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momma2boys

Keys to our House

68 posts in this topic

New to the group, but I've been a lurker for a while as I love to see different people's perspectives on things.  My husband and I will be moving into our new home in a couple of months.  Historically, my in-laws have had keys to our house...not because we gave them a key, or they asked...but simply because my FIL took it upon himself to make a copy for themselves...which was a bit irritating, but I let it go as this happened shortly after we were married and I didn't want to rock the boat.  So with the new home on the horizon, I really want to take this opportunity to set some boundaries as far as access to our home.  I am an extremely private person and don't feel that it's necessary for each of our family members to have keys to get into our house.  This normally wouldn't be an issue for me, because I do trust my family (both FOO and IL's), but my IL's feel that since they have a key they don't have to wait for us to let them in, they just walk on in.  With a second baby on the way, I really don't want my IL's just walking in because I don't answer the door when they show up to our house unexpectedly, or when I don't answer the door quickly enough. 

 

I figured sitting down and talking to them about this wouldn't go over very well...because then they may think I don't trust them.  I've asked my husband if he is fine with not giving out keys to all of our family for security reasons (so many keys were lost with our last house) as well as for general privacy...as this is our house, and only our house.  He seemed a bit irritated at the request, because he doesn't have a problem with family having access to our house, but in the end he agreed since it was something I wanted.  So with their first visit to our new home, which will probably be a 7-10 day visit (it's never shorter than a week!), I would have a house key marked "VISITOR" and just explain to them that we're not making copies of our house keys for everyone to have, but will instead have a key for them to use when they visit, as I want visitors to be able to come and go at their own will if we're not home, especially during the work week.  I also feel inclined to tell my FIL not to make a copy, but worry this would come across as rude.  Do you think this will be an effective way to get the message across without making it personal?  Should any family member be "upset" that we won't be giving them free access to our house?

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Do not give them a "visitor" key--your FIL will make a copy. I don't see why family members would be upset at not having a key to your home. They're not paying the mortgage are they? I can't imagine my parents or my ILs just walking into my house with their own key. I would not have a "sit down" with your ILs about this either. Sit downs like you are describing encourage folks who have no business in your family decisions to think that they have a say in your household decisions. They don't. If your ILs bring up getting a key to your home while visiting all you or DH need to say is: "We're not giving out keys to our home." Period. End of discussion. If they ask why tell them: "Because having keys only within our immediate family is what works best for us." Lather, rinse, repeat. Don't JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain) your decision.

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My two AC are both in their 30's.  I do not have a key to either home.  We have had a key to both at one point of time, but they have been returned when they actually lost their own.  I do not care to have another when it is not absolutely necessary.

 

One thought to help prevent any hard feelings, I have seen locksets advertised that you can rekey easily.  They sound like a good idea for rent property, when home improvement crews have finished their job, and after a break-in etc.  I'm sure they are more expensive that others.  If you handed out a key for a visitor, you could simply rekey the lock 'if' you had an fear that your trust had been abused or even if you had been robbed and your key was floating around 'out there'.

 

Even if I had a key to my kids home, I wouldn't use it unless specifically told to do so.  There is no way I'd walk into their home without them knowing I was doing so.  I'd get back in the car, set in the shade or whatever it took until they answered the door.

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It would bother me if anyone just unlocked my door and walked in.  That would mean I didn't know they were coming.  It would scare the socks off of me if someone came in!  That's not fair to you and the others who live in your home.

 

Why would they need a key if you're home?  Do they think you can't get up and unlock the door?  It bothers me.

 

That being said, I have always had keys to my sons' homes and they have keys to mine.  My sons have always had keys to each other's homes too.  None of us use them.  We just have them in case of emergency or in case the homeowner would need the other person to enter for some undetermined reason that might come up.

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I agree with Mrs. Kitty.  There is no reason the ILs need a key to your home and there's no reason to give visitors keys to your home.  It's totally understandable that you would like your privacy.  Polite and reasonable people knock on your door and wait for you to invite them inside your home.  They do not barge in simply because they have a key.  It was incredibly rude for FIL to copy you key in the first place.  I think if you give him a key to use for his visit he will copy it anyway and use it at will. 

