How can I get my girlfriend a key to my new apartment's front door ?
September 29, 2004 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Key Controversy... How can I get my girlfriend a key to my new apartment's front door or work out an arrangement so she can get in when she wants too? [mi]

I just moved into a new building about a block away from my girlfriend's apartment. The building included a frontdoor key for both me and my roommate, but the key says do not duplicate.

Even if I can get a copy made some how, my girlfriend has already got on the nerves of the new building manager (apparently only tenants are supposed to let people into the building- but I sent her down to let in the cable guy). However, since I have a slightly nicer apartment, and fullblown awesome cable, she would like to hang out there. I'm worried that making a copy of the key will severly piss off my building manager.

Is there some clever work around that will allow me to either get a key made, or work out something so my girlfriend can come and go as she pleases?
posted by drezdn to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
Go to a locksmith and say it's a duplicate for yourself, or for your parents--for emergencies. They'll make one. Just have the girlfriend be careful coming and going...

Is there a buzzer downstairs? She can always say you buzzed her in if she gets caught.
posted by amberglow at 9:13 PM on September 29, 2004

I had a long comment written out about how hard it is to get a do not duplicate key duplicated, but I think you need to address the issue of this control freak landlord. So what if she let in the cable guy? Sounds like this guy has some issues with micromanaging everything. I understand and applaud his desire to keep the complex free from seediness, but he needs to lighten up. Unless you are able to change this guy's personality, I truly believe going around him will cause future anguish.
posted by geoff. at 9:21 PM on September 29, 2004 [1 favorite]

I would go and get another key from the landlord. There will be a large fee (probably around $100) which'll mostly be gravy for the landlord, but it'll work, nothing seedy about it, etc.
posted by dobbs at 9:33 PM on September 29, 2004

i've never had any problem getting any key duplicated
i remember being surprised the first time that they didn't notice or care. it's still the same. under a dollar.
it's more the manager's problem.
it's good to make nice with the manager/tenant council/blahdeblah
like knowing the cops on your commuting route
posted by ethylene at 9:44 PM on September 29, 2004

If you like social engineering, you could make up some fake business cards saying you are the landlord for the building and make up a story that you lost the master. Change your answering machine to say you are the landlord for the day.

My bets are on that you'd guaranteed get it done anywhere if you put a little thought into it.

Or, if you're lazy, looks like these guys don't care, along with just about any other locksmiths.
posted by shepd at 9:48 PM on September 29, 2004

Why would a locksmith care if a key says "do not duplicate"? You are paying him for a service and product. Whether some third party doesn't want this happening isn't his problem.
posted by fvw at 10:51 PM on September 29, 2004

Most locksmiths won't duplicate a "do not duplicate" key - in the case of US Post Office Box keys, it's a Federal crime, and I think there are laws against it anyway.

My two cents - call your landlord, explain the situation, apologize for the earlier misunderstanding, and let him know that you'd like for your girlfriend to be able to have a key. See what he says.

The worst he can say is 'no', at which point you switch to plan B. As a landlord myself I can tell you that most landlords would rather know what was going on in their apartments.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:56 PM on September 29, 2004

Filing down a blank key on your own isn't difficult, assuming you can purchase the appropriate blank. However, quite a few places won't give a damn about what the key says. Hell, you can probably find one who doesn't speak English.

That said, I'd definitely try to make an arrangement with the landlord, possibly shell out some money and buy an extra key. A declaration of war from the building manager can make life pretty miserable, in my experience. Try your best to avoid it.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:08 PM on September 29, 2004

Yeah, you can get the key duped on your own. But handle it through the landlord anyway. If the manager caught wind of your gf holding the door open briefly for the cable guy, and there are strict rules about non-tenant access, it's sure not going to take long for someone to tell him about the new tenant's guest having her own key. Pissing off your manager by trying to sneak under his radar, and doing stuff your landlord clearly doesn't want like copying a "do not duplicate" key, are sure-fire ways to make your home life less pleasant. If you'd be breaking some rule in the lease (paragraphs about guests and/or security are common), you take the risk of finding a 3-Day Notice [To Get Your A$$ Out On The Street] under your door at any time. Even if it's not technically a lease violation, a manager has a lot of opportunities to choose whether to help make life more pleasant or more difficult. The guy with the power to decide what time hammering can commence on the other side of your bedroom wall, or whether to keep working on your broken water heater after 5pm, is not someone to piss off unless necessary.

