What to Do When Locked Out of Your Apartment


Almost everyone has been afraid of locking themselves out of their apartment. Whether your keys are right inside on the counter, left in the bathroom, or lost between the sofa cushions, there are several steps you can take to get into your apartment and prevent the situation from happening again.

What should I do if I am excluded from my apartment?

Before you panic, take a breath and weigh your options. Check your surroundings to make sure you are in a safe location. If not, go for one. This is especially important if you have locked yourself in after dark or in the summer when there is a risk of heat stroke. You can now begin to find a way to get inside.

Find another way

The fastest, and possibly cheapest, answer to getting your apartment locked is to find another way to get inside. Double check if you may have given your spare key to someone – a cleaner, pet sitter, or even a neighbor. Did you or someone you live with hide a spare key nearby? If you are on the first floor, you can also (safely) check if you have left a window or back door open. If you live above the first floor, you may be able to check the emergency exit.

Contact the owner or rental office

If you realize that you are stranded out of your apartment during normal business hours, you should be able to contact your landlord or rental office for assistance. This can be done over the phone or by walking to your on-site management office. Homeowners tend to keep a spare key in case of an emergency. They can either lend it to you or let you into your apartment. Most resorts also have an emergency maintenance number for times when you can’t reach the rental desk or you are locked out after hours. Keep the maintenance number in your contacts for such situations.

Be aware that access to a spare key or emergency maintenance assistance may incur costs. Depending on the terms of your lease, the fees for this service can range from $ 25 to $ 100. If this seems difficult for you, you might want to give your spare key to a friend while you think about it.

Contact a locksmith

If you are unable to reach someone who owns the property, contact your landlord, or find another way in, the next step is to call a locksmith. A professional locksmith is trained and equipped with the right tools to unlock your apartment, with no keys required and, hopefully, damage-free. If a locksmith cannot let you in without damaging the door or changing the apartment door locks, contact your landlord before making any permanent changes that could violate your rental agreement.

How can I avoid locking myself out again?

If you’ve survived your first encounter with the window, the locksmith, et cetera, and want to prevent another one, you have a few options to ensure you have a plan B the next time you’re separated from your keys. .

Leaving a key with a friend is your first line of defense. This will not only give you a plan of action, but also peace of mind, and having a friend can be especially helpful in times of panic. Another option is to keep your spare key in a secret and secure place on your property or in your car, such as in the glove box. For your safety, avoid leaving an apartment key in obvious places, such as under the carpet or above the door frame. Try to use a key cache or a safe outside your apartment and memorize the code so that you can access the spare key at any time.

If a spare key is not possible, some apartments may offer smart locks. These provide keyless entry, which makes losing your keys a problem. Changing apartment door locks can be something worth discussing with your landlord. There are also now a number of devices designed to track your keys, so you can locate them – and know when you forget them – at any time.

Locking yourself out of your apartment is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be too stressful, either. Pass your spare key to a friend and keep your rental agency phone numbers with you in case of an emergency. If you end up locking yourself in again, you know how to handle it.

Are you looking for a new place? Search thousands of apartments for rent on Zumper, and don’t forget to have a spare key handy once you’ve found the perfect spot.

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