 

Reasonable people understand requests not to just walk inside someone's home.  Reasonable people understand and honor requests to knock and wait to be invited inside.  What do you think your FIL's reaction would be if you asked him to not use his key and to wait for you to answer the door?  If you are afraid to tell him for any reason because you fear his reaction then he is not a reasonable person and will not respect normal boundaries.  I think you should just not give him a key.  No discussion is necessary. 

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When we bought our new house five years ago, I gave my mother a set of keys for emergency purposes, she has never used them, ever. 

 

We had a friend stay with us during a difficult period in his marriage, he still has his set of keys.  Now that he is not living with us, he NEVER uses them, if he wants to borrow a power tool or the hedge clippers, he calls DH and asks if he can go get them (we work different hours) and calls my daughters to let them know he will be in the basement.  He would still not use the keys to come in the house if we are home, but we have gone out of town and he will go water the plants, feed/care for the dogs for us.

 

My AC all have keys, they DO come and go at will, but not late at night.  It's a quick way to get hurt, surprising a gun owner at 4am is not a good idea.  lol.

 

If you don't want to give out keys, don't.  IT'S YOUR HOUSE!  On the other hand, I do agree it's only fair if they are visiting for so long to give them a way to get in and out without having to wait for you to come home hours later.  In that case, it's up to your DH to have the convo with them about not making a copy. 

 

xoxoxoxoxo

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Not giving a key to others is a totally reasonable decision.  Especially when the access to a key is being abused. 

 

It concerns me that your husband gave you a funny look over this, being uncomfortable in your own home is an issue that could breed long term resentment in a marriage.  It really is very serious.  I think I would be jumping out of my skin at every little noise if I had an outsider to the household with access to our home and especially so if they abused that access as your Fil has. 

 

I do not think Fil deserves a conversation over this, that only gives him a platform to air an opinion on an issue that is simply none of his business.  There is no reason that a new house means Fil gets a key. 

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Of course if FIL is given a key he will go straight to the hardware store or kiosk and make himself a copy.  Just like last time.

 

Nothing rude at all about DH asking FIL not to make a copy of your housekey... AGAIN. Since he has done it before.  If he hadn't done it before, I could see it as somehow offputting that you'd think he'd do such a rude thing.  But he does it.  So it's not like DH is out of the blue saying "Please don't pee in the houseplants". 

 

But you and I both know even when DH asks him not to, if FIL is given any access to a housekey he will make a copy of the key to HIS SON's (read: half FIL's) house.  

 

So it's one thing for DH to say the words he "agrees" with you that FIL doesn't need a copy of your housekey. It's another for DH to "oops" let it happen anyway, as if "oh well, what else could I do".  So might as well work out in advance what else he can do.

 

So what "prevention" is DH willing to do? The ILs come and stay for 7 days and just don't get a key? If that's such a problem, maybe DH can take off from work and entertain the guests he invited. 

 

What if DH insists FIL is given a "visitor" key... then what "consequence" will DH agree to when FIL ignores the request not to copy it and copies it anyway?.  Will DH change all the locks and ask FIL to reimburse your family for the expense he incurred you?  No? Hmm, then maybe no key is the simplest solution after all.  

 

 

(There are some kinds of so-called "security" keys marked "do not copy" but I am here to say I have never had trouble getting a place to copy them anyway.)

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Also wanted to add that if your in laws insist that they need to come and go at will (with a key) during their visit, you can suggest the nearest hotel. Hotels give out keys too! So, everyone should be happy then....

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"Please don't pee in the houseplants" 

 

 

 

OMG!!  i ALMOST SPIT COFFEE ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD!!!!  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl: :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  

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I think you (or your husband) are going to have to say something to FIL about the key.  Or wait to see if he does what he shouldn't and do what Sue suggested and get a lockset    He has already  took it upon himself before to get one  key made.  I  wouldn't be suprised if he did it agaln, especially if he was allowed to get away with it the first time.

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Momma2boys, if you have a security system in your new house, you can turn it on and it will go off if FIL let's himself in without your consent. (if you are at home, just set it to stay) Just don't give him the code and it won't take long to nip that habit in the bud. I would suggest DH have a conversation with FIL first, so that he is aware that he would be overstepping a boundary. Of course your DH would have to agree & if DH ever "slips up" and tells your FIL the code, the code can always be changed. Good luck!

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They live far enough away to require a 7-10 day visit and they "drop in" without calling?  Wow, yep no key for them.  I do not know how your DH is going to say it, but it needs to be him and you need to be far, far away when it is said.  Do not have a sit down, bad idea, never turns out well.

