Entrusting someone with keys to your home is a very big step in any type of relationship, whether it’s your neighbor, a family member, a service provider, or taking a new romance to the next level.

You Seinfeld fans will remember “The Keys” episode when Kramer loses his key privileges to Jerry’s apartment because he broke “the covenant of the keys.” When Jerry asks for his keys back, Kramer asks for his keys back, and this creates a ripple effect with George and Elaine until everyone is totally confused and no one can get into their apartment in an emergency. This episode aired on May 6, 1992 but is still so relevant.

This 4 minute clip is guaranteed to make you laugh but it also teaches some important lessons on who should have keys to your home.

Seinfeld: Season 3, Episode 23 The Keys (May 6, 1992)


Here are 3 lessons I learned from this Seinfeld episode:

1. Only give your keys to people who will treat them with respect and may actually need them.

When you think about people who have keys to your home, are these the people you would also look to in an emergency? After speaking with hundreds of people, I was surprised to learn that many people who took the step of creating a will and powers of attorney didn’t give the people they named as executor or advocate a key to their home. At the very least, tell them who to call. Think through who has your keys and what responsibilities they would have in an emergency.

2. Think about who has entrusted you with the key to their home, or maybe who should.

Ask yourself, if you were called by a close friend or family member in an emergency, do you have their keys or know who does? A little planning ahead can save you a lot of time and frustration. If you are not quite sure how to ask someone for their key, give them yours. The law of reciprocity acted out in the Seinfeld episode usually kicks in. But don’t be offended if it doesn’t. Just be upfront and let them know that you won’t be able to help them as easily in an emergency.

3. Properly mark and securely store all spare key sets.

It’s so easy to throw spare keys in the junk drawer and forget about them. In an emergency, the last thing you want to do is hunt through a junk drawer to find them. Take the time to properly label and store the keys so you know who and what they are for. It doesn’t take long.

The Torch Real Estate notebook has a checklist of all the important instructions about your home, including keys. It doesn’t matter if you rent or own, it takes less than 15 minutes to create a notebook for each property you maintain.

I hope you found these tips helpful! Don’t be like the Seinfeld crew and get locked out when there is an emergency.



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