One in five (22%) UK adults possess a spare key to their neighbour’s house, with around a third (30%) admitting that they pop in to check up on things when their neighbours are away, including 10% enter the property without even being asked by their neighbours. This shows that although we trust people with our keys, we don’t always know whether they are using them responsibly.
In addition to leaving house keys with our neighbours, the research reveals we are leaving spare keys with a wide range of people. Unsurprisingly, our partners, friends and family are the people we entrust the most with a spare key, though there are some of us that leave keys with work colleagues, friends of friends and even the builders.
The research we commissioned suggests that we are getting so many keys cut that we struggle to keep track of where they are and what they are for.
40% do not know the purpose of some of the keys they own and almost one in 10 of those surveyed have lost their house keys but not changed the locks, meaning that somebody, somewhere could have access to their home without them even knowing about it.
The survey also looks at how careless we can be with our keys and what we do in the event of losing them. When we aren’t leaving our keys with other people, many of us will hide them in secret locations outside of our house. The most popular hiding places are under a flower pot (14%), under the doormat (12%) and in the garden shed (7%).
Despite our best efforts, there are a number of us who still end up locked out and have to resort to extreme measures to get in. Nearly a fifth (18%) have had to climb through an open window after forgetting their keys, 11% have had to break into their own home and some have even had to sleep outside and wait for someone with a key to turn up (5%).