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so cross

(19 Posts)
phraedd Mon 13-Oct-08 08:15:30

My au pair is leaving to go home on saturday so this is her last week (and she has already been paid for it)

She went away for the weekend with another au pair and woke my husband last night by calling him at 1am (I was at work). She has lost her keys.

She can't remember where. They may be lost in europe somewhere or maybe she lost them closer to home.

Is it fair (or reasonable) to expect her to pay for replacement locks and keys. These are new doors and locks that haven't been in for very long.

I am so is the end of a long list of things that have not been done properly or have been broken / ruined and we have previously just accepted her apology and left it.

This time I am so angry that she could lose a set of keys to the whole house.


LucyTownsend Mon 13-Oct-08 08:24:46

If someone lost my keys to the house I would expect them to replace the locks and the sets of keys for everyone.

It would not be fair to just assume you would replace them because she lost them, she is supposed to be a responsible adult!

Simply Mon 13-Oct-08 08:30:09

I don't know that there is much you can do, really. You can find out how much it costs to get the locks replaced and for new keys but is she really likely to pay for them, from what you know of her? You could perhaps ask for half the cost if it's more likely that she'll stump up that. My sympathies. It is really annoying when they don't look after your things and when the damage is pointed out they'll either shrug (ap1) or say sorry (ap2). It's the hidden costs of having an ap and it is very irritating. Makes me realise that ds (14) and dd (13) are really pretty good kids, though!

FourArms Mon 13-Oct-08 08:42:39

Was there a tag on the keys so that they might get returned to you? I have the card guard tags on all my keys so if someone drops them in a postbox, then they send them back to me. Think Tesco clubcard fobs do the same thing if you've got an address registered with them.

If not, is there anything on the keys which would identify your address? Has she just lost her keys, or whole handbag?

Ideally it would be nice if she paid, but I don't think you've actually got much chance of getting her to.

enduringsurrey Mon 13-Oct-08 08:54:58

Message withdrawn

nannyL Mon 13-Oct-08 09:18:31

its NOT the same circumstances at all BUT I have lost the keys to my nanny house before.... my bosses paid and even if asked there is no way i would have paid...

this is why...

they had had massive building work dne on their multi-million pound house... and the last stage was changing all the locks on the outside doors so they all had the same key...

therefore they got 8 of the same lock ordered and fitted to the 8 outside doors...
then distributed the keys to the lots of people who had the keys to their home including me...

so they gave me the new key on a really flimsy keyring thing (that neither of us thought anything of) and I attached it to my HUGE bunch of keys...

then i did the school run....i go to car on driveway, park outside charges class room, pick her up and drive home to their driveway... when i got hom the key had fallen off of my keyring... i had to pick up older charge later in the day (3 hours later) and there was no sign of it at school /asked in the office etc, it was never found.... so we had to assume the key to their house was somewhere in the gravel of their enourmouse driveway...

therefore all 8 doors with brandnew locks had to have more locks ordered and all the locks changed again... and they were less than a week old shock

I was mortified... ultimately the key fell off my keyring though, crucially i guess i didn't loose my bunch of keys, but the rubbishy keyring they gave me allowed the key to somehow fall off my key ring.

My bosses did not ask me to pay.... if they have we would have been talking 8 door locks and labour for all 8 doors so there is no way i would have paid for that, but they didnt ask me to either.

I think things like that are some of the costs involved of having someone come and work in your home to be honest.

(and when the locks were rechanged we all used really good keyrings, rather than the cheaper rubbishy ones the lock people who must have supplied 15 keys gave us)

The point im making is that i WAS sorry but would not have paid out of my pocket for it

Simplyme Mon 13-Oct-08 11:11:10

Why do you feel the need to change the locks rather than just getting a new key cut?? If there was nothing on the keys to identify them with your house then surely all the locks do not need to be changed. You can ask her to pay for the new key to be cut but seems a bit petty imo. I know you shouldn't have to stump up for all costs but the fact is that a key cutting is not that much, chances are you have more money than her. I'm also sure it was an accident - no one means to lose things they just happen.

I have never lost a set of keys as I am extra careful but I have done a even sillier thing in the past of leaving them in the front door with car keys on too!! Asking for trouble. The fact is mistakes happen and she is an au-pair and they are often young, silly and careless in general. I say it is part of having an au-pair really. Forget it and move on from it espeicially as she leaves this week anyway.

phraedd Mon 13-Oct-08 12:02:55

the keys went missing from her bag that also has our address in it.

She doesn't know at what point they went missing - they could be in england somewhere or abroad but i don't know if the person that has the keys also has the address or not.

