Do Not Rely on Your Garage Door

Do not solely rely on your garage door as the only entry point into your home. If you do, one day you will be locked out. Make sure you have alternate ways to get in.

We recently received a work order from a property management company that stated the tenants got locked out of the home. The tenants that rented the home were complaining because their garage door would not open. They went on to say they waited five hours on a Sunday for a response from the property management company after they submitted a work order. They finally called a locksmith, who drilled out the lock on the back door around 1am in the morning.

We hear this all the time from tenants. They can’t gain access to their home because they locked the keyless deadbolt on the front door and exited through the garage. They come home after a long day to find out the garage door won’t open. Their initial response is to blame the property management company, and they usually want the locksmith fees reimbursed.

If you lock your keyless deadbolt and exit through the garage, you are responsible for gaining access back into the home. This is not the fault of the property manager or the owner of the home. If you are worried about someone entering your home when you are gone, then install a motion activated camera.

Do Not Lock the Keyless Deadbolt

Do not lock the keyless deadbolt and exit through the garage door

Keyless deadbolts on the front doors of rental homes and apartments are designed to be used while the tenant is home. The reason for this is so the tenant has full control over their privacy and a landlord or maintenance worker can’t walk in while they are home. This is typically never an issue with condos and apartments, as the front door is the only exit out of the home. Rental homes with garages attached to the home pose another issue altogether. The tenant locking themselves out of their home.

Do Not Rely Solely on Your Garage Door

The garage door has become the main entry and exit point for most people, especially if you park your vehicle in the garage. The problem with this is the garage door has a lot more moving parts when compared to the traditional front door of a home. If you rely solely on the garage door as your main access to the home without any backup options, you will most likely get locked out one day.

Entry into the home through your garage door should not be your only option. The garage door spring could break when you leave and close the garage door or the power could be out when you arrive home, leaving the automatic opener unusable. The front walk-thru door on a home doesn’t have these issues.

The front door on a home does not require springs, cables, rollers, circuit boards, remotes, batteries, or electricity to open and close. This should always be your main point of entry, and you should always have a physical key that can provide entry. Relying on electronic locks on front doors can also pose a problem if the battery was to fail. Keys are usually provided as back up in case this happens.

If you live in a home, it is your responsibility to make sure you have a reliable access point to enter the home. It is not the responsibility of your landlord or the property manager.

How To Gain Access Into The Home

You have a few options for gaining access into the home. Let’s go over the pro’s and cons of each.

1. Access Through the Garage Door

When someone is locked out, their initial response is to gain access through the garage. Occasionally, you can fish a wire up past the top section and grab ahold of the red emergency release rope. This is much easier when a garage door has windows in the top section, so you can see what you’re doing. The only problem is this does not always work as good as you might expect.

Hole cut in top section of garage door so the red rope could be pulled.

The second option is to cut a hole in one of the garage door sections, which is a terrible idea. The cost of replacing a garage door section is much more expensive than hiring a lock smith to drill out the front door. Furthermore, if you cut a hole in a garage door section that is no longer available, you will end up having to replace the entire garage door, which is very costly.

2. Break a Window

You could first start out by breaking a window on the garage door, which allows you to pull the red rope and open the garage door. This works quite well if the plastic frames on your garage door windows are removable with a screwdriver. Replace single strength glass in that size is very cheap.

If your garage door has press on frames, the cost to have a window replaced can be costly. Some older models of Overhead Door branded garage doors had press on frames that required windows to be installed at the distributor. They were not field replaceable because they needed a jig to hold the section in place while the frame was pressed on.

Breaking a regular window on your home is another option if you can find a small window that would be relatively cheap to have the glass replaced. The main problem with this scenario is you’re having to break glass and crawl through the window, which could end up causing you to get cut.

3. Call a Locksmith (Our recommendation)

Call a licensed locksmith to drill out the keyless deadbolt. Many locksmith companies are skilled at this and have decorative plates they can install on the door to cover up any holes. If you prefer not to see the decorative cover on your front door, have them drill out your back door. This is the safest and normally the most economical way of gaining access into your home.

Stickers Should Be Made if You Experience This Problem

If you are a property manager and continually have this issue, you might want to have stickers made that attach to the inside of the front door by the keyless deadbolt. The sticker could say something like “DO NOT LOCK if exiting through the garage door”. Decorative stickers could be made, so they are pleasing to the eye, but still get someone’s attention. As an owner or property manager, this small sticker could save you a lot of stress.


If you use your garage door as the main entry and exit point of your home, you never know when the day will come that you can no longer gain entry. Having a backup option is critical and will prevent you from having to spend hundreds of dollars on a locksmith. Be prepared so you and your family always have a proven, reliable way of entering the home. It will give you some much-needed peace of mind.

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