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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

Locked Out Of Your Apartment? 10 Tips To Help You Avoid An Apartment Lockout

by Hugo Reed February 1, 2017

If you are reading this and you are currently locked out of your apartment, I hope I can be of some assistance. I am pretty sure that there are a countless number of people who have, at one point in time, found themselves saying “I’m locked out of my apartment, I need some help!”. It is nothing to be ashamed of because it has happened to the best and the worst of us. There are a plethora of reasons why you might find yourself locked out of your apartment, and more often than not, these reasons help you figure out a way to ensure that you are never locked out again.

For instance, you might be locked out of your apartment because you were having a hectic morning and grabbing your keys slipped your mind. In other instances, you might have your apartment key on you but your lock might be worn out, and this led to your key breaking off in the lock. The truth is, this stuff happens! It is extremely delusional to walk around as if you may never be stuck in an apartment lockout because that type of thinking will cause you to be ill-prepared should the moment ever arise.

The best way to avoid being stuck in an apartment lockout simply involves considering it a possibility before it ever happens. This will give you the luxury of preparation and it will ensure that you are never locked out of your apartment. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some tips that will help you avoid an apartment lockout. If you are currently locked out of your apartment, maybe these tips will help spark an idea you can use to get back inside.

1. Always perform a routine double check

A routine is essentially a sequence of actions that people perform regularly until they become ingrained as habits. If you think about it, everyone has their own little routines that they may not even be conscious of because these actions are performed so often. For instance, I drive the same route to work every morning, like clockwork, and I rarely ever divert from that path. In doing so, I realized that I’ve taken that route so many times that I just automatically do the same thing every work day. If you’re wondering how this applies to you being locked out of your apartment, keep reading.

It is important to make sure that you develop a habit that forces you to check if you have your keys. It is crucial to do this every single time you leave your apartment (even if you are making a quick run downstairs to pick up your pizza delivery). This habit will ensure that you always have your keys on your person, no matter where you go. It might sound unnecessary, but many apartment lockout situations have been avoided by a routine double check. One of the best ways to facilitate this routine is to have your keys close to your door. That way you have a visual reminder every time you step out. In lieu of this, you can always craft a handy DIY sign that literally says ‘GRAB YOUR KEYS’ or ‘CHECK FOR KEYS’.

Visual cues are an extremely handy way to foster daily routines, and they are much more influential on your habits than you think. Actively making it a point to always perform a routine double check that you have your keys, is one of the best ways to help you avoid any lockout.

2. Utilize a spare apartment key

For some odd reason people don’t really value spare keys as much as they should, and this doesn’t always apply to apartment keys. If you were to conduct a quick survey on how many people around you had duplicate car keys or spare apartment keys, you will most likely find that a lot of people don’t have either of these things. A spare key is pretty much meant to be your backup key for when situations like apartment lockouts occur. Chances are if you ever find yourself locked out of your apartment, and you have a spare key, you will never have to reach out to anyone for assistance. Not only does this save you time, it also saves you money in the long run because you will not have to call a locksmith and tell them about your emergency apartment lockout situation.

If you make it a point to have some spare keys made, you will realize that it is actually quite easy to get a spare key (which makes me wonder why more people don’t have them). A majority of people utilize their local hardware stores like Home Depot to get spare keys made. If you happen to know a local locksmith in your neighborhood, they can most definitely help cut you a spare key. Spare apartment keys will most likely help reduce the number of times you have to say ‘I’m locked out of my apartment’ within any given year.

3. Find a key buddy

In my time on this Earth, I have realized that some things are a lot easier to handle when you have someone to share them with. This is where your key buddy comes in. A key buddy can be a friend, relative, or another tenant that you trust. The purpose of having a key buddy is to simply have another person, aside from yourself, that has access to your spare key. However, the key thing to consider here is that your key buddy has to be someone you trust because you do not want to compromise your home security by giving your spare apartment key to the wrong person.

34% of burglars use the front door, so you do not want to facilitate this number by giving your spare apartment key to someone you do not trust. If you ever happen to lose your key or forget it inside your apartment, you will not be stuck locked out of your apartment if you have a key buddy. When choosing your key buddy, ‘trust’ is not the only factor that you have to pay attention to. It is important to also pay attention to how accessible they are at any given time of the day, as well as their proximity to your apartment. In this regard, if you find a key buddy that is another tenant in your apartment building, you will likely always have a way of avoiding an apartment lockout.

4. Talk to your landlord about master keys

Master key systems are widely used in apartment buildings, so there is a chance that your landlord has a master key that gives them access to each apartment unit. In order to avoid being locked out of your apartment, it is always important to discuss master keys with you landlord at some point in time (the sooner the better). This conversation will allow you to verify that they have a master key, and it will also give you some insight into why they might need a master key.

In most cases, landlords utilize master keys to perform maintenance checks and security upgrades, as well as appraising a unit before a new tenant might move in. Having a discussion that revolves around master keys with your landlord doesn’t only help you avoid being locked out of your apartment, but it helps you better implement some security measures. Now that you are primed with the knowledge that someone else has a key to your apartment unit you can upgrade your home security accordingly.

5. Find a local locksmith ahead of time

In this instance, when I say ahead of time, I mean that you should always try to connect with the right local locksmith before you actually locked out of your apartment. This process will save you a lot of time and stress and will also ensure that you do not have to sift through locksmiths that are out to scam you. Locksmiths are extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with an apartment lockout, and chances are if you already have one that you know and trust, you will never really have to deal with an apartment lockout.

