Jul 16

How to Handle and Prevent Getting Locked Out

apartment-key-19When you live somewhere, you always run the risk of getting locked out. Maybe you forget your house key in a different pocket. Maybe you’re taking out the trash and the door shuts behind you. No matter how it happens, being locked out can be a true annoyance and danger at times. By following these tips, you’ll be able to handle this common ordeal and prevent it from happening again.

Assess the Situation

When you’re locked out, the first thing you’ll want to do is assess what’s going on inside. If you had the water running, left the oven on or still have a child inside, you’ll obviously want to focus on getting back in as quickly as possible.

“If the lockout is more than just an inconvenience and being stuck outside could lead to catastrophe, don’t hesitate to break a window. It can be fixed. The most inexpensive repair will be a small window next to the door. Reach in and unlock it from the inside,” suggests Martin Holloway, a security expert with who teaches law enforcement officers how to enter a home.

If the situation is just annoying, you’ll want to follow the next steps.

Contact Your Leasing Office

If you live in a community that has one, the first place you’ll want to contact is your leasing office. The staff should have an extra key on file. If for some reason the office doesn’t have one, make a copy for them to have. Many offices have after-hours numbers you can call in case of situations like this. Be sure to have that number stored in your phone.

Call a Locksmith

Our sources all advised calling a locksmith as a last resort. Many will charge between $60 to $100 per visit — almost as much as replacing a new window. But if you have no other options and need to get into your apartment, give one a call.

Distribute Spare Keys

If you live near a few people you can trust, you may want to consider giving them an extra set in case you forget yours. Just make sure you pick the right individuals. Your friend who travels for work all the time isn’t going to be the best candidate, suggests New York City-based residential specialist Victoria Shatiner.

Hide Your Keys

Storing a spare key in your wallet or glove compartment, or hiding one in a location that’s secure, can be a good idea. You’ll want to ensure that if your key is hidden in a key hider or other object, it’s not in an obvious spot. Don’t place one under the doormat, as many thieves will think to look there. This might not be a good option for you if you live in a building where there aren’t many places tohide your keys.

“If you have potted plants outside, bury it several inches deep. If you’re a renter in an apartment, consider a magnetic key holder that you can conceal somewhere under your vehicle,” says Holloway. Sure, your hands will get dirty, but at least you’ll be back in your home soon.

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