he agreed to pay the repair but warning once again that if repairs were explicitly ordered by him...I pay. If a window is broken, no electricity, or whatever, I should contact him and wait.

The challenge here is that when we have a problem, such as a robbery or a water leak that may flood the apartment and ruin the wooden floor, our minds are not available to think about the typical contract rules.
Immediate emergencies are different, I can even call in services for the neighbours if water is coming out under their door if I can't get hold of the landlord, and the bill is theirs.

As for the faucet, if you could have closed the water supply no emergency, in other cases emergency.
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Old 16.01.2020, 16:02
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Re: Robbery in Rental property: Who pays for the replacement of locks?

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I went to a scare like this once. One morning my wife called me to work because the kitchen faucet became a little fountain. Fortunately, all the leaking water was falling on the sink and not the floor. I tried for an hour to call the landlord to ask him if he knew a plumber to fix the issue, no results. Then I called a plumber I found on internet and by the end of the day the large leak was fixed.

Next morning I called the landlord and explained that a plumber came, replaced a faucet, etc. First thing he told me is that I had not right to a reimbursement because I contacted the plumber without his approval. To my luck, he knew and trusted the plumber and verified my story with him. In the end he agreed to pay the repair but warning once again that if repairs were explicitly ordered by him...I pay. If a window is broken, no electricity, or whatever, I should contact him and wait.

The challenge here is that when we have a problem, such as a robbery or a water leak that may flood the apartment and ruin the wooden floor, our minds are not available to think about the typical contract rules.
The way of thinking here does amuse me.

I once rented a property in the U.K. and the landlady, who lived in London, told me I was the best tenant she had ever had in any of her properties.

The reason was when anything broke, I'd phone up the local plumber, electrician etc and get it fixed and then sent her the bills.

She thought this was much better than her having to waste her time finding a plumber/electrician etc then arranging an appointment that would also suit me, and then getting back to the plumber....and so on.

Time is money and landlords here obviously have too much spare time on their hands.
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