How much does it cost to change the locks in a property?

by | Dec 1, 2022

Home $ Property Management $ Work With Private Landlords No Agents $ How much does it cost to change the locks in a property?


As tenants move in and out of properties, it is important you change the locks on the doors to make sure tenants don’t still have access to a property and that a landlord can comfortably let out their property to a new tenant. As a result, it is important for a landlord to consider the costs of this procedure as they may have to do it often and keep this cost to a minimum while not cutting any corners.

How much does a locksmith charge in 2023?

Typically, for a locksmith to change the locks on a door, including all the parts of the lock you will be charged around £100. This will depend on the type of lock and the quality of it along with the brand. Also, some locksmiths will charge you for any changes you want to make to the lock in a certain period like a warranty. This means you can be confident in the lock for a long time to come.

A lock that needs repairing

What does a locksmith typically charge to unlock a house?

Sometimes, a tenant loses their keys and if the landlord has misplaced their keys too or they cannot get the spare set of keys to the tenant in time, the door may need to be unlocked. The price to do this would be less than replacing the entire lock but could typically be around £70 and take half an hour to an hour.

Prices may vary depending on if the locksmith will charge you to replace the lock of the door as it may become ruined. Also, there may be costs to replace the keys that could have become stuck in the lock too. This is another common reason for a locksmith to be called to unlock a house.

Locksmith cost calculator

When calculating the price you would have to pay as a landlord conducting works on the doors of your property, using a locksmith calculator can be useful. This will take away the guesswork surrounding pricing. For example, if you have multiple doors that need fixing and multiple keys that need replacing, you could use a calculator to get an instant quote.

What are the average hourly rates for a locksmith?

If you know you need to have a locksmith come and do repairs on your property, you may just want to pay them by the hour. Typically, a locksmith will charge per project they have to do rather than per hour because there is usually a specific task they have to undertake. However, if you want to pay a locksmith by the hour they may charge in the region of £50.

If you go with a locksmith who will also charge you for the tools involved to carry out repairs, then a locksmith may be able to charge as little as £30 per hour. All in all, people who carry out repairs to do with the building of a property typically have to charge a bit more because they have a lot of overheads.

These can include the cost of running a vehicle, the cost of having all of the equipment and the cost of advertising their services. Having said this, if the professional isn’t self-employed and works for a larger company they may be able to charge lower rates as all these things may be covered by the business they work for.

What is an emergency locksmith?

Emergency locksmiths are called out for people who have an urgent issue that prevents them from gaining access to a property or leaving it. For example, if someone got their key stuck in the lock of a door or the lock got damaged and someone couldn’t open the door from the inside, an emergency locksmith could be called.

A key stuck in a lock that the landlord wonders what the cost is of repairing

Examples, where it isn’t an emergency, could be where a landlord needs the doors in a property replaced because they need to change the locks as a new tenant moves in. Something like this can be done over a longer time period.

Some landlords’ insurance will have locksmith cover in it. This means if a tenant damages the lock to a property or it just gives up due to wear and tear over time, the landlord won’t have to pay additional costs to make sure the property can continue to be used.

How much does an emergency locksmith cost?

Because emergency locksmiths have to be called out on an immediate basis, an emergency locksmith will typically charge a premium. Some will also have an emergency payment plan that can be paid off over time or in fact covered through the insurance a landlord has in places like home insurance or landlord’s insurance.

Hence, an emergency locksmith will usually charge around £100 per hour.

What is an out of hours locksmith?

An out of hours locksmith is the same as an emergency locksmith that operates any time of the day. You may still have to wait to receive the service from an out of hours locksmith but you should be able to get help before waiting for typical business hours.

For example, if someone gets clocked out of their property at 9pm in the evening, calling an out of hours emergency locksmith could be a good idea to regain access to a property maybe by 11pm so that they aren’t locked out of their house for the whole night.

How to change a lock on a door yourself

Sometimes, it may not be an emergency and you simply don’t see the value in paying a locksmith if you can do the same job they are going to do yourself. As a result, replacing the lock on the door or upgrading a lock can be done with some basic homemade tools and some spare time.

