Handing out spare keys to select individuals can be tremendously helpful in certain events. Sometimes, something needs to be done inside of your home, when you just can’t personally be there. And when this happens, you’ll be so glad that one family member or friend is able to get inside. Giving spare keys to nobody would be a mistake, but you also don’t want to become too generous.
Now sure who to trust? Here are the people who should have a spare key to your home, apartment or condo, and those who shouldn’t.
Should: Your neighbor whom you trust
Once you’ve established a relationship with a neighbor whom you trust, give this neighbor a spare key. Just to be clear, establishing a relationship means going inside of their home, spending social time together and learning a lot about this person’s life. Establishing a relationship does not mean having a few pleasant exchanges on the street while walking your dogs. Plenty of people can pretend to be trustworthy over a few short exchanges. But once you do trust a neighbor, giving him a spare key can be very helpful. He could retrieve your dog if you’re away when a fire or flood breaks out in the neighborhood. He could lock your door if you realize you forgot to and have already left the house. A neighbor can attend to issues that need attending right that moment, because they’re just next door.
Should: Your landlord
Your landlord should have a spare key in case anything goes wrong with the building while you’re away. If a plumbing problem stemming from your unit is disrupting the entire building, your landlord should be able to get inside and fix it, without your being there.
Should: Your close family members
Your parents, siblings, and children should all have a spare key. Even if you have children that are so young that you’d never leave them unattended, there may still be times they need a spare key. Imagine if their friend’s mom is dropping them off after a play date, and you’re supposed to be home, but you’re stuck in traffic, and that mom needs to rush off. Your child could be stuck in the front yard by himself for a half hour if he doesn’t have a key.
Should: Your long-term significant other
Long-term significant others are familiar with you, your belongings, and your apartment. If you are ever traveling and your landlord or family member needs to find something in your apartment, your significant other can probably direct them to it. If you live alone, having a significant other with a key can also give onlookers the impression that you do not live alone, and that can improve your safety.
Shouldn’t: Your dog walker
If you hired your dog walker through a company, he or she should not have a spare key. You don’t know what sort of vetting process dog-walking companies put their employees through—some use very little vetting at all. Use your home automated system to lock and unlock the front door for the dog walker at scheduled times, rather than giving her a spare key.
Shouldn’t: Your handyman
You may trust your handyman because you’ve worked with him for years, but you never know who he’ll bring with him if he needs an extra set of hands. Try, whenever possible, to be home when your handyman needs to fix something. If you cannot, have your neighbor let him in and supervise, or open the door remotely using your home automated system.
Shouldn’t: New partners
If you’ve been seeing someone romantically for several months, you might feel ready to give him or her a spare key. But a few months isn’t actually a very long time to know someone, and a partner who truly cares about you will respect your request for privacy, and a little more time before giving him or her a spare key.
Giving spare keys to a few individuals can help you avoid disasters, and get you through emergency situations when you are not at home. But you need to control who has access to your home, and if you give a key to certain people, you lose that control, so be selective.