A key exchange service called Keycafe just launched in Seattle, letting homeowners store their keys at a nearby café to give access to their homes to cleaners, contractors and visitors through vacation rental websites.
Keycafe is at 27 cafes in the city. Participating cafes in our neighborhood include Couth Buzzard Books, 8310 Greenwood Ave. N.; Beth’s Café, 7311 Aurora Ave. N.; and Take 5 Urban Market, 6757 8th Ave. NW.
Homeowners pay a monthly fee for the service. For security purposes, an RFID fob is attached to your keys, without your name or address attached or even stored anywhere at the café. The fob tracks your keys and sends you a text or email when they are checked in or out.
Through our key exchange service, homeowners can store their keys at a nearby participating café and then remotely assign access to whomever they need to let in. Homeowners digitally track their keys and know who has their keys or where they are stored. It is like having a digital lock without the need to install any hardware or download any software. The service has proved to be popular among users of vacation rental websites like Airbnb, especially with all of the traveling that goes on during the holiday season. Other users have let in cleaners, contractors and real estate agents.
The company is based out of Vancouver, Canada, and is also at cafes in New York and San Francisco.