Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Double-key deadbolts
will remain for now

Question: I live in Kukui Gardens, which is under HUD (Housing and Urban Development) guidelines. Due to our location in a high crime area, and because we have jalousie glass windows, I feel more secure if I have deadbolt locks that require a key to open from inside the apartment. I am willing to accept the risk of needing a key to exit in case of an emergency. However, I am hearing that inspectors for Section 8 housing (federal housing assistance program) are saying double-cylinder deadbolts are against some building or fire code and that we have to change our deadbolts to single-cylinder locks. This is not right! Can I sign and accept liability for use of double-cylinder deadbolts in my apartment?

Answer: At least for now, you will be able to keep your double-key deadbolts.

The question about locks arose because the complex's management has begun a process to change locks at the 857-unit complex.

"This being about a 35-year-old project and being so huge, we had some concerns about our locks," manager Allen Lau explained. That's especially so because there was only one master key for all the locks.

Current locks are all double-key deadbolts. With some apartments, a tenant can ask for a security screen door to be installed, which also is equipped with a double-key deadbolt, Lau said.

Instead of having one master key for the entire development, the complex was divided into eight sections, and new locks were ordered for each section "so if a master key were lost, it wouldn't be an entire disaster," Lau said.

The same type of locks -- double-key deadbolts -- were ordered.

However, in October the state Housing and Community Development gave Kukui Gardens a "failing housing quality standard," listing the double-key deadbolts as safety hazards.

Inspectors indicated this was also according to HUD regulations, Lau said.

"They requested we replace the double-key deadbolts with a thumb-lock turn," in which a tenant would just use a "thumb turn" to open or close a lock from inside an apartment, he said.

However, there are questions, and Lau is working with state officials to determine "whether there is any regulation or law that requires us to have thumb-turn locks instead of double-key locks."

At this point he's replacing locks according to a tenant's wishes. Some have opted for the thumb-turn locks.

If the word does come back that thumb-turn locks are required, then "we will have to address that with the new locks," Lau said.


To the man speeding on the shoulder of the H-2 freeway, Honolulu-bound, between Mililani and Waipio Gentry, at 6:25 a.m. Jan. 29. You could have seriously hurt or even killed someone who might have been on the shoulder for a road emergency. If the morning rush-hour traffic is too much for you to handle, leave home earlier or, better yet, buy a bus pass. Drivers like you don't belong on the road. -- G.N.


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