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  • Landlord & Tenant Law in the UK – Locksmithing

    As locksmiths in London we get asked a lot of questions regarding with the law around landlords, tenants and locks in the UK. Here we’ll provide some answers to the most frequently asked questions.

    Can a landlord change locks without the tenant’s permission?

    Not usually, though you should check your tenancy agreement to make sure that this is explicit. If your landlord would like you to vacate the property, they can change the locks in certain circumstances, but they must also give you reasonable notice of this. Such circumstances include:

    • When you share communal facilities with your landlord or their family (kitchen, bathroom etc.).

    • You’re living there as part of a holiday.

    • You don’t pay any rent.

    • You’re a hotel guest.

    If you are none of the above your landlord must follow a fair process to evict you.

    If your landlord just wants to change the locks as part of a routine repair they have certain obligations which they must meet in order to comply with the law; they are:

    • Meeting health and safety requirements.

    • Making sure you as tenants can live peacefully.

    • Accepting rent.

    • Keeping you informed.

    • Actually carrying out some repairs.

    • They give you a spare copy of the keys to the new lock.

    Locksmith can sometimes be called by a landlord to change locks. If you find that a locksmith attempts to change your locks but you didn’t ask for it and the landlord haven’t ask for your permission to do so; you basically have the right to send the locksmith away.

    Can a tenant change the lock without the landlord’s permission?

    Generally speaking, no, they can’t. There is no right to be able to change the locks and thus exclude the landlord from the premises without “cause”; and just what “cause” means is a legal minefield so it really I best to avoid this. Changing the locks without the landlord’s permission could lead to the following:

    • A breach of the tenancy agreement

    • Committing an act of criminal damage based on the premise that you are altering the state of the property with the landlord’s express consent (even though you aren’t technically damaging the property)

    Tenants can only usually change a lock when one or more of the following are satisfied:

    • The landlord has given you permission to do so (and it is best practice for this to be in writing).

    • If there is a clause in the tenancy agreement permitting you to make such an alternation to the property (this rarely happens; usually there is a clause the other way preventing this from happening).

    • If the tenant feels justifiable harassed by the landlord (if they repeatedly turn up unannounced or at inappropriate times etc.).

    • If the keys are lost a the safety of the tenant has been compromised.

    You’ll need your landlord to agree on a lock change.

    If the keys are lost or when you are locked outside of your home as a tenant you must always contact the landlord to inform them first, before calling to a locksmith.

    Moreover, if it’s a building you may even need the permission of the free hold owner to change locks. Especially when the lock is to the main entrance and when it’s electronic lock that operates with key fobs.

    A locksmith might not also be able to help when the issue is related to keys of electronic locks. So contact the building owner first.

    Who should pay for a lock change tenant or landlord?

    As a general rule of thumb, the cost sits with whichever party is at fault.

    - If the tenant has lost the keys or locked themselves out and requires a locksmith to drill the lock to gain access then the cost of the new lock sits with the tenant.

    - If the locks need to be replaced through general wear and tear, after a burglary or after an eviction the cost of the new lock sits with the landlord.

    - If, in the case of an eviction, the outgoing tenant damages the lock the landlord may be within their rights to withhold some deposit money to pay for the replacement.

    Etc.

    If you call a locksmith, please note that they will normally require a payment on site. Be sure that you can pay the locksmith as they probably won’t accept any “my landlord will pay you tomorrow” or any sort of similar suggestions.

    Must the landlord change the lock when a new tenant moves in?

    The short answer is that they are not obligated to. Often it will be the case that the locks are not changed as long as all keys have been returned when the tenant moves out.

    Really, the only time that a landlord would make this change would be if they are worried about the integrity and honesty of the outgoing tenant. If a landlord thinks that they may have made copies, or if they just feel that they have it in them to be disreputable, this will often result in the locks being changed.

    Can landlord lock out a tenant?

    No, they basically can’t; they must go through the court eviction process and the tenant can remain in the property until the process is complete. If it is decided that the eviction is lawful and fair the tenant will then be given an eviction notice and will have five days to vacate the property else they will face criminal charges. If they refuse to leave then a bailiff agent, local officers from the metropolitan police and a locksmith will return to evict and lock the tenants out of the property altogether.

