broken lock

Safe Apartment Living: Making Security a Priority

October 26, 2011 | Apartment Lifestyle, Everyday Living

Apartment security is an important factor that renters consider when looking for a new place to live. Although amenities, price and location each rate highly on a renter’s list of must-haves, security remains a top concern as well. While individuals can install their own security measures in a property that they own themselves, renters often rely on their property owners and landlords to provide a safe living environment.

Since specific safety measures vary from property to property, it’s important to discuss them with your landlord before signing a lease. Your landlord is only responsible for what is printed within your rental agreement, so it’s also important to carefully read your entire lease before signing it. If you see a broken window or a faulty lock on your property or unit, you should alert your landlord as soon as possible. If you have not yet signed a lease, it may also be possible to negotiate upgraded security measures to the unit, such as new locks on the door or windows.

Safe Apartment Living Tips:

  • Research the Neighborhood: Before you begin your apartment search, visit the neighborhoods that you are considering, both during the day and at night, to make sure that you would feel comfortable living there. Sometimes a neighborhood may feel fine in the light of day, but when the sun goes down, it takes on an entirely different feel. If possible, ask neighbors if they enjoy living in the area, or if they have any safety concerns of their own. Once you find a couple of neighborhoods that you feel safe in, start searching for apartments for rent to see what’s available.
  • Conduct a Security Inspection: Before signing a lease, give the entire property and apartment complex a thorough inspection, not just your particular apartment unit. Look for safety and security precautions, and make sure they are working properly. These include lighting in the hallways and throughout the grounds, as well as in the parking garage or parking lot. If the building only has street parking, verify if there is ample street lighting and space close to your building, otherwise you could be in an unsafe situation when coming home late at night. Look for a secured front door into the building and secured gates around the property that will prevent strangers and vagrants from entering. Then of course, make sure that the door and window locks within the unit you are visiting are also in good working order.
  • Change the Locks: Although your apartment might be new to you, it’s probably been lived in before, so if it hasn’t been done already, ask your landlord to change the locks before you sign your new lease. This will ensure that you are the only key-holder to the unit.
  • Consider Renters Insurance: You might live in the safest neighborhoods in your city, but if a pipe bursts, your belongings might be destroyed in a matter of minutes. In order to protect your belongings, consider purchasing a renter’s insurance plan. Renter’s insurance is affordable on almost every budget, can cost just a few dollars per month and will provide you with ease of mind.

Your safety should be top priority at all times. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment complex with a doorman, a walk-up or a single residence rental, you need to be alert and aware of any safety issues around you. It’s not only your job to protect yourself, but also to enforce strong security measures within your building so that you do not put your neighbors at risk. For example, no matter how nice or “put-together” a stranger might appear to be, do not let anyone into your building unless you recognize them. If someone buzzes your apartment from outside to be let in, first check to see if it’s a guest of yours. If you don’t recognize the individual, do not allow them entry. Strong safety and security measures benefit everyone and will keep trouble away.

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