It is surprising that in the State of California there are few existing state laws mandating the rekeying of the locks on residential rental properties each time a new tenant moves in. Although, some local municipalities require the landlord to do so, it appears to be the exception and pertains only to residential rental units. This revelation seems to ignore a common sense approach towards increasing the safety of the occupants and the securing of their belongings.
What does California State law currently require? The law, specifically California Civil Code Section 1941.1, addresses the necessity for the main entrance to every rental home to have an operable deadbolt lock and all windows to be securable. Under the “Habitability Obligation” all landlords must ensure that the property to be rented does not expose the tenant to preventable harm. Since, most rental properties do not utilize restricted keys, it is not possible to determine whether a former tenant does not still possess a key copy to the vacated rental property.
Thus, the only way to eliminate this obvious security lapse is to re key the lock(s) to a different key. The cost to do so is nominal when compared to the liability.