    Can a landlord enter a property without notice?

    Many landlords think that they can, but the law protects tenants from such behaviour. A landlord can only enter a property with their tenants’ express permission and if they have a valid reason which is clearly articulated to the tenant. Examples of such access may be a gas safety check, a property inspection or to fit a new appliance. Popping round for a shower or a cup of tea is not acceptable!

    Landlords must still give 24 hours’ written notice of any visit, even when it has been agreed. They also must visit at a reasonable time of the day; no midnight property inspections!

    The info in this article does not provide a suggestion for any action you should take or a guarantee of any type. Before taking any action you are advised to talk to a lawful UK solicitor.

    Find more locksmithing related questions and answers.

    For locksmith services in London or more info contact our team of emergency locksmiths in London.

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  • 5 Most Popular Methods Locksmith Use to Unlock Doors

    Locksmiths use different type of techniques for opening doors and locks.

    Some of the ways locksmith may use to unlock your door would be non-destructive while others may cause damage to the locking system. in general, a locksmith should never need to damage the door in order to get access to the property. There are however some exceptions. With certain types of locks for example the locksmiths might cause a small, repairable damage the door so they don’t have to ruin and replace the lock.

    Below are examples to how locksmiths may open your door when you’re locked outside of your home or office.

    1. Lock picking

    Tools: Picking tools.

    How do locksmiths pick locks?

    Lock picking is a non-destructive method for opening locks. It is based on the idea of using special tools to align the pins, leavers or wafers of a lock. Using picking tools, the locksmith will adjust the parts inside the lock to align them into a position that allows the lock to open.

    In this technique the locksmith will use picking tools; which are narrow, sharp tools that are designed to adjust the internal parts of different types of locks .The type of picking tools locksmiths use will depend on the type of lock at hand. Different type of picking tools are used for different types of locks. Some locks have anti-picking mechanisms that interfere with the smooth movement of pins and therefore prevent anyone from trying to unlock the lock without a key. These are normally considered high security locks and usually the more pins and lock has the more difficult it is to unlock it. 

    2. Slide open the night latch

    Tools: PVC laminated cards.

    How do locksmiths use laminated cards to open doors?

    Maybe the most basic technique every locksmith will use when they first arrive at your door is to slide the door open with a unique laminated card that is designed for this purpose.

    The locksmith will slide the laminated card in the gap between the door and frame where the lock is positioned. By sliding the laminated card between this gap the latch of the lock will slide off its place back into the lock and the door will open. It’s important to note that this will only work if your door is slam shut and not actually locked. 

    If you already made your online research about how locksmith unlock doors, you’ve probably came across this very popular method which is suggested by many locksmith websites. These sites often suggest that you can try to opening your door with a credit card. This might work but credit card might also not be flexible enough to slide between the door and frame in order to slide the latch and unlock your door. 

    3. Drilling the lock

    Tools: A Drill, screwdriver.

    How do locksmiths opening doors by drilling the lock?

    Where unlocking the door nondestructively is not an option or when there is a high security lock installed the locksmith will most certainly need to damage the lock in order to gain access to the property. The professional way to open many locks is by is by drilling a part in the lock that prevents it from turning.

    Since drilling is very accurate method it can be used to open a lock while causing damage to the lock only, without damaging the door.

    Experienced locksmiths can usually drill just one whole to remove the pins or a small element inside the lock that prevents from opening. This can be done whether the lock has levers wafers or pins. Genuine expert locksmiths should know exactly where to drill the lock so that the process would take no more than a few minutes. this is true for both basic in high security locks. If the locksmith takes long to open the lock it may be that they haven’t got enough experience or either the could be faulty.

    4. Using a Letterbox tool

    Tools: Letterbox tool, borescope.

    What is a mailbox tool and how locksmiths use it to open doors?

    Letterbox tool is a curved bar which is designed to slide through a door letterbox to reach the interior side of a door and reach the lock to open it. The Letterbox tool assembled from a few parts where the tip of the tool could be replaced to better match to different locking mechanisms types.

    As part of this tool or separately a mirror/camera will be used by the locksmith. Professional locksmiths will use borescope to view the interior part of the door. This is so that they can watch the lock and reach it with the letterbox tool to compromise it from the inside.

