How to set up long term rental locks?

I have a triplex, that I’d like to outfit with smartlocks. Everyone will have their own isp so I’m thinking getting the simpler non-wifi $99 U-Bolt. What is the best way for me to give access to the renters while also having admin control? It would be good if they could use the app but if they were to move out I could delete their accounts/access. I looked at the Air program but I believe that would require me to all the locks on my own wifi.

First - Note that I am just another U-Bolt user - no connection to U-Tec

You seem to be conflating Admin control with how you access the locks. You can only access the locks remotely if you have a WiFi channel - either built in or with a bridge. So, if you only need to set up your renters when they move in/out, and you live nearby, having the non-wifi model just means you have to visit the house those two times (per unit). If you have a wifi channel you can do all the administration from anywhere with internet access.

Each lock can only have one owner (who is also an Admin) but it can have multiple Admins, multiple regular users, and multiple temporary users.

Two options - Option 1 is for you to not let the renters use the smart features of the lock - You are the owner and default admin and you set them up as regular users without app access. Essentially you just assign them an access code and they punch it in whenever they need to get in. It’s like handing them a physical key. When they leave, you delete their code from the lock. NOTE: if they have a problem with the electronic part of the lock (like they don’t act on the low battery warning) they will need the actual physical key as backup, kept outside the apartment. So, if they are dishonest, they can get duplicate keys made (just like with non-digital locks). The actual mechanical lock is just a regular Schlage lock so getting duplicate keys is easy. (By the same token, it is easy to get the lock re-keyed by an locksmith)

Option 2 - You are the owner and default admin and you would set each renter up as an Admin on their particular lock. As admins, they can add other admins on their lock (or other regular or temporary users) as they see fit. The only thing they can’t do (I believe) is delete you as an admin (you, as owner, can delete them). You probably would also give them the ability to use the phone app (connecting via BlueTooth, of course) since administering the lock without the app is a pain.

I believe you would see any users they add (something you should make clear to them - if they object, then just make them regular users and they lose the option of adding other users on their own. )

Also, under either option I don’t know if you can turn off the logging function, in which case you will also have a record of which passcode was used to unlock the door and each time the door was locked. If you can’t turn off the logging you should let them know the log will be generated but you will not be looking at it. (I also don’t see a delete log option)

Frankly, unless you need the remote access - you live far enough away that you don’t want be at the apartment for move in/out - I would just forget about any wifi and then choose option 1 or 2.

In any case, if you get the non-wifi lock and change your mind, you can buy the bridge(s) separately and get the remote access that way (and the batteries last longer without the built in wifi).

Bruce4 seems to have pretty much fully explained things. I’m just adding on as a relatively new user who may soon leave the community…

I have a rental house that is far, far away from me. In general, I seek systems that are reliable and require no knowledge or input from tenants.

At 1030pm on a recent Saturday evening, I got a leak alert from my smart water control system and I couldn’t get a hold of my property manager (who is no longer my property manager).

Fortunately, a tenant was home and able to allow a plumber to access the house. Unfortunately, the plumber had to destroy the lock on the door to the utility room to access the hot water tank (because the property manager had the key).

So, I thought, what if something like that happens again, and what if the tenant isn’t home?

These locks seem to offer a solution. It seems that if I install one on the suite entrance and another on the utility room door, in an emergency, I should be able to remotely unlock both (or give the plumber temporary codes). I got the wifi versions without thumbprint.

I’m not impressed.

Overall, I think this technology is still in its formative stages. Maybe in a few years it will be a lot better.

First, there should be an option to hardwire the locks to house electricity so that batteries don’t need to be changed… ever. But while that is not available, battery life is an issue. It is unpredictable, but mostly poor.

The door sensor reliability is unpredictable.
The App is glitchy.
For setup and firmware updates, it requires a bluetooth connection, so it can’t be done remotely.

So, if you live close, you don’t really need remote control, and if you live far away, there are many downsides.

I may return to a keyed deadbolt. No battery or remote connection issues and dead cheap to replace.

Great information here. Very in depth. Thanks for clearing it up. The best part of having wifi would be the ability to catch low batteries. Both of Bruce’s options are solid ones for me otherwise.

I have the fingerprint pro version and it’s worked well overall, except for auto unlocking… that’s never worked. The dependence on batteries is definitely the weak link. Not a big deal in my own home but it does become an issue when maintaining from afar. I don’t live far away but it would be up to tenant to keep track of.

I pulled the trigger on three bluetooth versions. I plan to go with Bruce’s option 1. While I liked the idea of giving the tenant robust control of the app I think the simplicity of a single digital code will be the cleanest approach.

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Hi Dylan - the battery thing is inherent in all similar locks - obviously a “dumb” digital lock has the best battery life (battery power is only used when someone is locking/unlocking from outside), the bluetooth version should be second best, and the wifi version is likely to be in last place because WiFi draws power all the time. The bridged BT version should be close to the BT only version since the WiFi connnection is wall powered.

Based on my observations on this site, auto-unlocking is likely to work very well for the BT locks. Several of us bridged-lock owners have noticed that auto-unlock works like a charm if you unplug the bridge, turning it into a BT-only system.