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I will be installing an August WiFi lock in the deadbolt ABOVE these photos.

The lever at the bottom is attached to a Schlage mortise lockset that I have identified as one of the L9000 series (circa 2011). I have tried different variations of inserting the key and turning at various angles to trip the lever lock to an "unlocked" position -- but that doesn't work. Turning the key without moving the handle DOES retract the latchbolt, but does not result in unlocking the mechanism.

Any ideas how to get this bottom lock to not remain LOCKED from the outside? There is no "thumb-lock" on the back of the door or in the narrow edge where the mortise set is located.

Any other solutions to deactivate this bottom lock (since the door lock moving forward will only need to be the top deadbolt, not shown in pix)? Note: this is pretty safe - I'm on a very high floor in a high-rise condo with secured entry (guard and electronic).

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  • Is there master keying in your building? May 30, 2022 at 4:01
  • Try Emtek.com. Terrible website but great customer service. Give them a call.
    – Lee Sam
    May 30, 2022 at 4:04
  • Also, does turning the key without moving the outside handle retract the latchbolt? May 30, 2022 at 4:14
  • There is no master keying for the building (owner-occupied condos). Adding Info about turning key to explanation above.
    – Tonya Long
    May 30, 2022 at 20:01

1 Answer 1

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You can't get what you want...

First off, the reason why your latchset's behavior seems quirky to you is because it's a storeroom function latchset, where the key is used to open the door from the outside, instead of relying on the handle to open the door. Yours likely has an anti-vandal (Vandalgard™) function on it, as well, which would explain why the outside handle moves but does nothing.

That said, the behavior you want isn't something you can legally have. You see, the entrance doors to multifamily dwelling units (apartments and condos alike) have a rather important job to do, namely holding back smoke and flames in case the building catches alight somewhere. However, they can't do that if the air pressures and breezes generated by the fire simply push them open, so IFC 705.2.4 (and NFPA 80, the fire door standard) require that the door latch closed whenever it shuts:

705.2.4 Door operation

Swinging fire doors shall close from the full-open position and latch automatically.

This means that your plan to "dog" or "hold back" the latchset on your door and rely on the deadbolt as the sole locking and latching means is a dead end, smart lock or no.

but you can get what you need

However, this does not mean you cannot have a smartlock on your door. While Schlage does make the LE series of products that provide a one-for-one replacement for your existing L-series mortice latchset, given that you've already gone a different route, there is still an option open to you.

In particular, you need to convert your existing latchset to a passage set that doesn't require a key to open from either side. This provides you with latching functionality that's independent from the deadbolt while leaving the deadbolt as the sole locking means. This then lets you fit the August to your existing deadbolt. It'll require what's basically a swap of the guts and the exterior trim on the latchset, though, so you'll need to have a locksmith do it for you.

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