Locking yourself out happens to everyone. This guide shows you how to get back into your apartment, and what to do if you can't find your keys.

Calling a locksmith in Berlin

If you are locked out of your apartment, you must call a locksmith (Schlüsseldienst). It should cost 50 to 150€ to open a door, depending on the the time. Locksmiths charge more at night and during the weekend.

When you call a locksmith, ask for the price on the telephone. If possible, ask for a fixed price. Call multiple locksmiths if necessary. There are many dishonest locksmiths who charge special fees1, 2. After they open the door, they charge you hundreds of euros.

I personally recommend Albert Schlüsseldienst. I have used them 3 times already. They charge 50 to 90€ to open a door1. AS Schlüsseldienst is often recommended too, but they charge more.

After the locksmith opens your door, you must prove that you live there. You can show your passport or your Meldebescheinigung. Ask for a receipt and keep it. Your household insurance (Hausratversicherung) might cover the costs. For example, Coya's household insurance covers locksmiths.

Replacing lost keys in Germany

Replacing your keys is cheap and easy: just go to any locksmith (Schlüsseldienst) and ask them for a new key. We paid around 5€ per key.

The only exception is your building key (the one you use to enter the building). You need permission from your Hausverwaltung to replace a building key1, 2. The Hausverwaltung will give you a card (Schlüsselkarte or Schließplan) that you must bring to the locksmith. Building keys are more expensive to replace: around 50€ per key.

Some locksmiths will replace your building key without permission from the Hausverwaltung1. They still charge a higher price for it1. We paid 40€. You can also get the keys replaced in Poland1. Your new key might look different. If you move out, you need to give your keys back. Your landlord might notice that one key looks different.

Vehicle keys can be replaced at the dealership1. If the key has a chip in it, it can cost a lot more. You need to bring your vehicle's registration papers to get a new key1.

Do I need to pay to replace the locks?

It depends on what happened to your keys.

When you move out of your apartment, you must give your keys back. If some keys are missing, your landlord can charge you to replace them. This can be very expensive. They can take the money from your Kaution.

If you lost a key, your landlord can sometimes charge you to change the locks for the entire building.

  • If your keys were stolen, the landlord can't charge you to change the locks, because it's not your fault1.
  • If you lost your keys, it depends. If someone finds your keys, but can't find where you live, nothing can happen. If you dropped your keys in a lake, nothing can happen. Your landlord can't charge you to change the locks, because it's not necessary1. If someone can find your keys and find where you live, then the locks need to be changed, and you will have to pay for it.

Your rent contract can't force you to pay to replace the locks. That clause would be invalid1. The landlord can't take your money and not change the locks1.

Your liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) might cover the cost of replacing the locks1. This is why having liability insurance is important. Otherwise, it can cost you over 1000€ to replace all the locks. Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance prices. Coya and GetSafe offer liability insurance that covers lost keys, and they speak English.

Other good advice

  • If your keys are lost or stolen, you might be able to get them back. This guide explains how to find your lost keys.
  • Leave one of your keys to a trusted friend. If you lock yourself out, you won't need to call a locksmith.
  • Get liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). It covers the cost of replacing all the locks, and it costs less than 5€ per month. Liability insurance is the most important insurance to have - 85% of Germans have it1. This guide explains why it's so important. Coya and GetSafe offer liability insurance for under 5€ per month. Both cover lost keys, and offer services in English. If you don't speak German, they are both good options.
  • Get household insurance. Some policies cover the cost of a locksmith. Use Tarifcheck to find a home contents insurance that covers locksmiths. For example, Coya's household insurance covers locksmiths.