Landlord Who Switches Lock System Must Give Tenants Free Keycards
LVT Number: #24646
Landlord asked the DHCR for permission to replace the existing standard locking system for the front entrance of a rent-stabilized building with a keyless electronic lock system. The DRA ruled for landlord, on the condition that landlord provide unlimited free keycards to all tenants and lawful occupants, plus four additional free keycards. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord argued that this requirement negated the increase in security that landlord sought to provide by changing the building entry access system. But DHCR policy and practice justified the DRA's decision. Tenants couldn't copy keycards on their own, as they could metal keys at a relatively low cost. Security was enhanced by the fact that reproduction, provision, and proper possession of keycards was under landlord's exclusive control, which wasn't true of traditional metal keys. It was also reasonable that each lawful apartment occupant should receive a free keycard. The DRA's decision didn't require landlord to supply four additional keycards without a tenant's demonstrated need for extra copies for employees or guests. The DRA also provided that landlord could charge up to $25 for each lost or stolen card.
135-30 Grand Central Parkway: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. YC110028RO (1/18/13) [3-pg. doc.]