Northern Territory Security and Locks

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 locks (and other security devices) at the premises to make it reasonably secure. 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?

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.

The consent of the other party is needed before adding, removing, or altering any locks at the rented premises.

Can the landlord or tenant change a lock without the other party’s consent?

In most situations, the locks should only be changed if the other party consents. There are some exceptional circumstances, however, where the locks can be changed without prior consent if the landlord or tenant has a ‘reasonable excuse.’

There is no set list of circumstances that constitute a ‘reasonable excuse,’ however they may include:

  • if the premises has become insecure because of damage
  • if the safety of the tenant(s) is compromised because another person has a key (e.g. domestic violence)

Must give new key to other party

If either the landlord or tenant adds or alters a lock (or other security device), they must give the other party the new key.

Depending on who is changing the locks, the new key must be given to the other party within a certain period:

  • Landlord changes lock
    • WITH tenant’s consent—give new key to the tenant immediately
    • WITHOUT tenant’s consent—give new key to the tenant as soon as possible
  • Tenant changes lock
    • WITH landlord’s consent—give new key to the landlord within 2 business days
    • WITHOUT landlord’s consent—give new key to the landlord as soon as possible

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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.