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Key Fobs for Friends

Key Fobs for Friends

I live alone and my best friend has always had a set of my keys, in case of an emergency. Recently, my landlord replaced the locks on our building’s front entrance doors with an electronic keyless entry system, and willdistribute the key fobs that operate it only to occupants. So my friend no longer has a spare. Is this legal? I feel it compromises my safety.

Chelsea, Manhattan

Entrusting a pal with your keys to make sure the coffee pot was shut off is a hallmark of a close friendship. From your vantage point, the gesture provides you with an added layer of security. But for your landlord, it does just the opposite.

The lock on the building door is how landlords keep out people who should not be in the building. This is why many buildings replace traditional keys with electronic alternatives.

“If everyone got an extra key fob to give to someone, it would defeat the entire purpose,” said Brian McLaughlin, the president of the SecureCom Group, which installs security systems.

While your landlord is required to provide keys to all the occupants of an apartment, he does not have to offer you a spare, said Jamie Schare Friedland, a Manhattan landlord-tenant lawyer. If you trust a neighbor who lives in the building, you could give a key to your apartment to that person for emergencies.

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