Woman Shares Security Hack for Renters Worried About People Entering Home

Posting to TikTok on Tuesday, a woman named Mercury Stardust—also known as the "Trans Handy Ma'am"—shared a now-viral security hack for renters who fear that someone may use a master key to enter their home without permission.

The video has racked up more than 520,000 views and thousands of comments from viewers who thanked Stardust for "literally saving lives."

Stardust posted the video after a Los Angeles-based TikToker named Maddison Callaway alleged that her apartment building's "maintenance guy" removed the chain lock from her front door.

"He has a bunch of keys so now he can just let himself in the door and I can't do anything about it," Callaway said in her video.

In the state of California, "[o]wners, landlords, property managers, or the landlord's agents cannot simply enter a tenant's unit anytime they please," according to California law firm Tobener Ravenscroft LLP. In most scenarios, landlords must provide tenants with a written notice before entering their unit.

Still, tragedies can and do happen. For example, authorities believe a Florida woman named Miya Marcano was killed last year by a man named Armando Caballero—a handyman who worked for the very apartment in which Marcano lived.

During their investigation, police determined that Caballero used a master key to enter Marcano's unit without permission on the very day Marcano was first reported missing.

As an extra security measure for renters whose units may be accessible to various maintenance personnel, Stardust recommended Addalock.

"Addalock," read the product's Amazon description, "is a portable door lock that can be used on most doors that are hinged and swing inwards."

According to Stardust, the lock "won't damage your door and fits right into your strike plate." She also alleged in a separate video tutorial that the lock can be installed without tools and in "less than 30 seconds."

"No matter if they have a key or not, they can't get into your home without kicking the door in if you have an Addalock," she said.

"No one should be fearful of living in their own home because someone else can come in at any time," she added.

Viewers were grateful for the tip.

"This will protect so many vulnerable people. Thank you for the tip!!" said one TikTok user.

"You are literally saving lives you f***ing angel," wrote Amy Elizabeth.

"I was just talking to my friend today who thought changing her locks would be too expensive. Thank you for this (and all the info you share)!" wrote Laura Pruitt.

Heather Linton added, "Ma'am, you have helped so many women, and I can't tell you how much it means."

Newsweek reached out to Mercury Stardust and Addalock but did not hear back before publication.

Burglar picking lock
Posting to TikTok on Tuesday, a woman named Mercury Stardust—also known as the “Trans Handy Ma’am”—shared a now-viral security hack for renters who fear that someone may use a master key to enter their home without permission. turk_stock_photographer/istock