The first thing to consider is the reason for being locked out of your apartment. If the landlord closed the doors intentionally, you deal with them by solving issues between you legally. If you lock yourself out by mistake, you can break the door to gain entry. You could also get in through the window if it’s open.
What To Do If I Locked Myself Out Of The Apartment By Mistake?
Every day people find themselves in this situation. They lock their apartment, forgetting their keys inside. After spending a whole day at work, it is unpleasant only to come back with no apartment keys in your pockets or bag. The worst moment is when you futilely search non-stop for them until you decide to face the facts. This feeling is discouraging.
No one leaves their houses prepared for a lock-out. In this case, below are some ways you can use to deal with such a situation;
Call The Property Management.
If the time for your lock-out falls between work hours, you can visit the management offices of the premises. Some landlords keep spare keys with them for maintenance and repairs. You might be lucky if they held a spare key. The problem comes in when they do not have one. In this case, the only way they can help you is by calling a locksmith for you.
The only time they cannot do this is during off-working hours. Even if the leasing office has a spare in most apartments, they must charge you. Costs for these favors range from $30-$100, depending on your location.
Look For Another Way Into The Apartment.
Some people tend to leave their windows open when going out. In this case, you are the lucky one as you can easily get in through the window. Even with your door locked, there are other ways in. Some apartments come with a front and back door. Once you realize that you locked yourself out, consider all possible ways to enter the apartment.
See if you can climb your way to them for apartments with balconies. Some places have little leveling off the ground, making them reachable. Another way to get into your apartment other than through the door is using a fire escape. It may seem like a break-in, but you know your reasons for using ‘the exit as your entrance.’
Reach Out To Your Roommate
One good thing about having a roommate is in such scenarios. Even if it means dealing with their dramatic reactions or late comings, you will gain entry in the end. Some are kind enough to drop their activities and get the keys to you. For this reason, it is better to contact them immediately to know where you stand.
Instead of waiting, go to where they are and get the key. Ensure to be polite by promising to return the favor next time. If that is not possible, visit a coffee shop and wait until they get home.
Call A Locksmith
Calling a professional locksmith should be your last option. Mainly it is because you must pay them for their services. On top of that, you might get charged for damaging or replacing the door locks by the premises management. Locksmiths rarely cause damages when unlocking apartments. However, mistakes happen. In such a case, you attract extra maintenance and repair costs. Calling a locksmith is very expensive. The table below shows their prices range depending on prevailing conditions;
|Breaking the door locks||$150-$200|
|After work emergencies||$200-$250|
|Peak housr(7 a.m to 10 a.m)||$75-$150 per hour|
Disengage The Doorknob
Some doors are easy to handle. For instance, taking off a doorknob is something to do by yourself. It doesn’t require much knowledge. All you need is a paperclip and screwdriver. These are items you can borrow from the neighbors, if necessary.
In other cases, you do not need to disengage the doorknob. Doors that come with pin-sized holes at the size tend to be easier to handle. All you do is insert your paperclip into that hole. Ensure it goes into the deepest end, then twist while pushing your door. Magically, it opens, and you can get in without causing any damage.
Remove The Door Hinges.
Like disengaging the doorknobs, removing hinges requires no knowledge. In this case, you need a hammer and a nail. Place the nail on the hinge, then pound. The hinges dismantle and fall when you hit the nail. The downside of this option is that you must call maintenance unless you want to sleep in a doorless apartment, which is unsafe.
Is It Okay For A Landlord To Lock You Out Of The Apartment?
Landlords find themselves in an awkward situation. They lie between changing locks or letting their property gets damaged. It is hard to watch someone destroy your investments, yet you can do nothing. The reason is that the law prohibits landlords from locking out their tenants. They are subject to legal charges for doing so.
Taking matters into their hands is an unlawful act in a court of law. Not even when a tenant failed to pay their rent, used abusive language, or made a huge mess of their property. Landlords end up being charged instead of the tenants. For this reason, they should avoid wrongful eviction, such as locking someone out of their apartment and instead go for the proper legal procedures.
When you lock someone out of their apartment, you end up getting charged even more than what you thought you would lose. For example, some people claim losses incurred, such as food spoiling in the refrigerator. Some go as far as claiming for water and electricity bills left running. In such a case, tenants have the right to monetary compensation from the landlord.
In worst-case scenarios, tenants claim lost possession. Here, a landlord has no option but to pay for it. Both parties can avoid all these charges by going to a neutral law enforcement office. They can settle the differences without involving a judge’s conviction.
How Can You Prevent Getting Locked Out Of The Apartment?
We do not live in a perfect world. For this reason, anyone is bound to forget keys inside their rooms. To avoid getting home to a locked door with no keys, you should consider the following tips;
Give one of your apartment keys to someone you trust. Some people leave a spare key with their parents or people they trust. In this way, they always have a backup when need be.
The other way of preventing getting locked out is by going modern on your door locks. Nowadays, people use smart keys for their doors. In this way, they do not need to carry their keys everywhere. You use your mobile phone to unlock the door for a smart door lock. They come in the form of apps and voice commands.
Keeping a spare key in a safe place accessible from the outside is another way. People pace their keys close to the window. In such a position, they can easily grab them even from outside. When you come and realize you do not have your keys, you use the spare one.
Set a reminder to pick the keys on your phone. There are many options you can use to set a reminder. For example, there is Alexa, Siri app, or google assistant. They all serve the same purpose and can help you prevent locking yourself outside.
What Should I Do To Remember My Apartment Keys?
Losing keys is a deal-breaker to anyone. Going home to a locked door can ruin a day well-spent. To prevent this from happening, use the following tips to help you always remember your keys.
Keep your keys on a hook close to the door. Having them close to a door ensures that you see them before leaving. In this way, it is impossible to forget them for being on sight. You also tend to get a regular spot to hang them.
Tile your keys. Having a noisy bunch of them always reminds you of something. If you do not hear them jiggle in your pockets or bag, you know that there are elsewhere.
Use a larger key chain. Smaller keychains easily get lost as they easily slip off a bag. They are also difficult to spot. With a larger one, you can easily find them without much strain.
Attach the keys to your ID. Who forgets their Identity Cards? Attaching them on your ID means that you will have your keys all through.
There are many ways to help someone locked out in their apartment. There are break-in options, such as disengaging the lock and hinges. Alternatively, you can ask for a spare key from the management. To avoid such a scenario, you could use tips that help avoid forgetting your keys. One of the ways is by using larger key chains. You should also ensure to have a spare key in a safe place that you can access from outside the apartment.