What Safety Features Must You Provide to Tenants?

In some states, you must provide dead-bolt locks on the main exterior doors (except for sliding doors), existing common area doors and gates, and certain windows. The law in these cases requires:

  • A dead-bolt lock that is at least thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long for each main entrance door. The thumb-turn lock installed on or before July 1, 1998 will meet the requirements (but every time you repair or replace the lock, you must install a dead-bolt thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long). If you use other locking mechanisms, they must be inspected and approved by State or local government agencies to ensure they meet legal requirements.

  • Locks that comply with State or local fire and safety codes in existing doors or gates that connect common areas (such as lobbies, patios, and walkways) to rental units or an area beyond the property (such as a main front door).

  • Window locks on louvered and casement windows. Prefabricated windows with their own opening and locking mechanisms are exempt, as are those that are more than 12 feet above the ground. However, a window that is more than 12 feet from the ground (but less than six feet from a roof or any other platform) must have a lock.