41 answers

Does Family That Doesnt Live with You Have a Key to Your Home?

Several members of both my husbands family & my family used to have keys to our front door. Before we had kids we traveled a lot and often asked family to babysit our dogs, they didnt do well at kennels. Never really bothered me that several people who did not live in our home had keys. Once our twins were born i noticed that some family members started using their key in lieu of knocking/or ringing the doorbell. On more than one occasion i was embrassed when someone walked in while i was topless breastfeeding. Call me silly but it made me uncomfortable to share my breasts with my parents-in-law. There were several conversations with the offenders about knocking and waiting to be let in, but it fell on deaf ears. They started knocking as they were letting themselves in. We needed to buy a security door and when we purchased the lock for that decided to change all the door locks. We decided that the likely hood of us going any where anytime soon is none so we did not make any extra keys for anyone. Some family members havent even noticed the locks are differant. Others are upset that they dont have a key. I dont want to give them one until im sure they can respect us enough to knock and wait to be asked in. So long story short... do you have family that has a key to use for your home? If so do they use it everytime they come over? Or do they knock first? I know some people prefer family to just walk in, but i do not. Thanks i appericate whatever it is you have to say!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks so much! I wasnt sure if i was the only one out there that was house key stingy. Our plan for any future trips we may take is to loan one of our keys and than ask for it back. We also had to change the alarm code just in case. There was an incident involving one of the offenders right before we changed the locks. She let herself in thinking i was home and i was not. She didnt know the alarm code, and set off the alarm, and the police responded. I had hoped that would have cured her but nope she kept letting herself in.

Featured Answers

You have changed the lock. Now - don't give out a key. Really and truly. They are upset because they still want to let themselves in.

When they ask for one, say "I'm tired of people walking in on my bare breasts. No more keys." And stay firm.

No one has ever had a key to my place. I walk around half-naked too much when I'm alone in my house to allow that!

D.

6 moms found this helpful

Soon enough you will have to put a chain or something like that , at the top of the door to keep the kids in, that will also keep everyone else out when you are home, even with a key. Problem solved.

3 moms found this helpful

My mother is the only one that has a key. She always uses it, but she always calls ahead of time, so I know when she's coming. I gave it to her mainly because of the kids. I also have a key to her house as well. I don't have a husband or boyfriend so she won't have to worry about walking in on the "wrong" thing. I guess it has a lot to do with trust.

3 moms found this helpful

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There is No Freaking Way I would give my family members the keys to my castle. Only one couple has the key: our dear friends who watch our cat from time to time and are the emergency contact for our security alarm. They have VERY good boundaries, too! Would never even dream of 'dropping by'.

6 moms found this helpful

You have changed the lock. Now - don't give out a key. Really and truly. They are upset because they still want to let themselves in.

When they ask for one, say "I'm tired of people walking in on my bare breasts. No more keys." And stay firm.

No one has ever had a key to my place. I walk around half-naked too much when I'm alone in my house to allow that!

D.

6 moms found this helpful

My parents do, but it's for OUR benefit, not theirs! My parents would never walk in unannounced! Your situation horrifies me! Your family members don't deserve keys!

6 moms found this helpful

We have ONE "extra" key that is given to someone on an AS NEEDED basis and then returned as soon as it is no longer needed. I hate not feeling secure in my own home even if it is only family who may have keys. Some of our family members know our garage code but I can still lock the door coming in from the garage if needed....and I do.

4 moms found this helpful

I give my key to the neighbor who watches my cat when I'm out of town. She gives it back when I return. There are no other extra keys to my house floating around.

My parents would never come into my house without knocking. They had parents who did that to them and they swore never to do the same to their kids.

3 moms found this helpful

They shouldn't be upset at all. That's a strange response. Why don't you just give people a key when necessary, such as when they are housesitting, and then ask for it back.

Family members don't need to have a permanent key to your home. And yes, they should knock.

3 moms found this helpful

We had a similar experience of family having keys and just letting themselves in any time they wanted to. Well, that didn't work very well. We had to put better boundaries around it so we moved and changed the locks, didn't give anyone a key period. This has worked alot better for us. If they need to get in for some reason now, we let them borrow the spare, but they give it back immediately when they are done. As far as your family being upset about not having access, well, they don't have a right to it! You decide who comes in and who doesn't. Since they didn't respect you or your hubby enough to be courteous and call or knock and be welcomed in, they don't deserve access period. I think its a bad idea all the way around though to have people hold onto your house keys.....GL~!

