Can My Landlord Put Locks in My Apartment That I Can’t Open?

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Q: I am renting a condo in a large Manhattan building. The bedrooms and one of the closets have deadbolt locks that can only be locked or unlocked with a key from the outside. The landlord will not give us keys to the locks. This seems like a serious safety issue, especially if there are children living in the apartment. Are these types of locks allowed on bedroom doors? If so, is the landlord required to provide us with a key to each lock? She has also suggested that if we want these locks removed, we will have to pay for that.

A: A bedroom door cannot have a lock that requires a key to use it, as that would be a violation of the city’s building code. Moreover, it is illegal to obstruct a fire escape or fire exit, so if any of the bedrooms have a fire escape, these locks also violate fire rules.

It’s absurd that the landlord refuses to give you the keys, but really, the locks shouldn’t be there at all. A child could certainly lock the deadbolt and…

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