Can I Put A Chain Lock On My Apartment Door?

Chain Lock On My Apartment Door

Last Updated on July 24, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Installing a chain lock on your apartment door is generally allowed, but always check your lease agreement and local regulations. Ensure it doesn’t violate any rules. Chain locks offer added security and peace of mind, but consider discussing it with your landlord or property management first.

Can I Put A Chain Lock On My Apartment Door?

Landlord PermissionPrior consent is necessary from the building management or landlord. It may be stated in the lease agreement.
Fire Safety RegulationsThe installation of the chain lock must not violate fire safety regulations in your locale. It must not hamper emergency exit from the building.
Type of Door MaterialWooden doors are usually appropriate for installing chain locks. Metal doors may be difficult to drill for installation.
Professional InstallationTo ensure your chain lock is correctly installed and secure, consider hiring a professional locksmith.
Existing Door DamageInstalling a chain might damage the door or frame, which could be against your lease agreement, potentially leading to penalties.
Security EnhancementA chain lock can provide an extra layer of security. However, it is recommended to have other secondary security systems too.
Local Law RestrictionsSome local laws may restrict the installation of additional locks on apartment doors. It’s important to confirm with local regulations.
Minor Vs Major ModificationChain lock installation is considered a minor modification. However, it might need restoration at the end of the lease if not permitted.

Potential Drawbacks of Using Chain Locks on Apartment Doors

Chain locks are commonly used as an additional security measure for apartment doors. While they serve the purpose of providing a level of protection, it is important to be aware of their limitations. In this article, we will explore some potential drawbacks of using chain locks on apartment doors.

  1. Limited Protection:
    Chain locks are primarily designed to provide a quick inspection of visitors without fully opening the door. However, they offer limited protection against forced entry. The thin chain can be easily broken or manipulated, compromising the security of your apartment.
  2. Vulnerability to Manipulation:
    Chain locks can be easily manipulated, especially by experienced burglars or those with ill intentions. Various techniques, such as using a rubber band or a specialized tool, allow criminals to disengage the chain lock from the outside, giving them unauthorized access to your apartment.
  3. False Sense of Security:
    One of the main drawbacks of using chain locks is that they might provide a false sense of security. Residents may rely solely on the chain lock, assuming it is sufficient for protecting against intruders. However, it is important to remember that chain locks are not designed to withstand significant force or determined intruders.
  4. Lack of Emergency Exit:
    In case of emergencies, chain locks can impede your ability to exit the apartment quickly. They require manual disengagement by removing the chain from the track, which can be time-consuming and challenging during high-stress situations, such as a fire or an intruder threat.
  5. Reduced Durability:
    Compared to other types of locks, chain locks tend to have a shorter lifespan. Frequent usage, harsh weather conditions, or accidental rough handling can easily damage the chain or the track, resulting in decreased effectiveness and potential malfunctioning.
  6. Need for Physical Interaction:
    Using chain locks requires physical interaction with the door, necessitating the occupant to open the door partially to communicate or inspect visitors. This puts residents at risk in cases where the person outside has malicious intent and tries to force their way into the apartment while the chain lock is engaged.
  7. Lack of Integration with Security Systems:
    Chain locks do not integrate with advanced security systems commonly found in apartments. This means that they cannot be remotely controlled or monitored, taking away the ability to incorporate them into a comprehensive security setup that can be managed and controlled efficiently.

How Can You Install A Chain Lock On Your Door?

Door chain locks come in various models, each with a unique finish, and one can choose what matches their doors. Common finishes include polished brass, antique brass, chrome, cast iron, bronze, rubbed brush, and brushed nickel

The following easy steps will help you to install a chain lock on your door;

Buying The Lock

The first step in adding a lock to your door is purchasing what is ideal for you. You can visit your locksmith or local store and compare the different types available. If possible, buy a chain that has a template for installation. 

Collect All The Materials You Will Need

You can remove the lock from its packaging box and read the instructions that come with it. Be sure to find out the type of drill bits and the screwdrivers that you need. You also need to have some masking tape and a pencil with you besides the other items. 

Attach The Template

Use the masking tape to attach the lock’s template (this part is usually not attached to the chain). If your door has a deadbolt, place the template about 3 to 6 inches above it. But, if the deadbolt isn’t there, then you need to position it about 3 to 6 inches above the handle on your door. 

Mark The Points On The Template

Using the pencil, make some marks on the template. While you can see where to place the marks on the template, you may also want to check the instructions to be sure. After marking the door, remove the template. 

Using the right drill bits, make holes for the screws and follow the markings. You will then screw the lock plate on your door. 

Mark The Template For The Chain Mount

Remove the chain mount template from the package and place it on the wall next to the door frame. Be sure to align the template with the lock plate. Using a pencil, make some marks on the template as you did with the first one. 

