Locked Out House - What To Do | Find Emergency Locksmiths
Request a quote
Review a Trade

Have you completed a project recently? Let your tradesperson know how they did.

Advice Centre

Get Inspired! Check the latest industry expertise and read insider tips from our vetted tradespeople.

Search For A Trade

We interview and vet all our tradespeople to ensure they meet our high standards.

Join Checkatrade

Join us and benefit from the millions of potential customers who use Checkatrade to find reliable tradespeople.

Advice Centre

Grow your business! Check out top tips and expert advice for boosting your reputation online.

Login To Your Account

Edit your profile, view callback requests and ask for feedback from customers.

Locked out of your house? Here’s what to do

There’s nothing worse than getting home after a long day out only to realise you’re locked out of your house. Whether you’ve lost your keys, you’ve left them inside, or your key has broken in the lock, you don’t want to be left sitting on your doorstep for long. Here’s what to do, and when you should call a locksmith to get you in.

Need to call an emergency locksmith right now?

Find an emergency locksmith near you below:

See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

I’m locked out of my house, what do I do?

Right now, you probably have that dreaded feeling in your stomach after realising you’re locked out of your house.

First things first, don’t panic!

Instead, follow these simple steps.

Get hold of any spare keys

Do you have a neighbour with a spare key, a housemate or a landlord? Contact them to see if they can let you in.

Check other doors

If you left the house in a rush and forgot your keys, you may have forgotten to lock other doors too.

Just be sure never to force a door – this could damage the door and be dangerous to boot.

Check first-floor windows

If there’s a window that’s unlocked and big enough to crawl through, remove the screen carefully and check what’s on the other side. Always proceed with caution if you decide to climb through a window, as it could be dangerous and you wouldn’t want to hurt yourself

If you’ve followed the steps above and you’re still locked out

Your best bet is usually to call a locksmith. Not only will they be able to get you into your house quickly, but they’ll usually be able to do so without damaging your locks or doors.

See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

Locked myself out of my apartment or house

If you’re locked out without a key (perhaps you’ve lost your key out and about or you’ve left it in your apartment or house), there is a trick you can try.

Use a credit card

If your door has a standard spring bolt, you’ll need a hard plastic card like a credit card to get in. Make sure you use a card you don’t need as unlocking a door in this way can damage it.

  1. Insert the card between the frame and the door where the latch is and hold it at a right angle to the door
  2. Wiggle the card around and bend it away from the doorknob while you lean against the door
  3. Slide the latch back to get the card between the latch and the doorframe – this should allow you to push the door open

If this works, make sure to call a locksmith immediately to get more secure locks fitted – if you managed to get into your house like this, anyone else could too!

How to remove a broken key from a lock

Another reason why you might be locked out of your house is if your key has broken off in the lock.

In this case, even getting hold of a spare key won’t be much help.

To get in, you’ll need to remove the broken key from your lock.

  1. Spray the lock with a solvent such as WD-40 (this is just to help get the key out and shouldn’t be used to maintain your lock)
  2. Slip a thin tool like a jigsaw into the lock opening to drag the broken bit of key out (you could also use a DIY tool like a hairpin, tweezers or Swiss army knife)
  3. If that hasn’t worked and the broken key is protruding from the lock, you can superglue a longer item to the exposed part of the key. Then, use this as a handle to pull the key free when the glue sets

A locksmith would usually use a tool called a broken key extractor to remove a broken key from a lock. You can buy one online or from a hardware store for as little as £5 – it might not help you this time but it could be handy to have one around in case you get locked out again!

locked out of house what do I do

Locked out of the house with the key in the door

If your door has a common double cylinder lock, you won’t usually be able to open it from the outside if someone’s left a key inserted on the inside – even if you have your key handy! This can be an issue if someone’s injured inside your house and you need to get in to help them.

Usually, you’ll need a locksmith to help you get in.

However, if your door has a large, old-fashioned lock, you might be able to get access:

  1. Slide a piece of newspaper under the door
  2. Push a long object such as a screwdriver or skewer into the lock and move it around to dislodge the key
  3. Once the key falls out onto the newspaper below it, slide the newspaper back under the door to retrieve the key

Locked out of house help

If none of these DIY fixes work, you’ll need to get a professional locksmith to help.

We recommend hiring a locksmith from the offset – not only are they easy to get hold of in an emergency, but they’ll also give you the best chance of getting into your home without damaging your door or your lock!

Locksmith prices are around £65 per hour during normal working hours.

For an emergency locksmith to come out in the same day, it’ll be more around the £150 mark.

We’d say the extra cost is probably worth it – it’s better to be tucked up in bed rather than being locked out in the cold at 2am!

See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

How to avoid getting locked out of the house

In an ideal world, instead of figuring out how to get back into your house, you’ll avoid getting locked out in the first place!

Here are some tips to help.

If you keep forgetting your key inside or losing it…

  1. Hide a spare set of keys (make sure they are in a safe space as you do not want to make your house vulnerable)
  2. Give your neighbour a spare key
  3. Get a smart lock (one that pairs with your phone)
  4. Put a sign near the front door reminding you to take your keys with you
  5. Get roller rim locks fitted so that you have to turn a key to lock your door
  6. Use door restrictors to stop the door from unexpectedly closing behind you

To prevent your key from breaking off in the lock…

  1. Get your lock installed by a professional
  2. Lubricate your lock at least once a year
  3. Replace your lock if you notice it isn’t working as smoothly as it was
  4. Don’t use excessive force to unlock your door
  5. Only use your keys for what they’re intended (they’re made from soft metals and can get damaged if you use them to open parcels or tins of paint, for example)
  6. Keep your keys in a separate compartment in your bag so they don’t bounce around too much
  7. Avoid placing your keys in a back pocket so you don’t sit on them
  8. Don’t leave your keys in direct sunlight

Key takeaways

  • Try to get hold of a spare key if you’re locked out
  • A locksmith will be able to help you get back into your house without causing damage
  • Lubricate your lock regularly to prevent your key from breaking or getting stuck in the lock
See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

Tell us what you think

Please note, you cannot leave a review, or contact a tradesperson by commenting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What others think of this article:

No comments yet!

Also in this project

Locksmith prices for 2024

Whether you get locked out of the house or you just want to upgrade your door locks, a locksmith can help. Here, we'll break down the average locksmith prices in the UK and the common jobs you might n...

Read more
Smart lock cost guide

If you're looking for a way to keep your home safe using the latest technology, a smart lock system could be the answer. Smart lock installation will transform your home security by swapping tradition...

Read more
How can I be sure my home locks are secure enough?

With an increase in domestic burglary, it is important to ensure your locks are secure and not vulnerable to break ins....

Read more
How to remove a broken key from your lock

So your key has broken in the lock? Here's a step by step on how to remove a broken key from your lock....

Read more