Can’t find your keys? Have you had your bag stolen and your keys with it? It can happen to anyone and it is a a lot of stress and a waste of time having to get new keys and all the locks changed.

Maybe you don’t have to rekey your house? Do you have to pay all the costs of changing your keys and locks? In this article we answer all the questions you may have about changing locks or duplicate keys.

Keys in lock

When to change your locks?

Lost or stolen keys, how to proceed?

What to do if you lose a key?

You are a tenant and have just lost one of your keys, it’s annoying but it happens. Before you panic, your key may not be lost forever. You can always try to contact the lost property department of your town.

Good to know:

  • Geneva has a facebook page “Service des affaires mobilières de la police – objets trouvés” where every 10 days a publication is published mentioning all the keys found.
  • The city of Zurich has a lost property website where you can make a request.

If your keys are not found, you are responsible and must make a duplicate key at your own expense. Inform your landlord or housing association of the situation. Your housing association might already work with a locksmith partner, which simplifies things.

Be careful not to make duplicate keys that do not meet the standards required by your housing authority. For example, if you have duplicate keys made abroad: the keys may be different and may not be accepted when your flat is inspected.

Moreover, if you have lost your keys with your address or identity papers, it would be more prudent to change the locks and have new keys made.

Your keys have been stolen, what should you do?

Unfortunately, having your handbag snatched, your car vandalized or your keys stolen, can hapen. In some situations, the initial shock can be disorientating. However, the first thing to do is to make a statement to the police. This statement will be necessary proof for your insurance.

If your keys have been stolen without your papers, you can go and make a duplicate key. On the other hand, if your keys have been stolen with your papers, all the locks and keys must be renewed to avoid any risk of burglary.

A new cylinder can then be installed in your home. It is possible that your management will have a keyless cylinder installed. With this system, you still need a key to enter your home but not to leave. This way, if a fire breaks out, you don’t have to look for your keys to evacuate your flat. In any case, invest a few dozen francs in a smoke detector.

Who is responsible for changing the lock or rekeying?

The tenant’s responsibility

In the case of a loss or theft of a tenant’s key, the tenant is responsible for changing the locks and if necessary, for making a spare key. However, is it the tenant’s responsibility to pay the full cost?

In the case of a loss of keys, there is little chance that your household insurance will pay the costs. In this case, it is up to the tenant to do the necessary work at his own expense.

If your keys are stolen, however, the costs of making new keys and fitting new locks do not have to be borne solely by the tenant.

Taking out household insurance

One of the first things to do when your keys are stolen is to contact your household insurance company for information on the procedures and conditions.

  • Is there a limit of expenses? Some insurances cover the replacement of keys and locks up to CHF 1,000 and the rest of the costs must be paid by the tenant.
  • Is there an excess in expenses? Some insurances do not include an excess, others, on the other hand, require an excess from the client.
  • Are there any deadlines? If your keys were stolen a few weeks ago, it may be too late to report the theft to your insurance company. Ask your insurance company for information on the conditions to be met in order to be properly covered.

The owner’s responsibility

In some cases, the owner may have to pay for a portion of the lock replacement. This is because locks have a lifespan of about 20 years, which means that if the locks are already worn out, they are partly depreciated.

To be more precise, if the lock has a life span of 20 years and the age of the lock is 10 years, in effect the tenant will have to pay half of the replacement costs and the landlord will have to pay the other half.

Discuss this with your management or landlord.

Your inventory of fixtures is approaching and you are missing a key?

Don’t panic, contact your management or landlord and tell them that you are missing a key. If the key was lost a long time ago, the real estate agency will probably decide to make a new key at your expense within a few days.

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