You might have already changed the locks on your vacation property to keyless entry pads, enjoying all the benefits for yourself and your renters that this convenient solution provides. If not, this is definitely something to consider. This post will discuss pros and cons, and some points to consider.
Even though there are areas where securing the home isn’t critical (one commenter online stated that at her house in rural Normandy the key can still be found under the geranium pot!), in most cases you as an owner want to provide secure access as well as convenient transfer of the key or entry method.
For that reason, keyless entry pads have become popular. They provide convenient, easy and immediate transfer of the “key” (=code) to the renter via email, txt or phone. Renters with multiple people staying at the property do not have to worry about keys and managing “coming and going” at different times during their stay. As an owner, you can change the code when you see the need, and frequent changes can prevent any unauthorized entry. Your handyman or housekeeper can have their own codes. This system is especially efficient if you do not live near the property and cannot greet each renter.
Newer systems can now even be set up and modified via a smart phone or website, giving the owner complete control over the code generation, keeping unwanted individual out, making sure previous renters cannot enter and getting notifications when codes are entered. Some also use time-sensitive codes, meaning you can program the codes so that they only work until checkout time (e.g. noon) and not after (e.g. 12:01pm). Remote controlled systems are available from Schlage, Kaba or ResortLock. This review evaluates the newest technologies in keyless door entry systems.
Keyless entry pad do need batteries, and making sure those are always working is a disadvantage over traditional keys. However, with clear rules for the housekeeping staff or yourself as an owner (e.g. change batteries once a month) this can easily be managed. Newer systems boast longer battery lives; however, different systems have different averages. For example, for my own keyless entry pad, controlled by rechargeable batteries, that is used about 4-5 times per day on average, I find that batteries last about 4 months.
Battery life is also affected by the type of system you are using. A system such as the Schlage entry uses the code to engage the handle but doesn’t move the deadbolt. This uses less battery power and avoids problems with the deadbolt not lining up perfectly or not going into the doorframe properly. Systems such as the Kwikset, on the other hand, move the deadbolt and tend to drain the battery faster.
Some users have reported fast corrosion of keyless entry pads in coastal environments but that doesn’t seem to be confirmed across the board. In addition, make sure to research if there are any monthly or annual fees for the system you chose. Those costs can quickly add up.
Sometimes, if your unit is in a complex, the building security requires key access. In that case, you can arrange for a lock box outside of your unit, and then share the combination on the lock box with your guests. Make sure you label the lock box with your unit number if there are more lock boxes in the area. Also, if your unit still works key-based, make sure to leave more than one key so that occupants doing different activities can each have key access upon return. However, overall the keyless entry solution offers many advantages over the key-based ones.
Do you want to share your own experiences with keyless entry pads to your vacation rental?