NannyL she has lost the whold bunch of keys that we gave her not just one key on a keyring.

2 keys for the porch door, 1 key for the internal front door, one key for the back door, one key for the garage and one key for the bike lock. 6 keys that are now missing for all of the house.

All that keeps my family safe at night when I'm working is those locks. The house can't be locked from the inside as i need to get back into the house in the morning when i finish work. Most of the time, this is before my children and husband are up.

Arfa Mon 13-Oct-08 12:03:07

Without wishing to be too alarmist, there is always the very slight possibility that the keys have not been lost, but taken by someone who knows which house they fit or worse, deliberately given to someone else. It all depends on how much phraedd trusts her AP. That is why, in this case, the locks probably need changing.

gooseegg Mon 13-Oct-08 15:13:28

phraedd - 6 locks! I sympathise. We have had the same occurence with a previous au pair. She took responsibiity and paid for the new lock and keys herself, with a discount from the locksmith, because - like yours - our lock was almost new. The locksmith said he could re-use them and the still shiny remaining keys on another customer.

In future I shall always ask au pairs to leave their key behind if they go out for the evening or if they go away travelling.
(They also only ever have one personal key. All other keys - garage, back door etc stay here)

A spare key can be hidden outside in the garden if she is due back late.

It may be worth considering including something in your contract or written agreement to explain the risks of keeping address and keys together, and also to state that a nominal fee will be charged if an issued key is lost.

My ap has leisure centre membership and is expected by them to pay £10 for a replacement if she loses her membership card.

NewTeacher Mon 13-Oct-08 15:44:46

Why did she have keys for all the doors?

I would restrict keys to the front door only.The other keys should be kept safely indoors and can be accessed once the front door is open.

Not much you can do now I guess and replacing all those locks will be way beyond her salary. I guess its one of those tough lessons to be learnt.

nannyL Mon 13-Oct-08 16:48:08

I dont understand why anyone would have the keys for the whole entire house out with them

i myself carry my front and back door key...
all other keys like my shed / gate / porch etc live in the house and i would NEVER take or let be taken anywhere

the other people who have the key to my house only have the front door key.

i only carry the front and back door keys to my work house too, as do my bosses... again the garage / side door / bike locks etc etc remain on the hooks in the house and dont get taken off the property

i think that given you gave her the whole bunch of keys to every part of your entire house / garden you should not expect her to pay for the whole lot...

instead learn a lesson and NEVER give your au pair / nanny / Yourself more than 2 keys so that if lost you dont have to worry about changing every single lock!

(the only reason I carry 2 keys is because when i was younger and still living at my parents house one day the door lock mechanism broke (while the door was locked) so even with the key we still couldnt get in, hence i carry both keys in case the lock mechanism broke on one of the doors....)

and i hope the front door lock mechanism breaking doesnt co-incide with me looseing my whole bunch of keys! wink

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 13-Oct-08 19:38:52

what a pain

replacing locks is very exspensive doubt that an AP can afford it (but then prob neither can you)

not sure what to suggest tbh

maybe get her to pay half

katieskids Tue 14-Oct-08 03:03:11

Just a thought, would your home insurance cover the cost of new locks? Perhaps it's worth you checking the policy. I know this doesn't answer whether AP should pay, but it would get the locks changed and make the house safe again IYSWIM

phraedd Tue 14-Oct-08 11:28:49

the au pair was very, very apologetic and said (without prompting that she will pay for the locks and keys to be changed as it was her fault that the keys are lost.

She is going to phone the airline and airports today on the off chance that someone has handed the keys in.

We asked that she pay half towards the front door lock and was almost insistent that she be allowed to cover the full cost of everything! She doesn't want us to remeber her as "the one who made us pay for the locks".

We finally managed to persuade her that if the first front door top lock was changed the house would be reasonably safe and so that is the lock we would like her to pay half towards.

We asked her to pay towards the cost as we are hoping that in future she will be extra careful with other peoples keys. After all (as i always tell my children), everything in life has a consequence!

Does that sound fair?

nannyL Tue 14-Oct-08 11:42:31

that sounds fair
especially as she wants to do and and clearly was careless

i didnt and wouldnt in my situation (up above) but then i wasnt negligent

phraedd Tue 14-Oct-08 12:13:37


should read as "SHE was most insistent"

Anna8888 Tue 14-Oct-08 12:14:58

An au pair is supposed to be a daughter of the house.

Would you make your own child pay in the circumstances? If so, make her pay; if not, don't.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 14-Oct-08 13:18:55

sounds very fair

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