Drill some holes for the chain mount using the appropriate drill bits, then screw it in. After screwing the chain, you need to try it and ensure that the lock is secure. Check that no one can unchain the lock from the outside and that the door cannot open more than 1 inch when chained. 

What Are The Different Types Of Locks For Apartment Doors?

Different locks are available in the market to provide extra security to your apartment. Most of these items are easy to install and inexpensive too. The locks are also a great choice for DIYers, provided you can work with a screwdriver and a drill bit. Here are some of the examples;

Chain Locks

One of the main examples of security locks that are cheap and simple to install is the chain lock. This tool consists of two parts, namely;

  • A chain is usually attached to the door frame.
  • A stationary piece where the chain inserts when you open the door

Hold the chain piece against the door frame at a comfortable height or about shoulder high to fix the lock. With the help of a screwdriver, insert two long screws into the holes and the wood frame behind the door trim and make it firm. Next, attach the stationary part to the door at the same height as the chain piece.

Be sure to place this part in the open hole where the chain inserts as far away from the door as possible. Use more screws to secure the chain lock, as this will guarantee safety in your apartment. 


Deadbolts are among the sturdiest locks available in the market as they have a thick bolt that slides into the wall. Installing a deadbolt is also simple as you only need a hole saw. Using the template that comes with the bolt, mark holes on each side of the door and its edge. Next, use the right drill bit to make holes and chisel out a mortise. Mount the lock, close the door, and use the deadbolt to mark the jamb at the right height. 

Sliding Bolts

This type of lock is fairly strong for those doors that can swing outward. When you want to install a sliding bolt, follow this procedure;

  • Hold the bolt part against the door, about shoulder high and at the door’s edge. (you can also install another lock near the door’s bottom for added security)
  • Attach the sliding bolt with screws that are sunk into the door.
  • Lift the last portion into which the bolt will insert and let it be the same height as the door jamb. 
  • Before you can sink the screws deep into the wooden frame, it is necessary to ensure that the bolt slides easily. 

Swing Locks

Swing locks look like prongs and hinges and are popular in hotel rooms. These locks, just like their chain counterpart, enable you to open your door slightly to check who is outside. While swing locks are stronger than chain locks, they are only practical for doors that swing inwards. These tools are easy to install and ideal for DIY enthusiasts. All you need to do is follow these simple steps;

  • Close the door and hold the interlocking pieces, like they are locked, about 1 foot to 18 inches above the doorknob. 
  • Place the lock with the swinging arm part on the door frame. Ensure that this portion is near the edge and let the arm extend over the door. 
  • Position the fixed-peg part on the face of the door where the swinging arm can easily close over it.
  • Using a screwdriver, drive some screws into the holes in the door frame on one side. Drive some more screws into the door on the other side to attach them. 

How Else Can You Enhance The Security In Your Apartment?

Several other ways are available to enhance your security if the landlord does not approve the installation of chain locks. They include;

Use Of A Security Bar

A security bar is an inexpensive and easy option that helps to secure your apartment. This bar does not need installation since you only require to place its yoke under the door handle and its other end on the floor inside your house. Since security bars are adjustable, they will work for the majority of standard apartment doors. 

Security bars are strong and durable since they are made of steel. They are also capable of withstanding great forces, making it harder for intruders to get into an apartment reinforced using these tools. 

Using A Door Barricade

Door barricades come in permanent and portable types. The permanent type provides better protection against kick-ins and forced attacks. Door barricades are advantageous to use since they rely on the sturdiness of the floor other than that of the door frame. 

Installing a permanent door barricade is quite easy and fast. You can install the barricades on all types of floors, including stone, cement, tile, and carpet. You will only need to attach the base plate to the floor with screws and then slide the barrier to lock the door. Slide the barricade out with a single motion when you want to open the door

If your lease or landlord does not allow you to drill holes in the floor, then a portable barricade comes in handy. Using this tool is easy since you need to slide its base under the door and then adjust the foot at the hinge leg’s end. For maximum protection, you can combine the barrier with a security bar. 

Installing A Security Camera

If you install a security camera in your apartment (whether dummy or real), it can help to deter intruders. While a real camera is a good option as it records every happening, you may go for a dummy one if you lack enough money. 

Installing A Door Stop Alarm

Doorstop alarms run on batteries and are simple to use as they do not require any real installation. You only need to switch the device on and slide it beneath the door. This gadget is a good deterrent to intruders as it will sound loud when someone attempts to open the door. You will not need to drill or screw the door, and, therefore, no permanent changes will be done. 


You can install a chain lock on your door if the lease allows it. You may also check with your landlord to know if they have any objections. But, in case it is not allowed, you can choose other methods stated above to enhance your apartment’s security.