    5. Drilling a hole in the door

    Tools: A Drill, Drill bits, screwdriver / special locksmith tools.

    How do locksmiths unlocking doors by drilling a hole in the door?

    This method is only used on a small number of locks. It should only be carried out by professional locksmith that knows exactly for which type of locks it works and how to preformed the work. It should be done accurately so that the damage to the door is minimal.

    It is usually recommended only with high security locks that would cost a lot to replace. As an instance, for opening a high security lock such as ingersoll or Banham lock. If your door is very expansive it might still be worth to drill open and change the lock so that the door stays undamaged.

    The way locksmiths opening doors by drilling a hole in the door is by drilling a small hole near the lock and use some tool to reach the internal part of the lock. The tools can be either a simple screwdriver or special tools that are designed for this purpose.The tools use to hit some part of the lock from the inside that unlock it. In most cases it’s a matter of pulling the lock handle.

    Important note: Non of the information above is a suggestion or reccomandation on actions you should take to open a locked door. It is always reccomended to get help from professional locksmiths before trying to open doors or locks by yourself.

    London 24 Hour Locksmiths is a provider of professional locksmith services for unlocking doors and locks in London. The company's locksmiths has an extensive understanding of the best and latest door opening methods. For more info feel free to keep browsing our site or contact us at 020 8123 8060.

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  • How to deal with an emergency lockout

    Getting locked out of your house can be a dire and stressful situation. It gets even worse when your only set of keys is inside, and you failed to leave a spare key with a relative or a friend. If you have found yourself stranded outside your home wondering where you will sleep tonight, you don’t need to despair! We have compiled a small guide on how to deal with an emergency lockout by using helpful tips, some of which are endorsed by professional locksmiths.

    Step 1: Relax! Look for someone to help you

    The first thing you need to do is try to stay calm. Stressing and worrying will not better your situation. Try to remember where you last saw your keys. Are they inside your home? Did you lose them? Did your keys get stolen? It is essential that you determine where the keys might be before you start looking for a proper solution.

    Next, try to find immediate help. If you are renting your place, you could contact your landlord and ask for a spare key. If you are sharing the apartment, get a hold of your roommates and ask them to let you in or even meet them where they are and lend the key for a few hours. Last, but not least, if you live in an apartment complex, you should track down the manager. Administrators normally have spare keys to all the flats in the building.

    If you intend to call emergency services at this stage note; some countries police or fire brigades might help you when you’re locked out. In the UK and London, only locksmiths will be able to help (unless it’s a life threatening situation). It would also cost less as fire fighters will probably break your door on their way in meaning you’ll need to change it. Read more about finding an emergency locksmith services in London.

    Step 2: Look for an open window

    In case you live alone, and you do not have a landlord or a building manager that can help you get back into your home, you will need to look for alternate solutions. One possible way of re-entering your house is through an open window.

    Common sense tells us to never leave unlocked windows when we depart our homes. However, when you get locked out of your house, a lack of common sense could be your best luck. Try to remember if you forgot to lock one of the windows before you last left your place.

    In the rather fortunate situation where one of your windows is unlocked, you can get back in your home by removing the screen, lifting the window and squeezing through the open space. Try not to hurry your way back in since you can injure yourself by hitting the furniture or other household items. Also, if you have pets inside the house, you might want to call them first as not to startle them, especially if they are guard dogs.

    Important note: Don’t risk your health. If you don’t have an open window, if you live on a high floor or if trying to access through a window at your property consist of any injury risk, look for alternate methods.

    Step 3: Use a laminated card

    This method will reminisce scenes of breaking and entering from the movies, but with the right card and a bit of dexterity, you might be able to re-enter your home with a credit card. In fact, any type of laminated card will do because it is more flexible than plain paper or cardboard cards.

    Keep in mind that this technique of dealing with an emergency lockout will only work if the door has spring bolts. Here is what you need to do to get back into your home:

    • Place the card where the latch is, just between the frame and the door.

    • Gently push the card inside and wiggle it a bit to flex the latch

    • Bend the card away from the doorknob and push yourself onto the door. Your bodyweight should

    displace the latch together with the pushing of the card.

    You might not open the door from the first attempt, so keep trying a couple of times. If you succeed, you might want to consider changing your locks in the near future, since any burglar could repeat the same process when you are not home.