Besides, speaking as a sometimes-landlord, y'know it's not such a bad thing that someone in charge is concerned about how easily random strangers can get inside locked doors. Reassure the manager that you and the gf both appreciate the effort to keep the building safe. [On preview, Krrrlson and ikkyu2 already covered some of this.]

This would also be a good time for her to start introducing herself to your neighbors, especially the elderly stay-at-home ones. Betcha one of them narc'ed on her last time, and will do it again as long as they regard the two of you as those-rude-rule-breaker-don't-care-about-the-rest-of-us-one-bit strangers. Make friends with the neighbors, and they'll look the other way for you when you need 'em to.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:22 PM on September 29, 2004

Refer to your girlfriend as your fiancée as it sounds more respectable/permenant. [In fact I've referred to g/fs as my wife before - works especially well when travelling in more 'traditional' countries.]

Give her your original key & if she gets caught coming in she just has to say that she's been down to the store for you so took your keys.

Xmas is coming. Be nice to your loverly building manager.
posted by i_cola at 4:08 AM on September 30, 2004

Can you add her to the lease -- there's no rule that says she can't maintain two residences. If they have a problem with non-resident access just make her a resident.

BTW, your building manager sounds like a nutjob and doesn't have a leg to stand you. It's all well and good to be security conscious but not to the point where it impacts a tenants enjoyment of his home. You are entitled to provide access to your home to anyone you damn well please.

You could also consider going over his head and addressing this with the owner. They may be interested to learn their manager is alienating tenants by dealing with them in such a heavy handed manner. It's not going to make the manager a friend but it sounds like that ship has sailed anyway.
posted by cedar at 4:55 AM on September 30, 2004

SERIOUSLY: Just put a piece of electrical tape or one of those rubber key-grips over the "do not duplicate" and take it to an amateur like a hardware store, not a locksmith. Most hardware stores don't ask questions even if they DO see the "do not..."
posted by Shane at 7:03 AM on September 30, 2004

I have seen stores with DIY key duplication, not sure if this is an accurate list of those or not but it looks like the same machine.
posted by m@ at 7:34 AM on September 30, 2004

What nakedcodemonkey said... make friends with your neighbors, and they'll go to bat for you with the management if there's ever a problem. I lived in a condo high-rise full of old people, and was the first twentysomething to move into the building (a large number followed after me.) At first, my neighbors didn't like me one bit, but I held doors for the old ladies and stopped the elevator for the old gentleman on my floor who was in a walker, caught cats that got out into the hallway, etc... and pretty soon, even if I was throwing a relatively loud party that would've gotten me in trouble with the condo association, my neighbors "had their hearing aids out" and "couldn't hear anything ... never do anyway, he's so quiet and studious and works so hard..." when the bitter old thirtysomethings that lived below me complained. ;)
posted by SpecialK at 8:26 AM on September 30, 2004

My sister has always wanted a key to my apartment, and has never had a problem getting copies made, even when they say "do not duplicate."
posted by MrAnonymous at 2:15 PM on September 30, 2004

...and I've had to borrow her set before, so it comes in handy to have someone near by with a copy.
posted by MrAnonymous at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2004

you're entitled to let someone have a key in case you get locked out anyway, no matter what (had same sitch)--
--interesting reccommendations but isn't it simplest to make sure to allay fears and be evidentially decent so no one can actually take umbrage?
having the guts to talk to concerned parties in person makes a huge difference
warning: doing this has made me some de facto leader in the building, hence tenant stuff and letters (just arrived) from management "thanking me"= letting me know they are watching/scared/thththth, but just because no one else does
posted by ethylene at 3:16 PM on September 30, 2004

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