Los Angeles County Code Compliance for Home Security Door Locks and Deadbolts When Selling

Locks on residential dooring in the county of Los Angeles may not have locks that are only operated with a key from the inside, ie double sided deadbolt type. Keys get lost, and if there is a fire inside of the residence, chances are the key will not be available to open up the door for the residents to escape outside and away from fire and smoke on the inside. This rule applies to all homes located in the County of Los Angeles.

This rule is outlined here on the website for International Code Council (ICC), which the Building and Safety of the county of Los Angeles abides by. The ICC website is here.

R311.2 Egress door rule (ICC)

Not less than one egress door shall be provided for each dwelling unit. The egress door shall be side-hinged, and shall provide a clear width of not less than 32 inches (813 mm) where measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees (1.57 rad). The clear height of the door opening shall be not less than 78 inches (1981 mm) in height measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop. Other doors shall not be required to comply with these minimum dimensions. Egress doors shall be readily openable from inside the dwelling without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.

All dwelling units must have at least one exit door that complies with the provisions of Sections R311.2 through R311.3.3. Other exterior doors need not comply with the provisions of this section. The required egress door must be side hinged. A sliding patio door would not count as the required egress door.

So that egress is always available, any locks provided on the egress door must be openable from the inside without the use of a key or special knowledge. While this would not limit the number of locks someone could install on the egress door, this will prohibit the type of dead bolt lock that is key operated from both the inside and outside. These lock provisions are not applicable to other exterior doors, however, just in case the way to the required egress door was blocked, following these provisions for other exterior doors may provide an extra level of safety.

Bottom line: Dedicated egress doors which have locks that requires a key from the inside to exit the home should be removed when selling. This includes double cylinder deadbolts on exterior doors or security doors used for egress (getting from the inside to the outside). The removal of these locks is also typically a lender requirement for most residential loans today. Hence, best to remove these types of locks or key systems on security and entry doors when selling in the county of Los Angeles. This will also protect the sellers liability after the close of escrow.

In addition, the County of Los Angeles Building and Safety code information on this rule is also below:

Deadbolts or double cylinder locks (pictured below) on doors and/or residential security doors must be able to be opened from the inside with a lever, not a key. These ‘keyed’ type of locking mechanisms are not to county code and dangerous, and should be removed when selling.

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