Good or Bad? Smart Lock automatic entry to your home

We rent our London appartment to guests when we dont use it ourselves but we found managing it was time consuming and accepting guests late at night a pain, so we invested (it’s expensive to buy) in an wifi version of the lock and fitted it ourselves which was not to painful an experience.

Now our guests automatically get emailed their pin code and we no longer lose sets of keys at £20 per set plus time taken to have them cut it’s a saving and asking for AirBnB to pay out of the deposit is a royal pain and time consuming.

Flip side the lock ran out of power creating a crisis for the guests and another guest arrived early when check in was 3pm and so their pin would not work until 3pm! You can manually change the time your guest arrives but I dint know it at the time …

Anyone else had issues with automatic locks or are considering fitting one?

I have a digital code lock but not a wifi smart one. I have it on my calendar to check all the batteries in the rental periodically. As simple as the device is I’ve had multiple people have trouble with it. I don’t know why because they all say they follow my instructions. Every time I test it it works. If I’m here but asleep I often leave the door to their room unlocked but I know that’s not an option for most people.

I’ve thought about it quite a bit but haven’t come up with the perfect, 100% reliable solution other than me being present for check in. Even so, a recent guest complained there weren’t enough lights on in the front. The house was “dark and mysterious” according to him despite two spotlights on the driveway and two pathway lights along the walkway to the door. So there is no 100% reliable method.

I would never fit one, especially when living in a big city.
Sooner or later these smart lock systems will be hacked, and burglars will be able to see when someone is home.

Now they still go around to scout and mark places, and check if someone is home.
In the future they do not have to, they see the nice stuff in your listing, and see if you are at home through the smartlock system

I LOVE my 6si from Lockstate, which is I assume you have. It changes the code and assigns unique codes every time I have a booking (automated thru airbnb) and an email is sent to the guest with all my info like parking etc. On my smartphone, i get a text message that the lock was used by whom and when, so I always know when my guest comes in. And not having to be home and standing in the rain programming it on a stormy night makes my life super easy.

it is NOT a deadbolt, also, so guests are freed from making sure the door is closed during a set time, etc.

Break ins? if you live in an area where stealing the couch or your bedlinens are profitable for a thief, then I propose you have bigger problems than ‘hacking’ your lock. Similar to the 90s when TVs stopped getting stolen because there was no market, I say the market for used IKEA chairs is similarly depressed…


You do have a point there, anything that is man made can be reversed engineered by our engineers :slight_smile: I also happen to work for a Cyber sec company so I did ask them and the answer was eventually they will get hacked but for fun more than for any criminal intent; hackers are unlikely to want my ASDA extra special 100% cotton bedding and eBay furniture :slight_smile:

The point of failure that was pointed out was not so much with the lock itself that appears robust enough but the host interface does not have 2 factor authentication. The hackers can simply hack my password and take over my account thus opening the lock remotely >.< this is why we also have 2 other locks on the door :smiley:

2 factor authentication is something Smart lock could ask their software engineers to fix but will they …

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I have smart locks on all my outside doors as well as each guest room. Overall, it works out very well and most of the guests are pleased with the ease of check-in that way (as well as not having to deal with keys). I set a new code for every guest–takes 2 minutes on an app on my phone.
Yes, they can be hacked–more specifically, the hub that communicates them can be hacked. Unfortunately, regular locks with keys are no more secure and there is the added hassle of folks who lose or keep the keys, causing hosts to rekey the lock for security and have copies of keys made. No system is perfect.
The biggest downside to them isn’t the security, it’s the fact that 50% or more of guests can’t seem to read. Smart locks (at least the ones I use) are not in the least difficult to use, but no matter how many different ways I email, text, and provide pictorial instructions, about half of them are utterly baffled by the locks.
For pity’s sake, how hard is it to punch a code in?? Push the four pretty numbers in the order we texted, messaged, emailed, and nearly tattooed on you and the lock will open. Honest, it will.
Mercifully, my sons are usually home when I am not and can show those befuddled guest how to use the locks. Otherwise, half of them would never ever get in the house.

Digital literacy is still an issue for many which includes reading instructions :wink: are those who have the most trouble over a certain age category?

Nope–complete range of ages. I’d totally get it if it were just older folks, but I’ve had 20-somethings that can’t manage it. However, I will say that once the 20-somethings are shown how to do it, they are delighted, while the older folks continue to be a bit baffled by the whole thing and are much more likely to comment on it slightly negatively in private feedback (i.e., “a little difficult to get in room”).

For us overall, though, it definitely simplifies things despite the Technically Confused. It also seem to give a lot of guests a little more of a sense of privacy, curiously enough–as though the smart locks have a little mystical quality to them. Unfortunately, for the older folks, that mystical quality appears to be akin to breaking in to Fort Knox.

