RESOURCES: How to manage key collection

Owners and property managers use a number of different ways to manage keys. It's up to you to work out which is best in your circumstances.

  • Created: 17-May-2009
  • Updated: 12-Jun-2014

1) Hide a key on the property

Choose a non-obvious hiding place. Let your rental guests know in advance exactly where this hiding places is. Change the hiding place occasionally if you’re concerned about unauthorised re-use of the property.


• Allows guests to arrive at any time. Nice and easy.


• Less secure, as someone may guess where the key is hidden.

• Concerns about unauthorised re-use of the bach by previous rental guest.

• Difficult hiding places may be a problem to describe or find - especially when someone is tired, in the dark, after a long drive!

2) Use a concealed key lock box:

A concealed lock-box with combination allows you to keep the key somewhere non-obvious, and provide the access code to your rental guests. Change the code each time you go to the bach if you are concerned about unauthorised re-use of the bach.


• Allows guests to arrive at any time and is easy to administer. The lock box can be firmly mounted (e.g. bolted or screwed) somewhere concealed but relatively easy to find with instructions (e.g. under a deck).


• Somewhat open to unauthorised re-use of the bach, but less so, provided combination is changed occasionally. It would require tools and willingness to physically break-in to the lock-box. Arguably is as much effort as breaking into the house itself!

3) Have a local key custodian:

Find a willing neighbour to act as key custodian. You may want to pay them a small koha (thank you gift of money) for doing this. For late arrivals they can put the key somewhere on the property.


• It’s nice to have a friendly neighbour who’s willing to keep an eye on the place when you’re not around.

• Gives rental guests the opportunity to meet someone who lives locally.


• Requires coordinating and communication with a third party.

4) Have a dairy, local shop, garage or cafe/restaurant to key-mind.


• Easy for guests to find.


• Not as flexible as using a neighbour and may have more restrictions on arrival times.

5) Use a local property manager:

Find a local property manager that’s willing to provide a meet and greet service. They can also provide inspections and cleaning services.


• A local professional property manager can be a real asset!


• Such services come at a cost.

6) Use a mailing/courier service:

Send out a key in advance (make sure you have a few spares cut!), with a self-addressed and stamped envelope for return. The cardboard CD/DVD mailers you can find at most Post Offices/stationers are great for this. If you hold a nominal bond this can work well as an incentive to make sure keys are returned.


• Provides good security.


• Expect the odd key to go missing (i.e. make sure you have spares!).

• If you’re concerned about security you can change locks periodically.