lost keyLost key woes? It happens to the best of us. You come home only to find that you’ve lost your apartment key and have no way to get in. Maybe you were at work and left your keys at your desk, maybe you locked your keys in your car, or maybe they just vanished into thin air. No matter how it happened, it’s no fun to deal with a lost key.

First things first: Take a deep breath or three and let that sinking feeling pass — it’s going to be okay. Try to think about the last time you saw the lost key. Retrace your steps if you can. I left my apartment, got in my car, stopped by the gas station, got groceries and drove back home. So the keys must still be in my car or somewhere between my car and my front door.

We realize it may not be as simple as that. If you have a roommate, he or she may be your key to getting back in. Give them a call, as it could possibly save you money if your apartment management office’s policy is to charge for lost key situations. If you’ve been locked out during normal business hours and do not have a roommate who could let you in, stop by the apartment management office for help.

If it’s past normal business hours, try to remember what the policy is regarding lock-outs. Does your apartment management office have an emergency phone number or an after-hours contact number? Often, apartment complexes have someone available after hours who can be reached should you find yourself in the lost key dilemma.

Know the Lock-Out Policy Before Your Sign the Apartment Lease

One thing that can really help to prepare you for lost key situations is to find out what the complex’s policy is before you sign the lease. They should have it written out, and if you don’t see it or if it’s not clear, be sure to ask for clarification. Are there fees associated with getting someone to let you in? Will you be charged to re-key your locks? If you’ve lost your key late in the evening or early in the morning, would there be someone available to let you in?

Spare Keys May Help Avoid Apartment Lock-Outs

You should always check to see what your apartment’s policy is regarding copying keys, but if they allow it, it may be beneficial to make a copy of your apartment key for a trusted friend or family member who lives close by, just in case. While making several copies can potentially leave you more vulnerable to a break-in, giving a copy to someone you trust might really come in handy should you ever be locked out of your apartment.