M

3 moms found this helpful

I would not have an issue with my mom or sister having a house key...but I cannot imagine someone having a key and not knocking! I would think that was just common courtesy.

3 moms found this helpful

That is craziness! My Mom has a key to our house, I gave it to her when I was pregnant and my husband was away, so if I needed her she could come right in. She still has it but she never uses it. When she comes over to visit she always knocks. I think she even forgot that she has a key! Lol.
But I wouldnt give your family members their keys back. It isnt their house to be using often. If you feel they should need one to YOUR house, then you can give them one. But in the meantime, I would just tell them they have no reason or need to just walk into your home.

3 moms found this helpful

No.
Why should they?
Its our home.

And if your relatives come over and let themselves in, that is RUDE!
I would be, pissed.

3 moms found this helpful

I have family that has keys but that is also because they were all at one time my son's PCA's. My sister and her husband have keys, my other sister does and my best friend (who is like my sister) all have keys. When I am at home they always knock before they come in and they know that if they don't get an answer within a couple of minutes that they can let themselves in.

3 moms found this helpful

My parents have a key to our house and my brothers house. They come over to take care of all our pets when we are out of town. Sometimes I will just tell my mom to let her self in when she is coming over. They would never just come in with out being told they could. I also have a key to their house as I go over there before mom gets home from work sometimes.
Givien your families history of abusing the privilage of having a key I would not give one out unless you are leaving town and then I would get it back.

3 moms found this helpful

My mother is the only one that has a key. She always uses it, but she always calls ahead of time, so I know when she's coming. I gave it to her mainly because of the kids. I also have a key to her house as well. I don't have a husband or boyfriend so she won't have to worry about walking in on the "wrong" thing. I guess it has a lot to do with trust.

3 moms found this helpful

Soon enough you will have to put a chain or something like that , at the top of the door to keep the kids in, that will also keep everyone else out when you are home, even with a key. Problem solved.

3 moms found this helpful

My parents and my husband's parents have a key. If we are home, they still knock first. If we are not home, they call first then use their key. It is really more for emergencies or taking care of the house while we're gone.

2 moms found this helpful

yes, our in-laws have a key, and so does my older son who moved out recently. but our family members are well-mannered and never just walk in (well, my son does, but i still consider this HIS home too.)
i suppose i'd change things if i had family members doing things i didn't like. but i'd talk to them about it first.
they're FAMILY. can't you just say 'that makes me uncomfortable. knock it off.'??
khairete
S.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes members of my family have keys to our house. Actually it has a keypad that can get you in and they have their own alarm codes. No one, I mean no one, in my family, including my grown children would consider using that access to enter the home without knocking first.

I have no idea what your family was thinking.

2 moms found this helpful

Only people who were logical to have one, ironically enough it was my best friend who did the dog sitting, us more for her than the other way, but she also lived the closest to in the event I needed someone to get in my place NOW she was the most logical choice. Other than that if we gave you a key it was not for keeps. I am a just walk on in kind of person until I had my kiddo then we had the doors locked at all times, you can always get the second deadbolt on the front door that only locks/unlocks from the inside like apartments have.

Add: My bestie and I would let ourselves into eachother's place with the keys after we sent a heads up text ... hey I am around the corner coming up ... she would text in the shower or whatever so no one was caught off guard, but we were also house mates for a while so we knew how the other lived.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, my brother does. and i never expect him to knock.

2 moms found this helpful

No. We don't really have any family that we could have that issue with. They all live out of town. My parents do have a spare key, as once in a while when they come to visit they arrive while we aren't home. But they would never just use it and come in without knocking first.

We have a spare key for guests to use (if needed) when they are staying with us though. We live in a coastal town and get seasonal visitors. They may decide to go to the beach while I am picking up kids from school, or while we are in town for after school activities or whatever. So if when discussing the day's plans it looks like they will be getting "home" when no one will be here, we lend them the spare key. They usually give it back when we get home or before they leave to go home--as they understand it isn't "their" key, but our house spare key for ALL visitors.

I am with you. I would be livid if people (family or no) just walked into my house unannounced without waiting for me to come to the door. Whether I was nursing on the sofa or not. I find that very RUDE, unless you have EXPRESSLY told them that you expect them to do so. Which you obviously have not done.
I would do what you have done and just not give out keys. If they are offended, so what? What is there to be offended by? When the time comes to need someone to pet sit, then give them the spare (on It's on keychain) and let them know that you need it back when you get home.