 

Why would they stay 7-10 days anyway, I love my own adult kids, but really do not want them in my home that long.

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I have to confess I do have a key to ds house and he has a key to mine, why cause we are both a little add and like to lock our selves out. I don't go to his house and use the key with out him asking me to such as needing to go check on the dog. 

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I figured sitting down and talking to them about this wouldn't go over very well...because then they may think I don't trust them.  

 

I would have a house key marked "VISITOR" and just explain to them that we're not making copies of our house keys for everyone to have, but will instead have a key for them to use when they visit, as I want visitors to be able to come and go at their own will if we're not home, especially during the work week.  I also feel inclined to tell my FIL not to make a copy, but worry this would come across as rude.  Do you think this will be an effective way to get the message across without making it personal?  Should any family member be "upset" that we won't be giving them free access to our house?

 

Sorry, to answer your actual questions:

 

I don't think you should give FIL a key period.  But if you want to then....

 

Since this is sensitive and you're concerned FIL will think you don't "trust" them  (Which is true, by the way. You _don't_ trust them. You shouldn't trust them.  It's not that you don't trust them not to steal your silver.  You don't trust they won't make a key.  You don't trust they'll be polite enough to knock first before walking right into your house.  See? You don't trust them because they can't be trusted... about some things.)  ... so your DH (not you) should tell FIL not to make a copy. DH has known FIL longer than you have and knows how to tell FIL something he won't like.  If FIL accuses DH of not trusting him, then father and son have way bigger issues than keys, and that is not your problem

 

No, this whole "we're not making copies" story is NOT an effective way to communicate FIL shouldn't make a key.  Then he thinks he's doing YOU a favor by making himself a key.  If you give him a key and don't want him to make a copy then DH has to say it directly.  "Dad, we'll lend you the visitor key, but please don't make yourself a copy of our housekey, thanks."  Whatever FIL says, DH just has to repeat a variation of that "I do appreciate that you won't make a copy, thank you." Or even  "I trust you that you won't make a copy."

 

No, no one who's name isn't on a mortgage or lease "should" be upset they don't have free access to a house. It's not even a little bit reasonable to expect free open access to someone else's home.   Unfortunately some people have a real "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine" mentality.  And some people get weally mad when they're told ANY limits.  Such as "Sorry, seven days doesn't work for us, but we'd love to have you visit here for three days."  Some people feel entitled to get whatever they want from you. Particularly when they try to claim being "family" gives them a "right" to what's yours.  And yep, it's likely a man who feels entitled enought to make himself a key without asking first and just barge into someone else's home without knocking will get "upset" when he's not given the control he demands. But.... it's ok if FIL gets upset.  His unreasonable upset is his problem.  Don't make it yours.  (And your husband better not try to make his dad's "upset" your problem, either).  FIL's feelings of "upset" are his own to manage and deal with and get over.  He's a grown up and he can get glad in the same pants he gets mad in.

 

Love Mrs Kitty's hotel suggestion.  If FIL's temper tantrum lasts more than a few hours, you can also suggest he stay in a hotel where he can enjoy some privacy until he sorts himself out and feels better.

 

But most of all like I said, if DH insists on giving FIL a visitor key, then work out with your DH in advance what the consequences will be when FIL copies it anyway.  If you don't set and maintain your boundary, you will be mad at DH for giving you a false lip-service "agreement", and you will be mad at FIL for disrespecting you and overall it will make you have a worse relationship with your ILs.  Then you'll be less far likely to agree to a 7-10 (omg that is sooo long) houseguest visit from them in the future.   "Good fences make good neighbors."

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I have to confess I do have a key to ds house and he has a key to mine, why cause we are both a little add and like to lock our selves out. I don't go to his house and use the key with out him asking me to such as needing to go check on the dog. 

 

That's fine. :)  You each have each other's permission to have a key.  Which this FIL never asked for.  And no one is just barging into anyone's house without waiting for the host to open it.  Which is what this FIL does. 

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If you do do the visitor key idea (which I think you should not do), I would suggest attaching it to a huge wooden spoon or a maybe a pancake flipper (like they do at coffee shops!). So that the key does not become "lost" in FIL's pocket to be copied later.

