Key broken as half and stuck in door lock

who the responsibility to pay the repair fee.

As the landlord, I acknowledge that I am responsible for covering the cost of replacing a lock that becomes faulty due to normal wear and tear over time.

It has come to my attention that the key became stuck in the lock and, unfortunately, was subsequently cut in half due to what appears to be excessive force exerted to remove it. The broken key is evidence that the lock was not damaged due to wear and tear but rather as a result of negligence or misuse by the tenant. The excessive power used in attempting to free the key has caused the lock to malfunction, and I believe it is only fair that the tenant bears the responsibility for the associated repair costs, however, my letting agent keep to told me that I should bear the repair fee.

Thanks all

tenants cost… i would say. If a key was getting stiff a little candle wax is the solution , rub the key init . Oil attracts the dust

How do you get a key to stick in a lock out of negligence?

If a key is stuck it would be instinctive to wiggle it to try to remove it.

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need to pull it straight out with a borrowed pair of pliers

Yeah but the average person could be forgiven for not doing this. I dont know many people who carry pliers with them. You would just instinctively pull it.

Some keys are just naff and break easily, bad design and material can start to fracture at the shoulder.

Would be impossible to prove.

I do carry plers and several other bits and pieces. When out and about there can be a phone call and I just might have the solution with me. Yale keys do fracture easily

The case is my letting agent provided the half broken key stuck in the lock photo, and has arranged the locksmith to replace the cylinder on the next day.

And I was told that is landlord responsibility to pay for it, but I think it’s not easy to broken a key as a half, at least I never did it.

A key gets weaker or worn over time. Some just break due to metal fatigue, bad design or material fault.

I do not think I have ever broken any but I have lost many ! So with every key I have a spare. Just in case . Saved my bacon many a time

Assuming it is a standard lock, Screwfix sell new cylinder door locks (5371G) for £14.03 including three keys and they are very easy to fit, I have changed several over the years for various reasons.

Why dont you ask locksmith for his professional opinion on how it could happen. If he says it could happen because of a stiff lock, then you should probably bear the cost.

Imagine the amount of effort it would take to break a non faulty standard key.

There are broken key extractor tool sets on Amazon starting under 4 quid - next day delivery. Lots of videos on YouTube. You shouldn’t need to even change the lock.

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I very much doubt the costs are high enough to justify a battle. Personally, I’d just pay it & move on.

I say this, but in reality as I self manage I would have just visited & replaced myself.

You however pay an agent to keep your property & so you need to trust their opinion.


the old brass keys were weaker, the newer steel keys are stronger


Thanks for all your advice, because the property is far to me, so i appointed a letting agent to manage it, and the bill cost me £110

When you live far away you have no choice the agents can stuff you and nothing you can do. Just let the agent know you are carefully monitoring the charges, insist on invoices etc. I’m otherwise with some it can be a blank cheque
Colin3 myself and others save money by doing these small jobs ourselves but then you will get 40% tax back so it’s not too painful


Top tip. Install a decent quality cylinder not the cheapest you can find. It makes a difference and will last decades. Alway keep one original key that is used solely for making copies from should you need more keys, one gets lost or broken. That tip from a master locksmith. Never oil cylinders to lubricate them. Pencil lead rubbed on a key every now and again and jiggled in/out left/right in the lock does the job perfectly well. Do not waste your money on ‘high security’ authorised copy key locks.

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Tenant cost. Also responsible for additional keys as already held, if lock needs replacing.


It has to be down to the tenant although this happened to me with pretty much zero force it was as if the key had been made of eggshell and simply snapped as I turned it in the lock. AND it was one of those pricey Bannon keys that have to be recorded when replaced. In any case, if this was one of our tenants I would say the cost was definitely down to them.