Neighbors shun new tenant for refusing to leave door unlocked in a dangerous neighborhood

Tracey Folly

A man recently moved into an apartment complex and already has trouble with the neighbors. Why? According to the original poster in the August 23, 2023 Reddit post, it's because his neighbors wanted a copy of the OP's apartment key; and the OP said, "No."

Who's wrong? You decide.

The complex consists of only four units, split evenly between the ground and upper floors. This individual occupies one of the ground-floor apartments. Most of the neighbors have lived in the complex for at least five years, with the longest-standing tenant residing there for eight years. These neighbors all seem to have developed a close bond over the years. The majority of them are single mothers with children, and this newcomer is the only male resident.

Unbeknownst to the new tenant, there was an informal agreement among the existing residents that the communal hallway door should always remain unlocked. To his knowledge, none of the other residents even possess a key to this hallway, only to their individual apartments.

The landlord has quoted a $70 fee for replacing each key. The newcomer, having a habit of ensuring security, always locks the hallway door whenever he enters or leaves the complex. This change has caught a night-shift-working neighbor off-guard, as she frequently comes home to find the hallway door locked.

It seems most of the residents lost their hallway keys during their initial years in the complex. As a result, when the door is locked, she resorts to knocking loudly and persistently until someone lets her in. Initially, the new tenant would open the door for her, but he eventually stopped. If no one answers, she escalates her efforts by knocking on windows and calling out.

One day, this neighbor approached the new tenant, asking if he could leave the hallway door unlocked, as had been the custom for years. He explained his concerns about safety, especially given that their neighborhood is ranked among the top five most dangerous in their city.

You should never leave your doors unlocked. So he was right to refuse to put himself and others at risk by leaving the door open.

While she tried to allay his fears, stating that only known residents and guests visited the complex, he remained firm in his stance. The neighbor then requested to borrow his key to make copies for herself and others, which he declined. Even when she offered to pay for the copying, he refused.

Although the key unlocks a shared area, allowing people to make unauthorized copies of his key could have consequences should keys fall into the wrong hands.

Since this interaction, the once-friendly rapport with his neighbors seems to have cooled. Casual greetings and small talk have dwindled.

One neighbor, who regularly shares food from the local food bank with everyone, has stopped including him in her rounds. While he wasn't particularly interested in the food, he noticed the break in this routine and is concerned about potentially souring his relationships with the other tenants.

Should he have allowed his neighbors to copy the key to their shared hallway as requested, left the door unlocked as they asked, both, or neither? What do you think? Comments are welcome.

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