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 fees.1 After they open the door, they charge you hundreds of euros.
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 cost of calling a locksmith. For example, Feather’s household insurance covers locksmiths,2 and they speak English. Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) does not cover this.
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 key you use to enter the building). You need permission from your Hausverwaltung to replace a building key.3 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 Hausverwaltung.6 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 dealership.7
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 the keys and all the locks in the building. 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 fault.8
- 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 necessary.8 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 lease can’t force you to pay to replace the locks. That would be an invalid clause.9
Your liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) might cover the cost of replacing the locks.10 This is why having liability insurance is important. Otherwise, it can cost you over 1,000€ to replace all the locks. Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance prices. Feather and Getsafe sell liability insurance that covers lost keys, and they speak English.
Other good advice
- Check if someone found your keys
If your keys are lost or stolen, you might be able to get them back. This guide explains how to find your lost keys.
- Give a key to a trusted friend
If you lock yourself out, you can call your friend instead of a locksmith.
- Get liability insurance
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 it.4 This guide explains why it’s so important. Feather and Getsafe sell liability insurance for under 5€ per month. They cover lost keys for rented apartments, and they speak English.
- Get household insurance
Some policies cover the cost of a locksmith. Use Tarifcheck to find other home contents insurances that cover locksmiths.