    Step 4: Call a locksmith

    When everything else fails, you should consider calling a local locksmith. Professional locksmith services for emergency lockouts can get you back into your home safe and sound. Sometime without even damaging the locks or the door. For an additional fee, they can also change your locks and provide you with enough spare keys to avoid this type of situation in the future.

    Why you should leave it to the professionals

    Making your way back in the house after an emergency may bring you a particular feeling of success and relief. It might also make for a good story to tell your friends. However, attempting to force the entrance to your apartment might damage the door, the hinges and the lock. Eventually, you might end up paying more for repairs than for the fee of a professional locksmith.

    London is home to thousands of locksmith businesses that thrive on unlucky or distracted people who are left locked out. A quick Google search will reveal the services of several companies near your place. Most of these firms offer 24 hours locksmith services that can solve your tricky situation even in the darkest hours of the night.

    How to choose the best 24 hour locksmith service in London

    When you pick a locksmith service, take a second to read some of their online reviews. Other people’s experiences can help you determine if the company that you will call for help will better your situation or do you more damage than good.

    Make sure to understand exactly what service the locksmith is going to provide you with. Find as much details as you can about the task at hand and products that the locksmith is intend to deliver.

    Note that some London locksmiths are lacking the necessary experience and tools. Some others "so called" locksmiths in your area might even have malicious intentions so if a locksmith tells you they will provide you with a lock that comes with only one set of keys, that’s already a sign of warning.

    So look online, ask questions and verify in every way that is available to you who is that locksmith you’re going to trust for providing the service.

    A 24 hour locksmith service should be an industry expert that solves your problem in record time and for a reasonable fee.

    To save some hassle and troubles you can follow this article with tips on how to find the best locksmith near you.

    How a locksmith gets you back into your home?

    A professional locksmith may take between 20 minutes and a full hour to reach your place, depending on the company’s location and on how busy is their schedule. On arrival, the expert will identify the problem and provide you with several solutions, again, depending on the nature of the lockout.

    For instance, if you locked yourself out and the key broke inside the lock, they will most probably be able to extract the key out of the lock. If you then don’t have a spare key to use they’ll replace the entire system and provide you with a new set of keys for it. If you merely forgot your keys inside, the locksmith will attempt to unlock the door without damaging the latch. In case they discover a fault within the lock, they should recommend a few replacement options for it.

    How much does a 24h locksmith cost?

    Depending on the number of services provided by the 24-hour locksmith, in London you could pay anything between £50 and £120. Most London-based companies in this field practice an average price of £60 for emergency lockouts.

    You might also want to check if the service that you approach charges by the hour. In that case, your final bill will correspond to the amount of time that the locksmith spends on location plus the replacement parts that were used in the process.

    How urgent is your emergency lockout?

    When you are stuck outside your home without keys or ways of getting back in, calling a 24h locksmith service is preferable to calling emergency services. The London Fire Brigade spends almost £2 million per year on emergency lockouts. Furthermore, a professional locksmith will do less damage to your door and the lock than the firemen who will be tempted to remove the entire door altogether.

    Avoid getting locked out of your home in the future.

    Once you get out of a tricky situation like an emergency lockout, you need to establish a strategy to avoid getting locked out of your home in the future. Here are some tips that will help you keep your lock and door undamaged:

    • Make a habit out of ensuring that you have your keys with you at all times when you are outside.

    • Keep an eye on your keys when you are in public, and avoid leaving your bag unattended.

    • Share some sets of keys with your family and friends, or with a trusted neighbour.

    • Keep a spare set of keys in a locked safe at a storage facility.

    • Call your locksmith whenever you notice a problem with the lock or the latch. Early prevention can save you from an emergency lockout and a hefty replacement.

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  • 6 Things You Should Consider When Choosing an Emergency Locksmith

    Sometimes, it is the smaller things in life that we tend to take for granted. The same can be said for the locks on our doors and our windows. These small mechanisms that get used every single day protect our possessions, home and family from the outside world and leave us feeling safe and secure.

    But what happens when a lock breaks? What can you do if your keys snap? Who do you call to replace an old lock?