2 moms found this helpful

My whole family has the code to our garage, but some started abusing this and letting themselves in when we weren't home. This bothered me more than walking in when I was home. I was so uncomfortable to find out days later that my brother had been in my house without asking (or even telling me). It is your home, you need to make sure you are comfortable in it. If we're home, I don't mind if my family lets themselves in, however no one comes by unannounced.

2 moms found this helpful

I have always had a key to my grandma's house and garage. I also have a key to my Dad's place. At my grandma's house, I always ring the doorbell, wait a second or two then knock as I open the door. Of course, she gets annoyed if she has to come answer the door for family! Hee hee hee. At my dad's I knock and wait for him to let me in. If he doesn't and I need something from the house I will let myself in and announce myself.

My dad and grandma also had keys to my place... but that was only in case I got locked out. lol.

2 moms found this helpful

Another solution is a keyed garage door opener. You can give (a respectful and responsible) person the code for the emergency situation and change it when need is over.

2 moms found this helpful

We have code controls as well as keys to the doors. We ALWAYS call first to say we are stopping by, but once there will let ourselves in.

My sister stopped one day when hubby was home. He happened to stay home that day and I didn't know it. I had asked her to drop something off for me. She had seen his car, knocked, but he was sleeping and didn't answer.It made him so mad that she just let herself in.

1 mom found this helpful

My MIL has a key to our house for emergencies and she would absolutely NEVER let herself into our house on her own unless we asked her to take care of something for us. She also would never use her key to let herself in while we are home. I think that's really weird, to tell you the truth. Sounds like you are going to be more judicious in handing out keys after re-doing your lock and I think that's the right solution. Who cares if people grumble? No one has a right to enter your house at will, family or not. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My parents live very close by and usually walk in as they are knocking. It's usually ok, but there are times that it drives me crazy. Knocking is definately appreciated. We have a close friend with a key, but just in case we get locked out or to watch pets.

1 mom found this helpful

We did not give a key to my in-laws for precisely the fear of the scenario you described. My FIL does not respect privacy boundaries at all, and nothing short of withholding a key would prevent him from entering our house (we always lock the door, even when at home). My family lives too far away for us to need/want to give a key to them.

I do have a key to a couple of relatives' homes, but I have never used them unless it was 1) an emergency (hasn't happened), or 2) they gave the okay and knew we were coming. The keys are returned the "need" is over.

The ones who are upset are the ones who should not ever get keys again, imo.

We do have spare keys, which are lent out to particular close friends on an as-needed basis (to help watch the dogs when we're away, for example).

1 mom found this helpful

My parents have a key and they only use it when we are not home to feed the cats for us or when they have my daughter and need to get something, but again we are not home. The only time that they use it when we are home is when my mom calls and says that she is coming over and I tell her to bring the key cause I am getting dressed and the door is locked. They have NEVER used it to let thenselves in when we are home. That is just wrong of them to think that they can just let themselves in whenever they want. I would make sure to tell them that the key is only when you are on vacation and to plz knock. If they don't like the fact that they don't have a new key then too bad for them. If they don't need it then they shouldn't have it. That is just rude to think they can use the key anytime they see fit.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, but it was a problem. My Mom used to just use the key and almost walked in my husband and I once when the baby wasn't home. After that I became very careful with my key. Of course as the kids got older it was less of an issue because we had to be careful all the time anyway.

I'd suggest to Give it to one or two people you trust and explain why you are trusting them. Get your key back when lending it to family who help out when you are out of town.

change your locks if you have to for peace of mind

1 mom found this helpful

My parents-in-law have both a key and the code to our garage. They never use it unless we are not home and they are doing us a favor. My friend and neighbor also has a key and the code for the same reason. Both people call before coming over and knock to be let in. They would never think of just coming in. I have the code to my in-laws garage and generally use that to come in the house (I have called first to let them know I'm coming) as they are getting older and my mother-in-law has a hard time walking now. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Well most of my family, and a few friends and neighbors know the combination to open the garage, yes.

But I am home most of the time, some knock, most don't have to since the dogs will be barking before they get the chance!