In addition to this, locksmiths will be able to provide you with handy information that will likely reduce the chance of you ever being locked out of your apartment again. Furthermore, locksmiths are very knowledgeable when it comes to home security, locks, and every possibly related item. It is best to take advantage of their knowledge and learn about why doors are important to security and how you can increase your overall apartment safety by making some minor improvements to your locks and doors.

6. Upgrade your apartment unit locks

Upgrade Locks

One of the leading causes for apartment lockouts is the fact that people always seem to misplace their keys or leave them behind. In this same vein, one of the best solutions is to negate the use of traditional keys and transition to something that might not require people to have to carry their keys around with them all the time. You may be wondering what magic I am talking about over here, I am referring to the kind of locks that you can unlock with your smartphone. Investing in smart locks is a great option. In this day and age, people pay much more attention to their smartphones than they do to their keys. There is a much higher chance that you will lose your keys before you lose your phone, so why not make your smartphone your new set of keys?

In addition to having some amazing new locks, your apartment will now be primed for some other home automation devices, and it will set the groundwork that you need to turn your apartment into a smart home. So not only will you avoid getting locked out of your apartment, you will also be living in the future. This process will essentially help give you more control over your apartment and might even increase the scope of your security. In most cases, many of these smart locks might be easy to install but if you are ever unsure of how to go about it, make sure you call a locksmith to help with your smart lock installation.

7. Pick up lock picking as a hobby

The illustrious art of lock picking is not as popular as it should be, but its popularity is definitely growing among the general public. There are many reasons why you should take up the hobby of lock picking, but none more important (in this context) than the fact that it will help you avoid being locked out of your apartment. If you are able to adequately master some basic lock picking skills, you will pretty much have a spare key (refer to point 2) and lock picking tools to choose from if you are ever without your key. In this instance that you do not have a spare key, or you lost it, or your key buddy is nowhere to be found, knowing how to pick locks will prevent you from being locked out of your apartment.

However, if you do happen to get into lock picking and make it your newest hobby, you need to be aware of the fact that practice plays a major role in how good you become at lock picking. If you take up the hobby but never test your skills on any practice locks, there is a high possibility that when the time comes, you will not be able to pick your way into your apartment no matter how hard you try. Put time aside to buy a padlock like the Master No. 3 so that you can practice and get better.

8. Get familiar with all the access points to your apartment

One phrase that people tend to use a lot (especially if you tell them that you are stuck in an apartment lockout) is “are you ever really locked out?”. As annoying as it might be to hear in the moment, they are not technically wrong. There have been many instances where people call a locksmith, call their key buddy, or simply attempt to break their apartment door down, only to realize that they could have climbed through a window (if you’re on the ground floor) or used a fire escape.

It is important to make sure that you familiarize yourself with the layout of your apartment complex so that you take into account all the possible entry points that you can utilize if you ever find yourself locked out of your apartment. Not only does this help you in the event of a lockout, but it also gives you an idea of the entry ways that burglars can exploit. Discovering these entry points will help you assess the security of your apartment and aid you in fortifying any weak points.

9. Coordinate proper lock maintenance with your landlord

As I stated earlier, losing your keys or leaving them behind are among the leading causes of apartment lockouts. However, there are times where you will have your key but still find yourself in the midst of an apartment lockout. This can occur when you neglect to properly maintain the locks to your apartment. A lock that is not working is often the reason you find that you are locked out of your apartment.

I am not saying that the blame rests entirely upon you, but if your landlord does not seem to have a plan for scheduled maintenance, make sure you reach out to discuss the potential of having a maintenance schedule. Properly maintaining your locks will negate the need to ever call a locksmith to help you with a broken key extraction. Much like anything else, locks begin to wear down with time and continued use, so it is important to maintain them so that your keys don’t break off in the lock.

10. Make sure your apartment key is always readily accessible

Last but not the least, it is crucial that your key is always readily accessible. This might seem redundant or not worth including, but it needs to be said. It is important to have your key stored in a way that makes it easy to reach, while still keeping it in sight a majority of the time. One of the best ways to do this is to put your apartment keys on a keychain or to attach them to another important item that is always on your person (like a state ID).

If your key is always readily accessible, you will most likely not lose it. That means the chance of you being locked out of your apartment is greatly reduced. Sometimes people call a locksmith when their key isn’t even lost, it is merely sitting under a pile of stuff in their bag. It is crucial to make sure the key is readily available so that you do not run the risk of ‘losing it’ even though you haven’t really lost it and you are not truly locked out of your apartment.


At this point, there isn’t much left for me to teach you my young reader padawan. I hope that in following the points outlined above, you greatly reduce the number of times you find yourself in an apartment lockout. Better yet, I hope you never find yourself locked out of your apartment ever again. On the flip side of things, if you do happen to utter the words “I’m locked out of my apartment”, I hope that this post helps you find a way back in or at the very least shows you a course of action to pursue.

It is important to always keep in mind that your apartment security should be the big picture that you are focusing on, even if you are stuck in an apartment lockout. If you’re wondering what I mean by this, I am simply saying that you should not pursue any of these tips to the detriment of your apartment security. For instance, just because utilizing a spare key will aid in avoiding a lockout does not mean that you should leave your spare apartment key under a doormat, especially when you plan on being gone for several hours. Play this smart and always keep your apartment security at the forefront of your mind.

Category: Residential, Safety & Security

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