    Locksmiths up and down the country plays an important role in our home security and in keeping us safe. But choosing the right locksmith can be a time-consuming task. Especially in built up areas such as London, there is a wide choice of locksmiths. In fact, there are so many emergency locksmiths that finding the right one for our needs can at times seem a bit daunting.

    So, when looking for a locksmith, here are 6 things you should be looking out for:

    1. The Type of Services You Need

    The services that a locksmith can provide are vast and varied. Locksmiths are skilled and experienced in making (and at times defeating) locks. They can provide keys for your doors and windows. It is important to find a locksmith for your exact needs. Here are some examples of the services a good locksmith in London should be able to provide you with:

    - Repairs – Over time, wear and tear can play a massive part on your lock and they can often become damaged. A locksmith can either repair old locks or perhaps renovate them to modern standards. Locksmiths can also fix and repair locks that have been damaged in other methods too, such as deliberate damage during a burglary perhaps. Locksmiths can fix the lock. Some locksmiths can also often provide new doors and frames.

    - Emergency Services – ever been locked out of your house? It is never ideal! Professional locksmiths will be able to open the lock with no damage to the rest of the door and help you gain access to your property. They might even open the lock without having to damage it. They can then also fit a new lock for you. Of course, no-one ever plans to lock themselves out of their home therefore it is a good service to keep in the back of your mind for when you need them. See the rest of the tips below on what to look out for when choosing an emergency locksmith.

    - Key Cutting – lost keys or damaged keys can always be a massive pain. Locksmiths can replace lost keys or even make duplicate sets of your current keys should you ever need them.

    - New Locks – as mentioned earlier, over time locks can fall into a state of ill-repair. Sometimes, a new lock can offer a higher level of safety and security. Any locksmith should be able to fit a new lock for you. Professional locksmiths should also have in stock the highest of standards of locks keep you safe and secured in your new home.

    2. Does it Feels Right?

    It doesn’t matter what business you are in; customer service is always vital. Imagine being stood outside of your home, locked out, trying to take shelter from the rain; you want to be able to speak to a friendly and helpful locksmith whom can put your mind to rest. Customer service can go a long way. If you are on the phone to a locksmith whom “doesn’t feels right”, be sure to move on and try another number.

    3. Is it a Local Locksmith Service?

    Of course, you want your lock to be fixed as soon as possible. If you are locked out of your home, you want a locksmith that is close to you to reach you quickly. Choosing an emergency locksmith near you can do wonders in the quality of service. However, that being said, if your local locksmith is not quite up to scratch, it is sometimes worth looking a little further afield to get the service you need.

    4. Experience

    Locks can come in all shape and sizes. London especially comes equipped with locks of every shape, size and make. Choosing an experienced locksmith can trust that not only your lock will be fixed to a high standard, but also that the locksmith will be able to identify the problem quickly and swiftly. The last thing you need when trying to secure property is a locksmith that don’t have the right skills or products to properly secure your home.

    5. Reliability

    A good locksmith should be as reliable as a good solid lock! It doesn’t matter if you are stuck and are looking for an emergency locksmith, or if you are carrying out some planned maintenance, the lock smith you choose should be someone you can rely on.

    Of course, if no-one close to you is able to recommend anyone to you, then a quick internet search can help you find the right locksmith for your needs! And with the internet now filled with honest and truthful reviews it should be easy to find a good, reliable and trustworthy locksmith.

    In our experience, if you want to find a good reliable locksmith in London, always look out for 24 hour locksmiths that are member of a locksmith organisation and has good reviews online.

    6. The Locksmith Prices

    As with anything in life, cost plays a major part in anyone’s hunt for a good emergency locksmith. It is very easy and tempting to go for the cheapest locksmith you can find. However, do take into account that you do very often get what you pay for. A good locksmith would usually cost at least the average market price. In London, the prices for labor of a reasonable 24 hour locksmith would normally start at around the £60 price mark. Here is some more info about what 24 hour locksmiths in London are expected to charge.

    You have to remember, a lock protects your possessions, your home and your family. Take these into account when considering the cost of your locksmith and pay someone that can protect you well.

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  • 11 Tips for Choosing the Best Locksmith in London

    The process of finding a London locksmith would be pretty similar to finding a locksmith anywhere else in the world. There will be however some differences that you should pay your attention to when looking for a locksmith in London. We’ll try to discuss most of those in this article. The major differences would be related to factors that can differ between a big city and a small town.

