What To Do If Locked Out Of Your Apartment?

Locked Out Of Apartment

Last Updated on July 22, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

If locked out of your apartment, follow these steps:

  1. Avoid panic and assess the situation.
  2. Look for a spare key with a trusted neighbor or friend.
  3. Inform the landlord or property management to assist.
  4. If necessary, hire a professional locksmith to unlock the door.
  5. Be prepared to prove your identity to gain access.

What To Do If I Locked Myself Out Of The Apartment By Mistake?

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 damage 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;

ConditionCost range
Breaking the door locks$150-$200
After work emergencies$200-$250
Peak housr(7 a.m to 10 a.m)$75-$150 per hour
Transport fee$50-$100

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 paper clip and a 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?

Many have faced the daunting scenario of standing before their apartment door only to discover that they are locked out. This can be a frustrating, and often costly, experience. To help prevent such an occurrence, here are some practical tips:

1. Always Check Before You Leave

It seems simple, but the most effective way to avoid getting locked out is to make sure you have your keys before you shut the door behind you. Create a habitual routine of checking for your keys before you leave the apartment.

2. Keep a Spare Key in a Safe Place

One common and practical strategy is to have a spare key. Avoid hiding it in obvious places near the door. Instead:

  • Leave a copy with a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member. This person should live nearby for easy access.
  • Use a lockbox. These can be purchased and installed relatively inexpensively, and they offer a secure method of storing a spare key.

3. Use Smart Locks

Technology can provide solutions to avoid being locked out.

  • Smart or electronic locks can be opened with security codes or smartphone controls.
  • Biometric locks use fingerprint scanning to allow access.

4. Maintain Your Door Locks Regularly

Sometimes a key might get stuck, and you might accidentally break it while attempting to open the door. Regular maintenance and repairs can avoid such instances.

5. Duplicate Keys

Apart from an emergency spare key, you can also carry another set of keys in your purse or bag. That way, you’ll always have a backup.

6. Backup Electronic and Smart Keys

If you use an electronic or smart lock, don’t delete your keys from the memory of your lock system. Always keep the backup keys in the lock system.

7. Professional Locksmith Services

Lastly, preemptively identify and keep contact details of a reliable professional locksmith who offers emergency services.

By integrating these tips into your routine, you can ensure that getting locked out of your apartment becomes a thing of the past. Along with this, safety and security should also be paramount to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to your apartment.

What Should I Do To Remember My Apartment Keys?

Losing keys is a deal-breaker for 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 in 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 to 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.