Airbnb landlords are creating a surprisingly big demand for smart locks that let them remotely grant and rescind entry to rented premises.
Walter Mioch, owner of Precision Locksmiths in Melbourne, and a specialist in exit door compliance, said suppliers “were right on top of this”.
“They recognise the demand and they are currently developing products for this growing market,” he said.
“We receive three to four calls and emails related to Airbnb and people are asking: ‘Can we do something remote, can we do something by mobile’.”
For landlords, getting a key to a new renter and retrieving it at the end of their stay can be a significant logistics problem and Mr Mioch warned that many will have to be a “little patient” as regulations catch up.
While most homeowners can fit any type of smart lock they want, apartment owners are limited by regulations governing their individual front doors, especially if the doors are fire rated.
“If you don’t have an apartment with a fire-rated door, you can add almost anything. You can bring an August lock in and put it on your front door.”
However, Mr Mioch said approximately 95 per cent of individual apartment entry doors in Australia were fire rated.
Any locks fitted, including smart locks, had to be approved by fire-door manufactures and comply with the designated standards.
The doors must be self-closing and self-latching. Any replacement locks must fit exactly the hole size of an existing fire-door lock.
Users also need to check with body corporate managers.
Mr Mioch expects the first approved fire-door smart lock to be available later this year.
Mr Mioch, a member of the Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia, said some Airbnb landlords just wanted a keypad with a combination they could change from time to time.
“Some people just want a keypad so they can give the code to someone, but increasingly they want to use an app on their mobiles and give access to someone for certain times, as you would with a hotel card.
“Just like Uber has taken the world by storm, Airbnb is driving this trend,” he said.
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