What To Do If You're Locked Out of Your Apartment

By Ashley Paskill on July 2, 2023

Living in an apartment means you have to keep your doors and windows locked. When you live in the dorms, there is usually a Resident Assistant available to let you in if you do not have your key to your room. With an apartment, things are a bit trickier if you forget your key. Unfortunately, it is bound to happen at some point. Staying calm and knowing how to handle the situation when it arises will help ease any nerves that come up.

Call your landlord

For those who live in apartments without a doorperson, consider calling your landlord to have them open your apartment for you. This is possible if they live nearby. Even if they live near the apartment, they may charge a fee for having to come out to unlock your apartment for you. This will be explained in your lease, so be sure to read the lease carefully.

Ask the doorperson

If you live in an apartment complex with a doorperson, see if they can let you in. Apartments usually have a spare key that can be used to let you in if you are locked out. The doorperson should be able to get this key for you and let you into your apartment if you are locked out. Even if they are unable to access the key, they may be able to reach out to your landlord to see what they can do.

Ask a roommate or a neighbor

You may have to call your landlord or an emergency number if you get locked out. However, if you also do not have your phone or your phone’s battery is dead, you will have to wait for a roommate or a neighbor to come by to borrow a phone. If you have a roommate, they will be able to unlock the door as they should have a key of their own. You can call them and either meet up on campus or meet at the apartment.

Image: Kindel Media via https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-a-key-7579401/

Call the leasing office

Your leasing office likely has a master copy of all the keys they have ownership of. They will be able to come out and help you get back into your apartment. Just like with your landlord, they may charge a small fee for having to come out and let you in. However, if it is your first time getting locked out, they may waive the fee this time.

Find an alternative entrance

While you should lock all your doors and windows when you are not home, you may have forgotten to lock them. Check to see if you can get in through an open or unlocked window. There may be a back entrance to your unit that you forgot about that you can access. Also, check with friends and neighbors to see if you gave them a spare key that you forgot about.

Call a locksmith

This should be a last resort as it is expensive. Calling a locksmith will allow you to unlock your apartment, hopefully without damaging the lock. Try to avoid changing the lock entirely, especially without consulting your property manager or landlord first. This route is the most expensive, especially if it is in the middle of the night or on the weekend. However, if you have exhausted all of your other options, this may be the only choice you have left.


Before this situation even occurs, check to see what your lease says about what to do if you are locked out of your apartment or even how to prevent it. There may be fees associated with a landlord coming out to let you in. If your apartment has a smart lock, there may be a number you can call to have your apartment unlocked remotely so you can get in.

One of the best ways to take care of this situation before it happens is to give someone you trust a spare key. Whether it is a neighbor or a friend or classmate who lives nearby, having someone you can easily call if you are locked out of your apartment can help fix the situation quickly. If you have a roommate, the extra key will go to them but you may have to wait until they are done with class to be able to get the key.

Check with your landlord or your lease to see if you can install a smart lock or a lock box. This will help eliminate the need to constantly remember to take your key places. You will just have to remember a simple code. Get a lock or lock box that you can program your own code into so you can create one that you know you will remember. Your landlord may even utilize an app that has a keyless entry in an app. Ask your landlord or property manager to see if these options can be used.

Being locked out of your apartment may seem scary, but knowing what steps you can do to prevent it and overcome it can help you remain calm.

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