I have a nosy homeowners association that enters anytime they want....my privacy is not respected. I have purchased an identical Schlage set, have removed all the screws I can, but the covers don't drop off. Any suggestions for removal without damaging the wooden door?

  • 3
    Wait... your HOA has a key to your house? Yikes!!! It may be easier to get the existing lock rekeyed by locksmith. You may also want to check your HOA agreement to ensure that they won't start suing you for changing the locks, though. If there's a clause in there about that, I'd move, but that's just me and OT for this discussion.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:21
  • 3
    I think you're either misusing the term HOA, or you live in a very odd place. But back to the question... Is the door painted?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:42
  • 4
    Landlords (and presumably your HOA) must notify you ahead of time or it is illegal for them to enter your residence. If you have proof, you should write the board directer and all board members a "cease and desist" registered letter threatening legal action. Commented May 6, 2016 at 18:05
  • Install a hidden camera (or several), and deliver the footage to the police; post it on the web as well.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 18:41
  • 2
    I have to point out that 90% of ongoing home intrusion claims from adults of middle are or higher are actually mild memory loss symptoms causing what amounts to mild paranoia. I would strongly suggest asking your doctor about this ad well as -- and probably sooner than -- a security specialist, to rule out that simpler explanation. Happens to many of us, nothing to be ashamed of, and understanding it will give you more peace of mind than changing the lock and still thinking someone is coming on.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


If you have an identical lockset, then you know exactly how many fastening screws there are. If removing them all doesn't loosen the cover plates, they must be held in place by adhesion to the door's finish.

Using your sharpest knife, carefully cut the paint or varnish adjacent to the cover plates. Score it all the way round, the gently work the knife point under the edge of the cover. Be very patient and pry only a little bit at a time.

You will improve with practice, so work on the inside cover plate first, leading to less damage around the outside cover to attract the attention of the HOA snoops.

  • Hitting the lock with a rubber hammer (carefully) or even the heel of a boot might be enough to knock the adhesion loose if it's not seriously painted on to the door.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:56
  • @JPhi1618: The problem with knocking or prying it off before cutting it loose is that the paint may stick to the cover more firmly than to the door under the paint. This will pull off large flakes and require tedious sanding, color matching, and repainting. You can't tell how seriously it's painted on to the door until you seriously damage the paint. Commented May 6, 2016 at 21:05
  • Yes, removal of the old lock set only required some prying. The installation of the exact model went quickly and once again have privacy ! Thanks!
    – Homechore
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 3:38

Some types of locksets the whole cover screws on and off, using something like a strap wrench. Normally the inside cover is the one you can unscrew (for obvious reasons.)

If, as would be implied, you own the home, you could also bore for and add a new lockset, to be non-subtle about it. Or half a dozen, to be REALLY non subtle about it, and a few chains as well for when you are home.

However, I do think that gaining video and/or photographic evidence would be an excellent idea, particularly if it turns out to be some other person with a key gaining access. I consider replacing all the locks to be a critical part of moving into a new house - you have no idea who might have a "spare key" from the former occupants, or know that there's one under the third rock to the left of the door they forgot to tell you about. Clear video evidence can be very useful, even if all you do is make sure that every one of your neighbors and the local media has a copy of it before the next homeowners association meeting, so you can foment a tidy revolt.

  • +1 for good answer especially the bit about fomenting rebellion! Commented May 7, 2016 at 2:26

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