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Apartment Key Fob Not Working – Causes & Solutions

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

apartment key fob not working

Having a key fob is great. Owning one less key means one less item that you can easily misplace. It is why keyless entry apartment or keyless cars are increasingly popular.

However, just like traditional keys, your key fob can malfunction. In order to come up with a good fix for your apartment key fob, you must first know the root cause of the problems.

Read further into this article and find out the reasons why your apartment key fob is not working.

Common Issues With Apartment Key Fobs

The following are some of the common causes why your key fob stopped working:

1. Dead Battery


Over time, your battery will drain due to regular use. Because of the drained battery, your apartment key fob sends weak or no signals that your apartment door cannot recognize.

2. Internal Mechanism is Broken


If your key fob was subjected to bumps, the internal connections might get disconnected, causing the buttons on your key fob to not work. This can also be caused by wear and tear.

3. Internal Chip is Damaged


There is an internal chip for tap-only key fobs for your apartment that usually doesn’t have a battery. The chip inside can get damaged due to crushing or falling.

4. Programming Issue

How do apartment key fobs work? Your key fob is programmed so that it can open your apartment through a unique RFID.

However, there are times when your key fob cannot work due to a programming issue.

Troubleshooting Steps


Here’s how to check and fix your key fob in each scenario:

  • Dead Battery: If you suspect the battery is dead, prepare a new battery for replacement. Then, remove the cover of your key fob, remove the dead battery, and replace it with a new one.
  • Broken Internal Mechanism: If you suspect your key fob has a broken internal mechanism, get a screw and open it to find any disconnections. If there is damage that you cannot fix, bring it to a professional.
  • Damaged Internal Chip: Internal chips are near impossible to repair when they are damaged. If you think that the internal chip is faulty inside your apartment key fob, you better have it replaced.
  • Programming Issues: To check for program-related issues, first, make sure there isn’t any interference from other electronic devices or radio signals that can disrupt the key fob. Try pressing the buttons repeatedly, if it doesn’t work, remove and then insert the battery after a few minutes.

 If you’ve tried the above steps and cannot get the key fob to work, contact the building management for assistance. Professionals with specialized tools and expertise can diagnose and resolve complex key fob programming issues.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance Tips

Electronic apartment keys can be easily damaged. Here are some of the things you can do to avoid having issues with your key fob:

  • Replace The Battery: A key fob usually has a 3-volt button cell battery that you can usually find in your local hardware, which usually costs around $10. Make sure to do battery replacement on your key fob every 1 – 2 years.


  • Keep A Spare: Make a copy of your key fob to your apartment. Of course, ask for permission from your landlord beforehand. Store the spare copy somewhere safe or give it your closed ones so that you can access it in case you are locked out of the apartment.
  • Practice Proper Storage


A key fob can get damaged if exposed to direct sunlight. Keep your key fob in a place where it’s dry and cool while maintaining accessibility.

You might also want to cover it with aluminum foil to avoid hacks. Hide the key fob out of sight if other people are inside your apartment.

  • Know Where To Get A Spare

If you lose your key fob or it gets damaged, make sure you know who to approach and where to get a spare. Panicking will just make your situation worse.

  • Clean Your Key Fob


Like other traditional keys, key fobs can also accumulate dust and dirt, which may disrupt the functions of your key fob. Make sure you clean it with a dry cloth often.

Key fob Replacement Options

If you lose the key fob to your apartment or it’s damaged beyond repair, here are some options that you can do to replace the key fob of your apartment:

1. Property Management


Ask your landlord or building owner if he/she has a spare key fob for your apartment.

If not, the landlord can ask the security service company for one. Depending on the lease agreement, you may or may not be required to pay for the spare.

  • Note: apartment key fob replacement usually costs around $50 – $500.

If you’re still waiting for the replacement key fob, you can ask for a master key fob from your landlord to gain access to your apartment still.

2. Vendors/Retailers


Your apartment complexes work with specific stores for their key fob. Inquire with the property management office for the contact information of the recommended vendor. You can then reach out to the vendor directly to ask for replacement options.

3. Locksmith


A professional locksmith who specializes in residential services can help you with your apartment key fob. Provide them with information, including the brand, model, and any identification markings if available. The locksmith can determine if they have a compatible replacement if necessary.

4. Community Forums or Groups

Most apartment complexes or residential buildings have an online community forum or social media group. Other residents may have faced similar replacement situations with their key fobs and can provide advice based on their experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions


What to do if I lose my key fob?

The first thing that you should do when you lose your key fob is to inform the building owner or the landlord that you have lost your key fob. The apartment building’s owner will help you deactivate the lost key fob so it cannot open your door.

Are key fobs safe for an apartment?

It is safer to have a key fob than a physical key as a means to access your apartment. Because of keyless entry, you can prevent unauthorized people from picking on your apartment door.

In addition, you will also be alerted through your phone if someone tries to access your door.

Can I use a universal key fob for my apartment?

Yes, you can use a universal key fob for an apartment.

However, this depends on the security features in the building and the apartments that were set up. You can always ask the building owner so you’ll know if you can use a universal key fob or not.

How long does a key fob battery typically last?

The battery on your building key fob commonly lasts between three to four years, depending on the frequency of use. A telltale sign that you’ll notice when your key fob is almost dead is that the signal it sends is weaker than usual.


It pays to be wary of the current situation of your security measures. As simple as a dead battery on your key fob might become the reason why you’ll be locked out of your apartment for hours.

Knowing the reasons why your apartment key fob is not working will help you prevent these issues in the future. You can never be too careful with your possessions that protect your home from unauthorized hands.

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