January 13

How To Fix Sticking Door Lock

Is Your Door Lock Or Latch Sticking? Here's How To Fix It.

A sticking door lock or latch can be a nuisance. Fortunately, you can fix the problem yourself with just a few household tools. As a tenant, you are responsible for keeping your residential rental clean and well-maintained. 

As part of your Tenancy Agreement, undertaking minor repairs and maintenance to the property includes checking and fixing a sticking door lock. You may think fixing a sticking door lock or latch seems like too much trouble but in fact, it is simple to do. Of course, you can call a contractor to do it but this will likely cost £80 upwards. 

The video and the process below are general guides for checking and fixing any door locks or latches that stick.

What Causes Door Locks and Latches to Stick?

There are several reasons why door locks and latches may stick. The most common causes are worn locks, worn keys, doors that are out of alignment, and age. 

Let's take a closer look at each of these causes. 

Worn Locks

Over time, the locking mechanism in your door may become worn. This can happen if you frequently use your key to unlock your door or if you live in an area with high humidity levels. If you live in an older home, it's also possible that the previous owner never had the locks replaced and they're simply worn out. 

Worn Keys

Just like with locks, keys can also become worn over time. If you notice that your key is starting to look bent or misshapen, or its sharp corners and edges blunted, it's likely that it's due for a replacement. Worn keys are more likely to cause sticking or get stuck in the keyhole than new keys since they're not as smooth. 

Doors That Are Out of Alignment

If your door isn't hanging properly on its hinges, it may cause the lock to stick. This is often caused by hinges that have loosened over time or by changes in the weather. For example, if there's been a period of heavy rain followed by a dry spell, the wood in your door may expand and contract, which can cause the hinges to loosen. 


If your door is older, the latch may simply be sticking because of age. In a new residential rental, this shouldn't happen. In an older place, it might. 

Tools And Products You’ll Need To Unstick A Door Lock Or Latch

There are only a few tools or products needed to unstick a door lock or latch: a lubricant that is made specifically for door locks such as 3-in-1 oil, a cross or Phillips screwdriver, a small file, and something to clean out the latch hole on the strike plate (such as a flat screwdriver or toothpick). 

You should avoid using WD-40, linseed oil, or sewing machine oil since these can gum up the door lock and its inner mechanism and make the problem worse. Instead, use an oil or lubricant that is specifically designed for door locks and latches that stick. 

Steps For Fixing A Sticking Door Lock Or Latch

  1. Check the strike plate position. The first step is to check whether the strike plate is positioned correctly. The strike plate is the metal piece on the door frame into which the latch fits when the door is closed. 

If the strike plate is misaligned, it can cause the latch to stick or not latch at all. Follow these steps to correct it. 

  1. Remove the screws that hold the strike plate in place. You will need a screwdriver for this step.
  2. Once the screws are removed, pull the strike plate off of the door frame.
  3. Take a look at how the latch fits into the strike plate. If the latch is sitting too high or too low and does not slide smoothly into the strike plate hole, you will need to file down or build up the appropriate area so that the latch fits snugly into the strike plate.
  4. Once you have filed down or built up the appropriate areas, reattach the strike plate to the door frame using screws. Be sure to screw it in tightly so that it does not come loose again.
  5. Test out your newly positioned strike plate by closing and opening your door several times. If the door latch lands on the strike plate smoothly without sticking, you've done it correctly. 
  1. Squirt 3-in-1 oil into the latch and work it back and forth a few times. Once you've applied enough oil, operate the latch back and forth several times so that it has a chance to spread evenly over all of its moving parts. 

Then wipe away any excess oil with a cloth so that it doesn't attract dirt and debris. 

  1. Check for debris around the strike plate's latch hole. The final step is to check for any debris around the strike plate's latch hole. 

Debris such as dust, dirt, or cobwebs can build up over time and may cause sticking. Use a toothpick, a paperclip, or another sharp thin object to clear away any debris that you find.

Make Sure Your Home Is Safe By Checking And Maintaining Your Door Locks And Latches

A sticking door lock is not only annoying, but it can also be a security risk. If your door lock is sticking, it's important to take care of the problem as soon as possible. Performing regular maintenance on your door locks and latches is important to keep them functioning properly. If you do find yourself with a sticking door lock or latch issue, you now have the knowledge and steps to fix it. 

But if you find that fixing a sticking door lock or latch has not been successful in keeping it in working condition, please contact us on 01522503717 and we will be able to send out a contractor. However, if the repair needed falls under your responsibility as a tenant then you will be charged for the work. 

Reminder That You May Be Charged - Where our contractor has arranged a time with you to attend and you postpone, cancel, or don't show up or where it is your fault for the appointment not proceeding you will be responsible for paying the call-out charge for the contractor and potentially any restocking fee for parts. Where the fault, issue or damage, is put down to your or other tenants, permitted occupiers, or guests' actions, you will be responsible for paying for the repair. These terms are already part of your Tenancy Agreement.


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