How to change a lock step by step

To change the lock on a door yourself, The first thing you need to do is identify the type of lock you have. It will be a sash lock or a deadlock but is more likely to be a deadlock because it only has a bolt. Either way, they are both installed similarly.

A lock that needs changing because it will not close

Measure how far back the locks are from the end of the door

First, measure how far back the lock is from the front of the door. This should be between 45mm and 55mm. If you have a measurement of 45mm this would mean you have to have to buy a 65mm lock and if you have a 55mm gap, this means you would have to buy a 75mm lock.

Sash locks have to be measured in a different way. For more on this click here for a guide.

Remove the faceplate of the lock

In order to do this, you will usually have to screw off the faceplate using a screwdriver. You may have to use an electric screwdriver if the face plate is particularly stiff.

From here, the old lock should come straight out of the door although it may be stiff and you may have to use a pair of pliers to grab the bolt that is sticking out of the door and pull it out.

Push the new lock into the door

Usually, if you have bought the correct lock, it would just be a matter of adding in the right lock to the door and adding back in the face plate. However, sometimes because the lock is too wide for the door you may have to chip away at the side of the door or make minor adjustments to the lock in order to fit it in.

Remove the bolt keeper plate

On the door frame, there should be a keeper plate that houses the bolt when the door is closed. In this step, it is necessary to remove this and replace it with the new plate that came with the new lock. In order to fit this incorrectly, measure where the bolt aligns with the new face plate by closing the door and marking it in pencil.

Next, you can use these markings to screw in the face plate and make sure the bolt fits in correctly when you close the door. It may be the case that the bolt doesn’t align very well and you have to keep readjusting it.

Because of this, it is advisable that you don’t screw in the face plate securely until you are happy with how the door is opening and closing. Once you have finished this step, there is nothing else to do and the door can be closed securely, the key can be used and the tenant can securely use the property again.

How to find the right locksmith

In order to find the right cost for a locksmith, it is necessary to take some precautions to make sure you find the right person for the job.

Make it clear what kind of services you need

Before making any negotiations. Know what you need before talking to the locksmith. It could be that the whole lock needs changing or the whole door needs changing. In addition, you may be able to strike a deal with a locksmith if you have multiple locks that need fixing. 

Allowing them the time to fix all of what you need on the same property for a reduced price but a larger payment overall for the locksmith because they don’t have to travel between jobs or find more work.

Get an estimate for the cost before you hire the locksmith

Everyone has been in a situation where they are shocked at the price of something before the service has been done. This is why you should get a locksmith to assess the lock or the part of the door that needs changing before you ask them to start work.

This way, they can tell you how much it is likely to cost. This is important particularly if you are a landlord who isn’t going to be overseeing the maintenance and there is perhaps a property manager who is conducting repairs on your behalf. This gives you clarity that the repairs will be conducted in the right manner while you’re not there.

A landlord calling to find out the cost of repairing a lock

Check out reviews from the locksmith

Reviews are some of the best ways to make sure that a locksmith is able to do their job well. Here you will be able to see if the work they do lasts a long time and if they are polite to work with or even if their costs align with the work they do.

It is recommended you check out these reviews before calling a locksmith or hiring them so you can disregard all the locksmiths with negative feedback overall.

In summary

To wrap things up, the price of a locksmith can vary quite a bit depending on what you’d want in a property. Also, it is without question that replacing the locks on a door, cutting keys and potentially replacing entire doors are all things you would have to do as an experienced landlord.

In order to make the best decision for the costs of replacing the locks on your doors, it is vital you shop around and compare different prices. It may be the case that you don’t need a well experienced locksmith and someone in training or with a few years of experience can do the trick just as well as someone who would charge you a lot more.

Finally, don’t be afraid to change a lock yourself as this is another way to save money in the maintenance of a property, especially if you know what you’re doing and you’re already struggling with costs in the beginning stages of your journey as a landlord.


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