Ever get locked out of your own home? If ever you’ve accidentally lost or misplaced your keys or you simply shut the front door whilst forgetting the keys on the table inside, getting back in could be a challenge. Embarrassing as it may feel, there are solutions that can get you back in.
Losing or misplacing keys is a lot more common than many would like to admit. Britons spend an estimated 140 days of their lives looking for lost or misplaced items. The fourth most frequently lost item on the list? House keys.
This step-by-step guide can help you regain access to your property safely and give you some tips so that it won’t happen again in the future.
Locked out of your house: a step-by-step plan of action
If you’ve been locked out of your house, follow these steps to regain access:
- Stay calm: try to remain calm and collect your thoughts. Do you know where you left the keys or did you lose or misplace them? Try to walk back in time in your head to where you may have last left them. Being in a state of panic can cloud your judgment and lead to hasty decision-making;
- Try another door: is there any possibility of entering through a different door that might be unlocked? If you have a ground level window that can be opened, can you safely enter that way?
- Use a spare key: if you’ve given a spare key to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbour, reach out to them to ask them a sensible favour. If you are renting a home or flat, contact the landlord or letting agency to let them know and to request a spare key. If you have a ‘secret’ key tucked underneath a floorboard or in a shed, for example, use that key to get back in;
- Don’t try DIY entry: although it may be tempting, refrain from trying to force the door open as this can damage the door and your property. If the key has snapped inside of the lock, do not try to force the lock open or to remove the key – leave it as-is and let a locksmith remove it safely;
- Find a locksmith: if steps 2-3 haven’t got you back in yet or if you have gotten back inside but are aware that the key was lost, it is important to contact a locksmith at the earliest possible convenience. Most locksmiths in the UK provide 24/7 emergency lockout assistance and can help you regain access using non-destructive methods;
- Verify the locksmith: always take a moment, even if you need fast service from a locksmith, to verify that they are legitimate and not a rogue locksmith. Many rogue locksmiths prey upon victims that are in urgent need of lockout assistance, so be aware of the signs of a rogue locksmith. Locksmiths listed on Rated Locksmiths are vetted and approved;
- Wait safely: once you’ve hired a locksmith to come to your property, you may need to wait roughly 30 minutes to an hour for them to arrive. During that time, try to remain someplace safe and well-lit, especially if it’s late at night, for your own safety. A trustworthy locksmith should always arrive in a branded vehicle and carry identification on their person;
- Future precautions: to avoid any embarrassment or frustration in the future, it’s a good idea to request duplicate keys from a locksmith whilst they’re at your home. Also, consider replacing or upgrading your locks if you suspect the keys were lost as they could be used to regain access to the property in the future.
Do’s and don’ts of being locked out of your house
What should or shouldn’t you do if you’ve been locked out of your house?
What you should do:
- Remain calm and try to remember where you may have left your key and if a spare key is available;
- Try to open a different door or window to re-enter if it is safe to do so and you don’t need to damage your property in doing so;
- Find a reputable locksmith near you by using Rated Locksmiths.
What you shouldn’t do:
- Make hasty or irrational decisions like trying to force the door open or breaking a window or hurting yourself trying to re-enter the property;
- Choose the first locksmith you find online. Many rogue locksmiths spend considerable money on advertising through search engines.
- Neglect to replace your locks if your key was lost and could be traced back to your home. This could invalidate any future insurance claims for burglary if it is known that you didn’t take adequate precautions.
How to choose the right locksmith
Locksmiths aren’t just there to help you open a locked door, but that is by a wide margin their most commonly provided service. A qualified locksmith in the UK can help resolve many home security concerns you may have as well as provide unbiased and fair home security surveys that can keep you and your family safe.
Whether you’re moving into a new home or you need to upgrade your home security with a burglar alarm or CCTV system, upgrade your locks to British Standards approved locks, install window locks, or a wide range of other services, it’s very important to choose the right locksmith for security and peace of mind.
A professional locksmith should be accredited and certified with organisations such as the Master Locksmiths Association or the UK Locksmiths Association, for example, have been DBS checked, offer fair and transparent prices and free quotes over the phone, and provide local expertise and knowledge to secure your home.
When it comes to property lockouts, the vast majority of locksmiths in the UK provide 24/7 emergency lockout assistance for homes and businesses. Naturally, you should always choose a locksmith that is available 24/7 if you’ve locked yourself out of your property after hours or on a bank holiday, for example. Try to choose a local locksmith that has a reasonable response time. Typically, locksmiths that provide this service try to respond within anywhere from half an hour to an hour, but always ask over the phone for an estimated response time.
How to avoid property lockouts in the future
There’s little doubt that being locked out of your house is an experience that shouldn’t be repeated frequently. Whether it has happened to you before or you wish to take precautions so that it isn’t likely to happen, there are some actions you can take to mitigate this risk:
- Ask a locksmith for key replacement and keep spare keys on hand. Provide spare keys to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbour;
- Upgrade your locks to British Standards approved locks, especially if your keys were lost or misplaced and may be used by a burglar to access the property in the future;
- Consider installing a keyless remote entry system that uses a phone app, keypad, or biometrics to let you in. These systems have their own advantages and disadvantages, but at least you won’t need to worry about losing a physical key again;
- Make sure your locks are routinely checked for wear and tear. Old and worn out locks may be more prone to snagging the key and snapping, thereby potentially locking you out of the house. Have your home surveyed by a security professional to inspect for these types of vulnerabilities;
- Use an oversized or brightly coloured keychain for your house keys. This could make it a lot harder to accidentally lose or misplace your keys.
Locked out of your house? Here’s what to do
There’s no telling when (or if) you’ll be locked out of your house, but regaining access doesn’t need to be a hassle. Try to maintain your composure and consider if you can safely access the property via another door or window, ask anyone that has a spare key to let you in.
A dependable locksmith can help you regain access, but even if you do manage to get in on your own a locksmith is necessary if your keys were lost since there is now a possible security threat to your home. Always make sure your preferred locksmith is reputable and avoid the common signs of a rogue locksmith and take precautions against property lockouts in the future by being prepared.
Use Rated Locksmiths for 24/7 emergency lockout assistance
When you’re locked out of your home, you may feel distressed and need urgent locksmith services to get you back in again. Rated Locksmiths makes it quick and easy to find residential locksmiths anywhere in the UK. All locksmiths listed on the platform have been vetted and approved and operate independent, local businesses in postcodes across the UK.
Rated Locksmiths members provide no-obligation quotes and offer genuine and trustworthy services to keep your property safe and secure.