:)

1 mom found this helpful

Most of my immediate family has my garage code to get into my house (siblings, parents), but they usually come through the front door. In my family we knock, pause, then walk in. I pause just in case they yell something like, "Wait a minute!" and then if I don't hear anything like that I just walk in. My sister lives two doors down on my street, so we are at each other's house on a regular basis. Our kids go back and forth all day and I don't think they even knock. It doesn't bother me that her son just comes over, except when it's at 6 am and we're all asleep and he wakes us up :) We help ourselves to each other's fridge too (you know when you need to borrow an egg, or you run out of milk -- it's such a give and take, that it works out). The only time it bugged me was when I made a pie and was SO excited to get home and eat the leftovers and Goldilocks (my sister) had come over while we were gone to borrow something, found the pie, and gobbled it up. I let her know immediately that that wasn't appreciated. She probably made me another treat to make it up to me. My son was eating all her snacks, so she let me know that bothered her, so I told him to stop and had him ask for everything from now on. But as open as my family is, I would try to respect the knock and wait rule if someone clearly communicated to me that they wanted me to start doing that. It might be hard to remember at first, though.

1 mom found this helpful

I have keys to my kids' homes. However they live out of state and would know when I would be coming and could let myself in before they got home should that be the case.

If I lived in close vacinity I would not let myself in just because I had the key. This is your home and your rules apply to everyone. As you said you would have thought the incident with the police would have stopped that relative from "just walking in" in the future. Keep your keys at home. If you should go out of town (it might be time consuming) I would change a lock and give them a "loan key" - they might make copies for theirselves) and when I got back get it back and put the new lock back.

Good luck to you.

The other S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hide one key outside for them to use if they are looking after your house or pets, otherwise they can knock. Tell them you do not wish to have lots of keys out there floating around. Keep in mind, they may wake sleeping children when they knock or ring the bell.

As for me... My mom has a key. Just incase the kids or myself lock ourselves out or if there is an emergency. She knows our alarm code too.
Although, with her she does not like coming into our home unless someone is home.

Now I also have a key to her home for the same reasons. I usually let her know if I am coming by and most times she is real busy when home. SO she knows she does not have to answer the door because I will unlock it, knock on the inner door, wait a few seconds and then come in.

If when I call she is not answering and there is a car in the driveway. I will still knock and wait a few minutes then enter. She lives alone so I worry about her when that happens.

For those family members that do not want to follow your rules and or expectations about your key. They do not deserve one.

NO. My mom lives 15 min. away, but she still doesn't have a key. I'm 30 now, but I had NO PRIVACY at all with my mom growing up. She found EVERY NOTE from my friends, secret things I wrote about guys I liked even though I hid these things very carefully- she found them! She made me stop being friends with my best friend when I was 15 due to some soft "sex story" she found that my friend gave to me. It was awkward- everyone made fun of me:(

I don't trust her snooping ways. Knowing that she would have a key gives me anxiety! A friend of mine that lives about 8 min. away has a key though because I wanted someone else to have one just in case.

I have a key to my parents place and they to mine. It's a habit to ring the bell before digging for the key. Usually someone will answer the door well before the key could be found and used, and we live far enough apart that there is always a call before a visit is arranged so they are expected at any moment the entire day anyhow. No one with a key to our place ever just "drops by".

No one has spare keys to our home or cars. We considered it once then changed our minds. So far we've never had a situation that warranted them needing our keys. :)

No one should EVER just walk uninvited into a home, especially a home that does not belong to them. Your hubby needs to man up on this issue and tell his family thank you for their earlier dog-feeding help but that they are no longer needed. Therefore the locks have been changed and you'll call them when you are ready to have company. Good luck and God Bless.

2 people have spare keys to my house & neither of them is family. My kids are 10 & 11 years old & walk to & from school so I gave 1 spare to the little old couple across the street just in case my daughter, who gets home first in the afternoon, ever forgot her key. The 2nd is a very close friend of mine & that is so that she can feed my cat if we're away. I trust both of them totally to not just walk into my house.

yes, both my mom and step dad have keys...it was the worst mistake EVER to give them keys to our home. It has been nightmare...both do not work and wonder around all day looking for stuff to do. THEY ARE THE NOSIEST people (even my neighbors run when they see them!) They have to know all about your business, and if you do not tell them they will be mad and try to find out things on their own. They look for excuses to come over when we are not home and go through our things. DO NOT GIVE ANYONE YOUR HOUSE KEY....I am saving up to change my locks (have 4 doors that are keyed alike.)

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