The hi-tech system, which the tenants must use to access the home, would make it easier for a landlord to lock out any tenant who failed to make a rent payment. Images of the fingerprint lock were publicised on TikTok by a self-described social justice warrior, screen name Jay Megan, on her nerdypinkpanda account. In the clip, she writes: “Here is the fingerprint lock they installed to track us…they would lock people out if they were late on rent.”
She also puts on a demonstration for her social media audience, walking through how the lock works.
In a short video, she places her thumb on the door handles, where it is scanned and verified to open the door.
The biometric also has another feature – it records when, and how often, the tenants come and go through their front door.
One of the many concerns raised by local American residents was the worry that tenants could be left homeless in seconds if landlords choose to merely disable their fingerprint access.
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TikTok user RootkitHalo denounced it as “a little thing called illegal.”
Property lawyer Seth Miller described situations like these to news outlet CNET as landlords having a “weapon” to wield.
“I’ve seen cases where landlords resort to extreme forms of brute force to force tenants to leave,” he said.
“These new technologies are a weapon, and landlords will jump at the chance to use them.”
However, this biometric security system wasn’t criticised by all in the social media debate.
Some social media users argued that it would ensure tenants paid their rent and bills on time.
One TikTok user with the screen name Tony Seager said: “Well, I guess you won’t be late on rent huh? You know, one could always buy a house and become their own landlord…”
Another user, appearing only as Clean on the platform, added: “Pay rent and then you don’t need to worry.”
Another with the username woodsmanstark wrote: “that’s an awesome idea. Pay your bills.”
Another user5450065985031, added: “That’s smart! Can you imagine having to pay mortgage on multiple homes and people being able to live there for a year without TRYING to pay?”
The concerns about devices such as biometric locks will be playing on the minds of struggling tenants, as the eviction freeze rolled out during the pandemic comes to an end in many states.