Crime & Safety

03.17.2016 | 3 Minute Read | By Rent Editorial Team

Now what?

Locking yourself out of your apartment is one of the most frustrating feelings, especially if you can envision exactly where your keys are, hanging on that key hook just inside the door. At this point, there are a few steps you can take to get inside your apartment.

Walk To Your Leasing Office

If you happen to be locked out of your apartment during the business hours of your leasing office – and there is an office on the premises – walk over to the office and tell them about your situation. Leasing offices will always have apartment keys on hand for things like maintenance emergencies, so it’s a pretty safe bet that they will have a copy of your key.

If it is after business hours, and you have no other options, you may need to give your landlord or building manager a call.

Keep in mind that if you go to your landlord, building manager, or even doorman to tell him or her you’re locked out, you may have to pay a fee, typically between $25 and $100 depending on where you live.

Call Your Roommate

If you have a roommate, you may be in luck: Even if you have to wait for him or her to get home, at least you won’t have to take more dramatic measures to gain entry. Give your roommate a call to see when he or she is planning on coming home.

If it’s not going to be for a while, you can either go pick up his or her keys or head to a coffee shop or restaurant and hang out for a couple of hours while you wait. Buy yourself a pastry pick-me-up, and you’ll have a grand time.

Look for Another Way In

If you want to avoid looking up a local locksmith, you can always try to find another way into your apartment. For people who live in high rises or otherwise difficult-to-access apartment buildings, you may be out of luck on this front.

But if you live in a walk-up, brownstone, or other apartment with multiple entrances, get a little resourceful. See if you can find an unlocked window or if you can gain access by climbing up the fire escape. In short, break into your own home.

Find a Local Locksmith

So, you don’t have a roommate, your place is locked down like Fort Knox, and your landlord is MIA. What do you do at this point? As a last resort, you may want to call a local locksmith, who can change out the lock for you and let you in. There are a few reasons this should be your final step, though.

For one thing, if you get your lock changed, your landlord still may charge you a fee, which means you’ll be paying both for that and to have the locksmith change the lock. For another, if the locksmith causes any damage to the door or door jamb, your landlord will likely charge you for that as well, even if it’s just taken out of your security deposit.

For Next Time:

Always Double Check

Everyone has a routine before leaving their house. They may check the stove, oven and other small appliances to ensure they are turned off, close and lock all the windows, and run their pockets/purse for their wallet, cell phone and keys. If you don’t do this yet, you definitely need to start. Make it a habit to always double-check that your keys are on you.

If you have difficulty creating new habits or remembering to perform them, try making a posting a sign on or near your door that tells you to grab your keys. Make it a bright color like red, something that is sure to catch your eye on your way out.

If you don’t already have a set place for your keys, consider creating one. Try hanging a hook for your keys and making it a habit to always hang them there. It might sound far-fetched, but once you’ve locked yourself out once, you likely don’t want it to happen again.

Find a Keyholder

When you get into your apartment (hallelujah!), it’s time to start preparing for the next time this happens. You don’t want to be stuck in this position again – locked out with no way in. So, consider making a spare key and finding someone you trust who can hold onto it for you.

This could be a best friend, a significant other, or a neighbor – just make sure you can trust implicitly that he or she won’t try to get into your apartment while you’re gone or lose your key altogether.

Keep a Spare Key on You

Another preventative measure? Making a spare key that you keep with you at all times. Put it in its own pocket in your purse or wallet, or keep it between your phone and phone case. That way, you’ll always have a way in.

Purchase a Lockbox

If keeping a spare key on you isn’t an option, and you absolutely must hide a spare key somewhere, make sure to not hide it in one of the predictable spots like under a mat or on top of your door frame. Criminals looking for a way in are going to check these spots first. Consider installing or hiding a combination lock box that contains a copy of your key. Combination lock boxes have customizable combinations, so make sure you change the combination to something that you can remember. However, do not use the numbers in your address, or any combination of those exact numbers – that’s too obvious, and is asking for a break-in.


Cleaning & Maintenance | 07.13.2016

Safety Tips: Apartment Maintenance Checklist

Part of your move-in ritual should be making sure that your new place is up to snuff safety wise—and you should
Cleaning & Maintenance | 08.25.2014

How to Deal with a Clogged Toilet

Don't let a clogged toilet turn into a flooded bathroom
Apartment Living | 08.11.2014

Should You Tip the Building Maintenance Staff?

Should you tip your building maintenance staff?