I’m getting very used to the reading problems with guests. Took me a bit to understand how the words “park in the driveway” consistently result in the question, “Where can I park?”

No, wait, I still don’t understand it. Huh.

I should also mention the nice feature of smart locks where the system dings my phone & apple watch every time someone opens one of the locked doors. It lets me know when guests have arrived or departed, basically. I can set the system up to tell me exactly which guests have entered their code in a given door (we have 3 guest rooms and 2 outside entrances) but it is enough for me to simply know which doors are being opened. Too much of a pain in the butt to set it up that way and not quite enough reason to do so (though I suppose an argument could be made for security).

It is a bit disconcerting when I am at work–I work 12 hour night shifts-- and one of the entrance doors keeps getting opened and shut. A few times, I’ve had visions of a guest hauling all our stuff out of the house at 2AM, then coming back for more and more. Fortunately, I’m not paranoid enough to worry about it too much. :smile:

I have a Ring doorbell camera and a seat by the front window. If people have a car they go in and out a lot. Smokers go out, things are in the car, people go out to talk on their phones, etc. I had a guest here recently who went out got in he car and drove away several times after midnight. Odd to me but she was a fine guest.

I’ve been meaning to reply to this topic since it started but turnovers, hosting and contractors got in the way :slight_smile:

About three years ago a neighbour, who does STRs, started using a smart lock. Although he lives only a few miles away, he prefers complete automation rather than greeting guests personally.

I would estimate that at least 95% of his guests have had problems with it. I know this because they come and knock on my door when they have a problem!

Many of their guests have arrived with their phones being out of power - due to using GPS or reading on the plane. Even those who have power still have had a problem with it. 1even the cleaner has a hard time with it. Recently, a guest who was putting her luggage into her car was locked out because it was past checkout time by just a few minutes.

We used to rely on good old-fashioned keys but recently went to a simple keypad which works brilliantly. It takes less than a minute to program a unique code for each guest and is pretty foolproof.

For those posters here who are being ageist, please remember that many of the older generation have been using the internet for 20+ years. Twenty year olds haven’t. My experience is that the most technically challenged guests are in their twenties :slight_smile:

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As a fifty year old female, I’m not sure I can quite be called ‘ageist’. :smile: Nonetheless, the folks I was referring to are actually in my age range and older. Despite the Internet being around 25+ years, thanks to the DOD, my generation and older weren’t raised on it like the younger generations. This results in a hefty number of folks struggling with the constantly evolving tech world. Younger folks tend to flex a little more on it–they may not figure it out right off the bat, but once shown, they tend to get it a little faster and be a little more pleased with it in my experience–they also take it more for granted.
Honestly, I think the 40+ crowd have seen so many tech trends come and go that one grows tired of constantly having to figure out the latest gadget when it is just going to be gone or completely changed in a couple of years. After a while, one just doesn’t see much point in it.
And then there is the magpie portion of the population (like me, I admit) who, regardless of age, see new tech gadgets like they are shiny objects one must have. They are all like nifty new toys and somewhere in our heads we know they are completely unnecessary to real life, but they are oh-so-nifty and fun to play with!
All generalities are only generally useful and there are always exceptions to the general ideas. Generally speaking, of course.

I am considering getting a mechanic key lock box with a shackle that I can hook up to the front door only when I have guests checking in very late at night. Something like this:

My concern is the fact that I won’t be there to greet my guests! I firmly believe that welcoming guests for check-ins is a very important aspect of hosting and I feel its also an extra incentive for positive reviews.

Maybe I might consider trying to set a meeting the following day if this does not inconvenience the guests… what are your thoughts about this?

I have an August smart lock with the Wi-Fi add-on, but I just use it so I can unlock the door remotely for my guests when they arrive. I leave the physical key inside the apartment because I know most people won’t want to deal with the smart lock. I also use it so my cleaner can get in to the apartment to clean, which is extremely handy.

I also have an extra set of physical keys in a lock box just in case the lock fails…

We also use a simple keypad lock. It’s a Shlage. I was concerned about batteries going dead (which happened to us on a trip recently) and this model doesn’t lock itself, so less battery used per the reviews. The guest pushes the Schlage button and then turns the lock. To unlock, they enter the code and turn the lock. It’s not as fancy, but hopefully the battery lasts a long time and it’s pretty easy to use. I still prefer greeting in person, but in the occasional circumstance I can’t, i don’t have to worry. Also I have repeat guests that don’t need me to show them around.

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After a set of guests were locked out at 2am, we also have multiple points of failure: keyless deadbolt, keys in apartment to carry around, and a lockbox as backup.