    When discussing the finding of a locksmith service we are referring to a search that will be mainly based online. Therefore, make sure you have a connection to the internet while going through the process. Also, the search engine you should be using for the purpose of finding a locksmith in London is Google. Other search engines might be suitable to search for locksmiths elsewhere in the world but for London Google is your engine.

    1. Knowing the task ahead

    Locksmiths in London vary hugely in terms of their areas of expertise and specialisms. Some offer key cutting services, some only work on domestic properties, some offer safe opening services and some work solely on vehicles. So from CCTV to lock replacement, you really need to have a good understanding of what you need and where to look for it. If you require more than one service, list all of your needs on a piece of paper. Once done with listing your needs start with the next step of looking for a business that provides them all.

    2. Finding your expert locksmith

    Now that you know what the problem is, it’s time to start trying to fix it! If you’re searching online for locksmiths you need to ensure that you are using the right keywords and phrases to get the best possible results. If you need a deadlock to be changes, search for “deadlock replacement in London”. If you’re locked out in the middle of the night search for “24 hour locksmith in London”.

    3. Need a fast response? Search local!

    If you do, searching for a locksmith in London might not be the best option for you. Try being more specific when it comes to location; whittle it down to “Hammersmith” or “Kew Gardens” etc. an “emergency locksmith in Croydon” will get to you a lot quicker than any generic London locksmith.

    4. Need a London locksmith late at night?

    Not all locksmiths work outside of normal working/office hours, so if you need a locksmith late at night or early in the morning you’ll need to search for a 24/7 London locksmith. If you search for an “emergency London locksmith” this might give you results for a locksmith that works as an emergency locksmith but only during day time. Here is some more about how to find an emergeny locksmith in London.

    5. Get a quote

    So by now you should have a bit of a shortlist of locksmiths to help you with your specific job. Cost is an important factor to most people so if you are speaking to potential locksmiths make sure that you get a quote and describe the job at hand fully so they can’t change you any extra; you don’t want any nasty surprises just when you think that the job is done.

    6. Cover yourself

    Not in glory, certainly not in custard. Make sure the job comes with a warranty. Any London locksmith worth their salt will offer a not questions asked warranty on the work that thy carry out for you; if they refuse this is a clear sign about the quality and durability of their work. If there’s no warranty, don’t use the locksmith. A standard warranty for works in the London locksmith market is usually for at least 1 year.

    7. Insurance

    Any reputable locksmith will have fully comprehensive business insurance; if they don’t, run a mile! The most essential one is a public liability insurance to cover 3rd party injuries. If the locksmith has an insurance that covers more than just that, even better!

    Other insurance can be to cover the damage to a property. If a locksmith damages your home whilst carrying out work they will claim on their insurance to cover any costs. Thus insurance is not only the sign of a reputable locksmith, but also a huge weight off you mind knowing that any damage won’t be an extra expense for you.

    8. Social Proof

    Looking for “London locksmith reviews” on Google can help reveal locksmiths that has positive or negative reviews. It is still pretty easy in 2018 to fake online reviews and therefore don’t treat reviews as a scientific proof. If the locksmith has only 5 stars reviews this may well mean that reviews are faked as well. Read through the locksmith’s reviews and get a sense of whether they seem real or not. You can do so by inspecting who left the reviews and if they seem like genuine people.

    9. Brand of products

    You should always check what brand of lock your locksmith uses. If they have a good choice and a wide selection this is a good sign as it generally means that they use the right type of lock for in the right situation. They aren’t interested in just selling the most expensive lock, they want to use the one which best meets the needs of their customers.

    10. Know who you’re letting in

    Always ask to see some ID; after all you are inviting a total stranger into your home or business. Always insist on photographic ID just to be doubly sure.

    11. And finally…

    …be nice! Locksmiths work very hard. Often during unsociable hours with little or no sleep. Therefore, try to understand if they’re being a little bit ratty. Any allowances like putting the kettle on would be super kind and might even award you with a fair extra discount; a nice cuppa goes a long way especially at 3am!

    Thanks for visiting out site. Feel free to get in touch for more helpful tips or anytime you need the services of an emergency 24 hour locksmith in London.

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