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Landlord not replacing building key

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Landlord not replacing building key

Postby tannerb » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:31 am

I lost my building key two weeks ago. Totally my fault. But I still don't have a replacement, and it's getting really frustrating. I told super immediately and was informed that price had gone up to $50 instead of $25. Fine, though there was no advance notice of this, it still didn't seem outrageous, I wanted the key and decided I'd pick my battles and not this one.

After the fourth day I'd mentioned it twice. Since then, I've texted and or emailed every day about getting the key. I've also sent three emails to the management office. And I get silence or "Yes, yes, I'll get it to you." And nothing.

I've tried a DIY solution and borrowed a building key from a neighbor and tried to find a hardware store that would copy it, but it's one of those "Do not duplicate" keys and all the local ones refused without the card.

I'm a single mom with a baby and a dog. It's really getting frustrating/unsafe. I've about worn out my welcome buzzing neighbors to let me in. Waiting in the cold with a baby is awful and I've had to pay a dog walker, because for the last walk at night, I would leave the baby sleeping in the crib and go right outside (live on first floor), with the baby monitor on and working and let the dog go to the bathroom just in front of the building for two min before going back in. Obviously I can't do that now, since I need to be able to get in immediately if she wakes. But my dog also can't make it the whole night from 7pm to when she wakes around 6 am.

A lot of detail and a long story to say, it really is both costly and frustrating. I'm willing to pay the replacement cost. Do I have any recourse if they don't give me a key? And after how long?
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby Cranky Tenant » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:38 am

If you have a resident super I would try ringing his bell every time you can't get in. Maybe that will motivate him to replace your key.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:45 am

Here's an idea I heard from a tenant in a similar jam. First see this old thread:
http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php? ... ey+covers+

Go to a local locksmith or Kmart and pick up a set of Key Covers. Put one on the borrowed key to cover the "Do Not Duplicate" indicator. Then try to get it duped at a different locksmith. I suspect you won't have a problem.

Understand the "Do Not Duplicate" stamp is put on at the request of the landlord and is not a law or anything that is required by statute. If you are able to make a dupe, then I would make several. Do not hand them out discriminately, but make enough that you'll have a spare if this happens again, and I would make a set or two to give to trusted neighbors in case you get locked out of your apartment.

I recommend do NOT pay such a ridiculous price for a replacement key from the LL. For outside keys you can be sure they have a drawer ful of them and the $50 is just profit, not the cost of getting a duplicate made. The idea for doing this is to avoid the blackmail from the LL, not to compromise security in your building.

BTW, new keys often need an amount of use to wear down the edges. New keys often stick as the duplicating process isn't perfect. I would use the new key (and have the old key with you) to wear down the new one. If after a week or so it doesn't work, then take it back to the locksmith and he can rework it. That usually helps. Also understand that dupes of dupes make it a bit more difficult - and may need a bit more wearing down.

If the super/LL sees you using the new key and ask about just say you found the original. Do not tell them you made a duplicate.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby tannerb » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:14 am

Thank you so much for the advice. A few notes: my super is actually normally great and super responsive. The new landlord however, is terrible. Our building is rent controlled, and without naming names, he's becoming notorious, having bought up a ton of rent regulated property on the UWS recently and has been accused of using very aggressive tactics to get current tenants to leave. I do wonder if he isn't exerted pressure on the super in this instance. Because really? My super's been around four years and normally is in the top 1% of supers I've ever come across. As in, has replaced appliances whenever anything is even a little wrong. All regular maintenance- does not live in the building, but always available for emergencies on the weekend. So not like him to act this way, and I wonder if he's been threatened with losing his job.

I don't know that any of that matters. Still have the current problem. The key is a multi-lock key with a blue top that says do not duplicate along the side of the key as well as on the blue cover. Know any key covers that work for that? Or is there a way of knowing which locksmiths/hardware stores are more likely to duplicate these keys? I could probably borrow a neighbor's again, just not for a long period- so I need to know where to go.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:54 am

First, there is no such thing as a "rent controlled building." There are units within buildings that may be subject to the RC or RS laws, or unregulated. Also, many tenants don't understand the difference between RC and RS, confusing the two. Unless you've lived in the unit since 1971, it's unlikely you're actually RC.

But all that's irrelevant on the key issue.

Wouldn't be a Croman building, would it? (you can answer by private mail). There are groups that are focusing on Croman.

I'm not familiar with Mul-T-locks, but found one here. It seems the key covers that cover regular keys might not work in this instance.

You could replace the entire lock cylinder with something using a generic key. Of course you should keep the Mul-T-lock cylindar in case the LL throws a fit.

I found one place on the net that duplicates these keys for $15 but it's in Brooklyn. Of course they might not with the Do Not Dupe mark. I would just keep trying.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby tannerb » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:15 pm

Thanks for the help. And I'll keep you all updated if it works out. The building status is weird and under dispute. It started out as rent controlled. There are a few tenants who still are. Then they took J-51 tax benefits making all apartments rent stabilized in the eighties. Though that period should have expired, none of the current tenants (including me) that signed the lease during the period when they were still receiving the tax abatement, were alerted that the rent stabilization period would expire when we signed our rent stabilized leases. I understand that means it should still apply to us. So we're currently fighting the landlord who's trying to kick us all out- alleging that the whole building is destabilized due to 1) expiration of the J-51 tax benefits and 2) substantial rehabilitation that took place in 1990, when the building was allegedly uninhabited and the whole thing was gutted and updated. Evidence for this happening is very scant.

I don't think their case is strong. But I'm sure it'll take forever to wend its way through court and in the meantime, we're also strongly considering a harassment suit.

Anyway, as you said, not related, but pretty interesting. Hopefully I get a replacement key soon.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby TenantNet » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:13 pm

Please read what I said above. There is no such thing as a RC building, or a RS building. J51 does not force RC tenants to become RS (even if the LL says so). Nevertheless, those tenants are probably better off being RS given the huge increases given to RC tenants.

If you were RC or RS before the LL took J51 benefits, its expiration should not destabilize your units. Buildings receiving J51 benefits can have the units deregulated if the units were stabilized only because of the receipt of the J51 benefits. This usually occurs when a building was constructed post-1974 or is less than 6 units. In such cases, each lease must have the notice included.

See http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/FactSheets/orafac41.pdf

If you haven't already, you should consult with a good tenant attorney who knows this stuff. It looks like the LL is railroading you, but that the tenants don't have a grip on what's really happening.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:07 am

TenantNet wrote:You could replace the entire lock cylinder with something using a generic key. Of course you should keep the Mul-T-lock cylindar in case the LL throws a fit.


I really doubt that the other tenants of the building would appreciate it if one tenant changed the cylinder on the building's front door, locking everyone else out.

TenantNet wrote:I found one place on the net that duplicates these keys for $15 but it's in Brooklyn. Of course they might not with the Do Not Dupe mark. I would just keep trying.


Each MulTLock cylinder comes with a card with a code number. In theory, only locksmiths who are authorized by MulTLock can get the blanks and machine necessary to duplicate the keys, and they aren't supposed to make duplicates without being provided the card with the code key (with the penalty of losing their contract with MulTLock if they get caught). In practice, a lot of locksmiths will happily duplicate a MulTLock key with no questions asked.

I've used the vendor you mentioned, and gotten excellent customer service with them, but they definitely fall into the "won't duplicate without the key card" category.
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Re: Landlord not replacing building key

Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:13 am

Sorry, I was thinking it was the tenant's own door when I wrote that, not the building's door.
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