ACT Security and Locks for the Rented Premises

The landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining the security of the premises. Generally, the consent of the other party is needed before the locks can be changed.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

Who is responsible for security and locks?

The landlord is under an obligation to provide and maintain the premises in a reasonably secure state. What this obligation involves will depend on the nature of the premises. Generally, however, landlords will need to do the following to make the premises reasonably secure:

  • ensure there are working locks on all ground floor windows and doors
  • ensure the premises cannot be easily accessed by a person intending to trespass (e.g. a burglar)
  • provide the necessary keys or similar devices to the tenant that allows them to access the premises

Security in share accommodation

If the agreement is for a room with access to shared facilities, the room should be secure and have its own locks. This may mean the landlord has to install locks or other security devices on internal doors or windows.

How can the locks be changed?

Except in the case of an emergency, the landlord or tenant can only change the locks with the consent of the other party. For example, if the tenant wishes to change the locks, they must gain the landlord’s agreement before doing do.

In the case of an emergency, the landlord for tenant can change the locks without the prior consent of the other party. An emergency situation can include:

  • if the locks have been damaged
  • if there is an imminent threat to a person in the premises because another person has a key
  • instances of domestic violence
  • if the premises has been damaged and requires new locks to secure it
  • any other situation where there is an imminent threat or danger posed to the premises

Obligation to give new keys to other party
If the landlord or tenant has changed the locks, they must give the other party a copy of the new key (or other security device) as soon as possible. This is especially important if the landlord has changed the locks as the tenant may not be able to access the premises.

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These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.