Makeshift external lock ideas for interior door?
December 1, 2022 1:31 PM   Subscribe

A friend is moving soon (likely within 6-8 weeks), but is living with a roommate who has shown concerning behavior. This friend needs to take a trip and will be gone for10 days, and would like to lock their room to protect their belongings. The doors have no locks, and the letting agency has refused to add any. A local handyman they contacted estimated 250€ for putting a lock on the door. I'm trying to come up with a makeshift solution for them, and would appreciate ideas.

I'm not particularly handy myself, but I seem to recall years ago when I lived in a house with many people that one person had a sort of external deadbolt lock on their door, which they then could apply a padlock on to and prevent from sliding. I googled for something like this, but didn't find much, probably because I'm using the wrong words. I found this image , where the lock in the middle I guess would work, but can't find this on amazon. The person is located in the UK, if that matters. I should note that the idea is that having any lock will be good (e.g., as a deterrent), not that it needs to be the most secure lock.

Drilling holes in the door & frame should be fine. Any other ideas?
posted by unid41 to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Best answer: Assuming the door has a reasonably modern modular doorknob, you should be able to buy a keyed doorknob that will fit in place of the existing one. Cost will be about €20. Installation shouldn't require more than a screwdriver, and you could swap the old one back before the lease ends.

It would be ugly, but if drilling holes is OK, you could put a simple hasp on the door, and put a padlock in that. You'd probably want a drill to make pilot holes.
posted by adamrice at 1:37 PM on December 1, 2022 [11 favorites]

Does the door open into the room or out of the room?

Does the window in the room accommodate someone friend-sized? Is the window accessible from the outside (ie., ground level or ladder-reachable)? Sliding window or casement?

I recall a story from waaay back involving someone in a similar situation. They had a sliding door to the outside and an interior door.

Interior door was wedged tightly shut from the inside. Dude put down a security stick on the tracks of the sliding door. Security stick was attached to a remote control car with a rope.

By moving the remote controlled car, the security stick could be lifted from the tracks of the sliding door.
posted by porpoise at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, adamrice, the "hasp" concept was what I was looking for.

The doorknob is quite old when I saw it, similar to this style but without the lock on bottom .
posted by unid41 at 1:44 PM on December 1, 2022

That's probably a "mortise lockset", which is about as easily replaced as a modern lockset, though for more money.
posted by flimflam at 1:58 PM on December 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think an over-knob lock thing like this would work -- I'm not recommending that exact brand, but there are other types like this.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:14 PM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I would discourage putting a hasp on the exterior of the door. It's fine to secure the room while away, but it's a safety risk that the bedroom door might be locked from the outside while someone is still in the room, and they would have no means of egress.
posted by hovey at 8:01 PM on December 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

Note that a hasp also won't deter a determined attacker, since the screws are on the outside of the door. If they have 15 minutes of unsupervised access, it'd be trivial to unscrew the hasp from the door or frame.

Honestly, adding a real lock to the door is likely your best option here.
posted by Aleyn at 10:21 PM on December 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

Anything you can screw on from outside of the room, they can unscrew from the outside of the room. Another vote for a real lock.
posted by gakiko at 4:11 AM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

If they have 15 minutes of unsupervised access, it'd be trivial to unscrew the hasp from the door or frame.

Unless the hasp tightly covers the screws when locked, which many do. Of course, this shifts the attack point to the hasp itself (an angle grinder) or the door (a crowbar or sledge).

it's a safety risk that the bedroom door might be locked from the outside while someone is still in the room

The friend can remove the hasp when they get back from their trip.
posted by zamboni at 5:31 AM on December 2, 2022

Yeah, here's an example of a right-angle hasp where the hasp itself covers its screws. This would probably be more usable on a doorframe anyhow.
posted by adamrice at 7:21 AM on December 2, 2022

Any other ideas?
Valuables in the bedroom closet, & secure lock on that closet. Reasoning: Locking the closet won't prevent use of the bedroom window as a method of egress in the event of fire; troubled roommate wouldn't pass by bedroom door, see prominent exterior lock, and become creative, but would need to enter bedroom itself to notice lock; possibly fewer issues (damage to closet door with random lock vs. damage to bedroom door with specifically forbidden lock) with letting agency when friend moves.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2022 [5 favorites]

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