 

I also think that if you do this, there needs to be a consequence if FIL makes a copy. The consequence should be that he's no longer welcome to stay with you and that your locks are immediately changed.

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It doesn't sound like you said anything to him the first time he made the key.  He might think your perfectly fine with him having one.

If you do say something to him he just might listen and NOT make the key.  He just might do what he is told.  Unless he's had a history of doing that too.  You haven't said if youve had problems like that with him before.

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Is there a way to have a visitor's key made that is coded so that it can't be copied?  I know at our church you can't make a copy of the master key because it is coded.  That way, even if FIL takes it to be copied they won't copy it.  Sneaky but it would keep you from having to confront him and...he would be too embarrassed to admit that he was going to copy it without permission. 

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Yikes...that's like literal boundary-stomping, the boundary being your locked door!!

My parents have a key to our house, my best friend who lives nearby does as well, and so do my next door neighbors and the housekeeper. These are all people who have keys for the convenience of the HOMEOWNER not the key holder! My DH wants us to have fewer keys "at large" but I have a huge paranoia that if there was a fire no one could get in to rescue the puppy if the neighbors didn't have a key.

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This is more from a practical solution standpoint.  We also didn't want anyone to have keys to our house....we had an "emergency" key with the neighbor.  However, when we had guests staying with us there would sometimes be situations where they needed a key for some reason or another.  Rather than give them a "guest" or "visitor" key (which could be copied) we had a guest garage door opener.  Then we left the door from the garage to the house open while they were there.  This worked well for us, because it was very clearly a temporary/guest type thing and in no way gave them permanent access to the house.  "Just drop the garage door opener in the basket when you leave please"....

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Instead of getting a normal lock on your door you could get a code lock. They are really inexpensive and so very nice to have! I had one in my old house and loved it. You can easily set a temporary code for when you have visitors.

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That's fine.  :)  You each have each other's permission to have a key.  Which this FIL never asked for.  And no one is just barging into anyone's house without waiting for the host to open it.  Which is what this FIL does. 

 

 

That's fine.  :)  You each have each other's permission to have a key.  Which this FIL never asked for.  And no one is just barging into anyone's house without waiting for the host to open it.  Which is what this FIL does. 

I know can't believe a parent would think they even have a right to do that

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I like the garage door and "code" key ideas!

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You need to have some more in-depth discussions with your husband about your boundaries with regard to his family. As most posters have mentioned, it's pretty common for family to have keys to each others' homes to use in case of emergency. But, those family members respect each others' privacy and don't treat other people's homes as their own. Your FIL has shown he's not capable of showing you this respect, so he doesn't get a key. He DEFINITELY doesn't get a visitor key.

If your DH had to be convinced that his family walking into his home whenever they want is a PROBLEM, then you need to set some more guidelines with him before their visit. You need to make absolutely sure that DH doesn't give FIL his key during their visit, even if FIL makes excuses about why he needs one. As previous posters said, when FIL asks for a key, tell him that you aren't giving out keys for the home. If he presses, repeat that you aren't giving out keys for the home. Don't get into a long conversation about it or FIL might use MIL and your DH to strongarm you into giving him a key. Your DH needs to stand with you on this issue or it will cause trouble in your marriage. You say you're expecting #2, I'm curious, how have your ILs been with respecting your boundaries with baby #1? Have they barged in whenever they wanted while you're home with your baby? Did you ask DH to put a stop to it, and he refused? I'm just concerned that you're only now trying to set this boundary and you already have one child.

I'm also concerned that you seem to be using the new house as an excuse to be passive about the key situation. Instead of addressing the issue and getting the keys back from FIL before you move to your new house, you've waited until you can just let things "happen." You're not being assertive and telling FIL that he needs to give the keys back; you're just not going to give him new keys to the new house. If you're this scared of upsetting your FIL, then your DH is not doing his job as your husband. He should be handling any BS from his family, and he shouldn't let them walk all over you or intimidate you. If you can afford couples' counseling, then go for it to figure out how to get your husband on your side, ESPECIALLY before baby #2 comes. You say your DH only agreed with you because it's what you wanted. I would bet that he'd tell his parents, "You can't have a key to the house because momma2boys said so," and put all the blame on you.

If therapy isn't your thing, then I'd suggest giving your dad a key to the house and telling him to walk in whenever it's most inconvenient for your DH and see how he feels about it. JUST kidding :)

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