Disclaimer: I am renting a house with 4 other people. There is no key for the garage door.

The T-handle is usually aligned vertically. I unlock the garage by simply turning the handle counter-clockwise in one quick motion. Last week I opened the garage door the same way but when I closed it I wasn't paying attention and jerked it in a way where it was slanted horizontally.

I thought I could simply just orientate it vertically again and try to unlock the door but I can't. Again, there's no lock for the garage and I strongly doubt that a key will be needed to open it again.

I've tried forcing it open from underneath but the lock being engaged means its too heavy. I've also tried turning the handle clockwise until I feel resistance but that isn't the issue either.

Please let me know if additional information and/or pictures are required. I can only take pictures of the garage exterior.

To summarize:

  • T-handle for the garage
  • No key is available for the garage
  • I'm trying to force the lock to disengage

I know this is a stupid question but I truly have no clue how I can get it open without accidentally breaking the lock. A similar issue has happened with a previous tenant a few months ago and the landlord just came by and said that the handle needs to be twisted and forced a certain way.

enter image description here

  • 1
    These are pretty trivial to replace. If you have access to the other side, I'd recommend that over getting a locksmith as it is far cheaper. Commented Feb 9 at 1:15
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    " These are pretty trivial to replace. " If the lock is the kind I've seen before then they are trivial to pick also. I was able to pick a lock like that with a pen cap and a paperclip after watching a YouTube video on lock picking.
    – MacGuffin
    Commented Feb 9 at 1:20
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    Is there another way into the garage?
    – jay613
    Commented Feb 9 at 2:58
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    It sounds like this is a problem for your landlord.
    – Jasen
    Commented Feb 9 at 10:20
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    "landlord just came by and said that the handle needs to be twisted and forced a certain way." Well, then call the landlord and ask him to stop by again. If this happens regularly enough that he gets tired of it, either he'll fix the handle or show you how to twist & force "a certain way".
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 9 at 13:09

2 Answers 2


The back side of the handle will either have a pair or rods or a pair of cables that run to the tracks on the left and right.

When turned, the rods or cable are pulled in so that either the rods slip out of the track, or the cable pulls a latch out.

If the garage door is latched and then placed under tension (either up or down), friction can make the rods or latches much more difficult to pull out.

If you have a partner, I would try having one person try to rotate the latch handle while the other person tries to lift up or pull down on the door. You might be able to wiggle it to a point where the latches are not under so much binding friction.

These mechanisms can break. Since you say the handle isn't rotating, it's not likely to be a broken cable. But objects inside the garage can fall on the mechanism and bind it up, or the hinges can fail.


If the handle has, in fact, locked itself and no amount of landlord wiggling/manipulation will turn it, then the most diy thing I can think of is drilling out the keyway. This will destroy the lock mechanism, but these are easily replaced.

Start with a smallish drill bit (like, 1/8”) and progressively move up until it releases. When drilling, be gentle: you don’t want to bind and break the drill bit inside the lock.

  • 1
    "Be gentle" in this case usually means high drill speed and light pressure.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 9 at 15:34

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