25 Apartment Safety TipsBy - 07/13/2015
Moving into a new apartment? Don’t be lured by the swimming pool or the new carpet or the perfect landscaping…put your safety glasses on and take a step back. If you take a moment to look at your potential new home objectively and not lustfully you can pick a home that’s not only beautiful but safe.
Stalk The Apartment Complex
Take that first pass through to make sure you like the place and it has the right “feel” but take a second pass through the unit and check it for safety.
- Make sure all windows close fully and that the locks work.
- Make sure the apartment has sufficient and working smoke alarms. There should be one in each bedroom as well as in your common area. If the unit has multiple levels there should be at least one smoke alarm on each level.
- If smoke alarms look old and dingy they probably are. Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years.
- Does the apartment have a CO alarm? If not, you should consider adding one after you move in.
- Make sure common areas like the pool, storage rooms, workout area, and laundry facility are secured and can only be accessed using a tenant or owner key.
- Look for video surveillance in the parking area or considering adding a camera that points toward your car after you move in.
- Stalk the balconies. Are there grills on the balconies? There shouldn’t be. That’s a fire hazard and a danger to you and your property.
- Checkout the apartment during the day but drive back at night. A place can look completely different after you move in and all the lights are out. Is it well-lit? Do you feel comfortable?
- Contact your local police department using their non-emergency number and ask them about your potential building’s security.
- Do your own research on the area and the apartment buildings. Stalk it up! What can you find out? Are people talking about picnics and puppies or car thieves and drug raids?
Before You Sign on the Dotted Line
You’ve thoroughly stalked your potential apartment complex and you’re ready to sign. Before you do there are a few more things you should demand and a few more items you should budget for.
- Don’t be shy. Ask your landlord to provide a brand new lock. Who wants to share a key with the last tenant and all his crazy friends? Not this guy.
- Ask your potential landlord for permission to install a deadbolt and a peephole if the apartment doesn’t have one.
- Look into renter’s insurance and talk to your landlord about what their policy does and does not cover.
- Get noisy about building maintenance. Will they change the batteries in your smoke alarm? When? If a light burns out in the parking lot how quickly will their maintenance team address the issue?
- If your apartment has a sliding glass door look into a security bar, even if you are on the second floor. Sliding glass doors are inherently weak so they need extra reinforcement for home security.
- Invest in a Portable Fire Escape Ladder. They make ladders that can reach up to 6 stories.
- Install a security system. There are security systems that work for renters. These systems are wireless and do not require drilling. There are also options that do not require a contract so when your lease is up, you can decide to keep your security service or move on without fear of penalty.
- Ask your security company for extra window decals and stickers in lieu of a yard sign to let people know your home is protected.
EVERYDAY APARTMENT LIFE SAFETY
- Always lock your doors when you’re gone. This includes your balcony door. A balcony door is an entrance just like any other door and can be a security hazard even if you don’t live on the first floor. In fact, you should consider protecting them with a deadbolt just like your regular entry door.
- Your balcony is not a safe storage area. If you keep valuables like your bicycle on the balcony be sure to lock it up.
- Do not rely on a chain lock, they add little value when it comes to security.
- Make your apartment look occupied by keeping the lights on when you are gone or by automating them to a schedule.
- Get to know the employees that work in your building including safety patrol, contract maintenance, and any grounds personnel. Report anyone that doesn’t look familiar.
- Start a Facebook page for the people who live in your apartment and share anything suspicious. Lookout for each other.
- If your building has locked entry ways make sure that they stay shut and locked. Lookout for tailgaters and ask your neighbors to do the same.
BONUS: If you live alone, make it appear that you don’t. While you may not want to put a damper on your available status, it’s not a good idea to date your neighbors anyway…not that I’m speaking from experience or anything….