Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling that descends when you realise you're locked out of your home? In a perfect world, you'd have a spare key left with a neighbour. However, if that's not the case, you might find the following suggestions helpful.
Ask for help
If you have a rented property, contact your letting agency (during working hours), or your landlord. Both will have a spare key for your home and will be able to let you back inside. Flats in large apartment complexes often have supervisors who will hold spare keys to residents' properties, and you could also find help here.
Spring bolt locks
Although this won't work with deadbolts, an old-style standard spring bolt locking system and doorknob can sometimes be circumvented with a little ingenuity and a credit card.
Choose an old card that you don't mind destroying. Hold the card vertically to the door; slide it into the frame above the door knob and lock. Push down on the card whilst wiggling it and bending it away from the door jamb. Sometimes this will work on old doors by sliding a loose latch away from the door, effectively unlocking it.
Note that if you are able to get into your home using this method, it's time to call out a locksmith to have a more robust locking system installed!
Take off the door knob
This method of entry may work if you don't have a deadbolt fitted to your door. You'll need a screwdriver or a flat piece of metal, such as an unfolded hairgrip, for this method.
Remove the mounting screws from the door knob – they are usually located just below or to the side of the knob. Put the screwdriver into the lock hole and apply pressure to it. Whilst pushing with the screwdriver, twist the doorknob with your other hand. This could take a few minutes but the doorknob should come off. Prise off the plate to reveal the lockset underneath.
Now all you need to do is to push back the locking mechanism to unlock the door.
For future eventualities
Having finally gained entry to your house, you should put plans in place to avoid the same problem occurring in the future.
- Leave a spare key with a neighbour or close friend who lives nearby.
- Invest in a key-safe box and place it somewhere not too obvious outside your home.
- Have a digital lock-safe installed outside your door with a spare key inside it. Make a note of the combination and keep it in your wallet or purse, just in case you forget it!
- Consider having an automated locking system installed that can be controlled from your smartphone.
Getting locked out of your home is never a good experience. You may be able to gain entry by using one of the methods suggested above, but it's always a good idea to have an emergency locksmith's number stored in your phone, just in case!