Residents Sue Landlord Over New Smart Locks


Good read.


When Latch first came out, I said to myself that this is a solution looking for a problem. It's one thing to have smart locks on your own residence (and a key as a backup), but if I were looking to get an apartment and all they offered were Latch anywhere in the building, I'd run the other way.


I just read that article a few hours ago. I'm with the residents on this one - it definitely looks like a tactic to get rid of old and/or low rent renters.


I disagree. You can see in the article that they also provide cards or fobs for access. How is this any different than a key? They've been used as standard practice for buildings for years without complaint. In fact, using a key-fob for entrance to the building is a lot safer and cheaper than a key because it provides an easy way to disable access when renters move out or lose their fobs. If a tenant loses their key to the front door, that would mean the landlord would have to change the lock to the front door and provide all new keys to the tenants. That's really expensive.


Doesn't really matter if we agree or disagree, the law says you can not change the renters agreement after establishment - and that includes changing building access means.

They will lose this lawsuit. There is already precedent for this set in other cases.


All depends on how the lease is written. If the lease allows for upgrades to building equipment with such and such a period of notification, then they can.


Not in New York...


I live in New York. The article, and you, keep focusing on this being smartphone only, which i agree would be silly, but if they replace keys with key-fobs, then what's the issue?



I talked to a good friend of mine on this topic that happens to be a contract lawyer in Manhattan, and a landlord.

He assures me that change of technology to a key fob or NFC or key card is NOT viewed as equivalent technology in New York, and there are multiple cases in New York where landlords were sued for this, lost, and had to put keyed access back in.

But whatever. It isn't my problem, so I have no skin in the game on this one. I don't know any more than I've been told - and am NOT a lawyer. :smile:

In fact I have quite a disdain for lawyers in general, as I remind my friends regularly (in a joking way, of course). lol


You said you agreed with the residents which I don't understand. An elderly person would be able to wave a keycard in front of the scanner instead of having to get a key into a keyhole and then turn it, turn it back and remove it. To me, the first sounds a lot easier for an elderly person than a key does. And how would a keycard be any hindrance to a low-rent renter? They don't have to buy them. They landlord provides them.

  1. I think that mandatory application of new technology is (potentially - for a court to decide) exclusionary and discriminatory to elderly people.

  2. This particular technology allows for tracking and monitoring that is a change from existing building access and monitoring. Not the same to me as installing a security camera in a common area, for example.

If I lived in the building, I would sue based on #2... But that's me. I only use a key card at work on protest (and want to keep getting paid) :smile:.

Whether a key card is reasonable and an equivalent technology to a physical key is up to a court.


Americans and their laws... lol
In fact anywhere else the question would be if the privacy rights would be superior to security roghts.
What would be the greater good? Is the new system more secure too renters in what why the new systen affecta the right to privacy? Is there measures in place to mitigate the impacts of the new system?

From what i read thd system is more secure,
There is 3 methods of access, card, fob, smartphone
There is a mitigation in place where renters can ask to not have their systdm access logged.

Ir will be a very tight case i would think.


By a group that already is not following the requirements of the housing authority auditors, and is getting fined... No thanks.

Not as tight/obvious a case to me.


I would rather have them track my key-ins than have a camera in place. Because a camera would track who was with me and what i was wearing and what i was carrying....a log is just a list of times you came in. it doesn't even track when you leave. And security cameras are 100% legal and the renter has zero recourse to get them removed. so, logic has left this conversation.


This is a good write-up of some of the issues. The multi-family technology and processes aren't ready for prime-time yet IMO.


The core issue, which isn't even discussed in the article to me is that there are 2 primary reasons you'd want to put in access control for tenants.

One, track who and when people are coming and going. Privacy arguments here...

Two, keep others out, limit key sharing, subleasing, vagrancies, etc.

And then there is the third reason. Much easier to "change the locks" to kick out renters who don't pay on time. As a landlord, this is a time and money saver, probably pays for the system.

It is interesting... If you have been to Vegas lately, you'll notice a significant change in their elevators in most hotels, your hotel key is not required to use the elevator and it restricts you to only your floor.

There is an old play, called The Key Exchange, in which a newly dating couple makes it to that milestone of sharing keys to each other's apartment. Anyway, with these new smart control door systems, that play will now be a click through agreement, 2 forms of ID and a consent form. How romantic.


There's a flip side to that though Patrick. That also meant when you broke up with your ex who you've totally pissed off by cheating on them, they now have access to the front door of the building since they copied your key. Now that psycho is roaming around the halls at 2 in the morning muttering about how you're such a bad guy. Much easier to simply deactivate their access with the app, wouldn't you say?


Yes, didn't want to spoil the play


And I hope you know I meant "you" in the royal sense. Never would I think you would be such a cad (or have such poor choice in who you give your keys to). :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:


I was just an actor in the play...