Electronic locks- do you change the codes?

We have an electronic door lock, which I think is really convenient, but I’m curious how others use them. AirBnB allows me to put the door code into the listing for confirmed guests, which saves me a step of contacting each person with the code before they arrive. But that also means that every single guest is using the same code, which seems like a potential security issue to me. I can program 20 codes into the lock and was thinking I might just pick one code randomly from the list and give it each guest so that they aren’t all using the same code. (But then of course, I have to message each guest individually and give them a code, taking away the convenience of having it in the listing.) I’m just thinking security-wise, it’s not great to have one code long-term. But I also don’t want to take the lock apart after each guest and reprogram it.

How do you guys use electronic locks?

I agree it’s a security risk to use the same code for each guest.

I have a Schlage electronic keyless lock.
It’s very easy to delete an old code and enter a new one.
I reprogram it for each guest with a new number, sent to them on the morning of their arrival. I feel that’s the safest and not much hassle at all – I wouldn’t want the code added to my actual listing.

It’s bonkers for a company to make electronic locks requiring them to be taken apart for reprogramming.
Have you checked the product’s user manual online to ensure there isn’t an easier method? Or maybe give the manufacturer a call?

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I door code would be the last 4 digits their phone number registered on airbnb.
Yes it requires work to change.
Security is very important. If I feel that the guests are not suitable after they leave, I erase their number right away.

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You just have to take off the back panel to reprogram codes. The issue is that it’s a screw-on panel with teeny, tiny screws that love to strip if you take them in and out too often.

Is there a electronic lock that people recommend? This one works great, but I agree that changing the code is not convenient. I bought it at Costco, so I could easily return it and get something else.

There are lots of threads about this

Thanks. It looks like all of those threads are about smart locks, though, which I’m not sure I want. Mine is just your standard non-hackable electronic lock.

I have a Kwikset 907 Powerbolt digital lock. Codes can be changed without taking off any covers. Guests have trouble with it periodically and usually when I’m asleep. Even guests who have been in and out several times. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it but user error. I don’t always change the code between each guest but I live here and can also lock the door with another lock if I need to.

I’d like a smart lock so I can open it remotely without coming home or getting out of bed.

Interesting. Mine is a Kwikset 915. I also looked at the 916, which is the smart lock, and it also has the screw-on back. I do like that on the 915, I can set it to automatically lock after 30 seconds (from inside the screw-on cover), where the deadbolt style locks, the guest can easily turn that feature off.

I’d highly recommend you remove the code for the confirmed guests. I had someone booking at 6pm and then 6:15pm was outside the building without notifying me. If the checkin instructions were automatically sent to him he would be able to get in without the apartment even been ready!
So I politely sent him away and told him to return in 2hrs and then sent him the codes.

Just make a checkin message and send it the night before they arrive :slight_smile:

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I use a Kwikset and it takes just a few seconds to change the code. I use the last four digits of the guests’ phone number as a rule but you could use an online number generator to create random numbers. Or change the code every month - a January code, a February code etc. That’s not quite as secure as changing it for every guest but it’s more secure that leaving the same one permanently.

If I have to chose a four digit code I tend to choose a two digit number and repeat it (4242, 9898, 7373 or whatever) because I can remember two numbers easier than four :slight_smile:

Which Kwikset do you have? Is it the screw-on back kind or a smart lock where you are changing it remotely?

To be honest I’ll have to check when both rentals have no guests present. But they are both a couple of years old, so they’re certainly not the latest models. I can’t change it remotely. (This facility isn’t necessary for me as I’m on the spot).

If it is in the budget, it is a huge time saver to have a keypad that connects to a hub. Such as schlage zwave. I can change the code on my phone, and delete old codes.

When I had my previous keypad, I may use the same code for out of town guests. If the guest is from across the country, I figured less chance they come back to steal things given there are 2000 miles away.


As a guest, I would be very uncomfortable knowing that any guests who had previously stayed there (or anyone who may have somehow gotten the code from a guest) could let themselves in while I was there.

I have each guest select their own 4 digit code before arrival. I activate the code at check-in time, then deactivate it at check-out time.

Good point. So you ask each host what their code protocol is before booking? And you must only book places without keys for fear that a previous guest would have made a copy of the key?

I don’t always change the code but the room has a wrought iron security door that can be locked behind you once you were inside the room. Would that allay any concerns you had?

Yes, a secondary locking system would make me feel safer while inside.

No, I don’t ask each host questions before booking, but I may inquire about it at some point in the check-in, so I know. I have a portable door alarm I can use if I’m feeling uncomfortable, but I much prefer feeling comfortable from the beginning. I’m just more at ease when a host makes it a priority to let me know that I am receiving a code that is unique to me. My guests appreciate this courtesy as well.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Great points to consider.

The house does have a slide lock on the front door, so there is an additional way to secure the house when you’re in it. But I did go and reprogram a bunch of new codes, which I guess I will have to do every so often and give each guest a unique code. I’m definitely going to look into smart locks, as much as I dislike them…

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Hubby and I have a Schlage lock on the AirBnB, and we used to have just a few codes that we rotated. Now, we change them before each and every guest, using a random number generator online. We got taught a lesson by a ditzy guest whom we sent her code, and she showed up the day before her booking, while the place was rented but unoccupied, went into the apartment, and was sitting in there messaging us, “Why is there luggage in here?” We dodged a bullet. Could have been so bad!

I don’t send the code until the day of check in, usually just before check in time for just this reason.

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