Long-time apartment renters are well aware of the limitations that come with living in a space that isn’t your own. Between boring holes on the walls and having multiple pets, apartment complexes often have strict rules on the extent to which tenants can alter their unit. This applies to the kind of security measures apartment dwellers can implement on their own as well.
While crime rates differ from location to location, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution. Installing double locks and video doorbells are two such measures – if the terms of your lease allow it. Thankfully, there are other things you can do at various stages of the renting process to ensure your peace of mind.
Before the move-in
You don’t have to wait until you are settled in your new home. In fact, protecting your apartment starts before you get your things off of the moving van.
- Research the neighborhood
The first step in choosing the right apartment for your family is location – after all, the real estate mantra, “location, location, location,” isn’t a cliché for nothing! When researching an area, check out the neighboring towns as well. The crime rate of one neighborhood tends to spill over to adjacent areas.
- Visit the area
Truth be told, the only way to truly gauge if a neighborhood is a right fit is to see it for yourself. Visit at different times of the day and during different days of the week. While an apartment might be perfectly nice and quiet in the evening, it might prove to be a high-traffic area during rush hour.
If you intend to live in an apartment complex, it is also ideal to speak to the neighbors before signing the lease. Ask them about the neighborhood and their overall experience living at the complex. Browse online reviews.
- Note the building’s overall condition
One of the perks of renting an apartment is having your building manager or landlord take care of repairs and the general maintenance of your unit. However, prompt action is another matter.
The condition of the apartment building can give away the type of landlord you will have to deal with if you decide to move in. Unkempt premises are a telltale sign that upkeep isn’t uppermost in the building administration’s to-do list. So it’s fair to assume that tenants are likely to experience the same inattention.
While living in the unit
Once you’ve moved in, take the following precautions to keep your household safe:
- Get renter’s insurance
Doing your part to secure your new apartment is important. However, despite your diligence, things happen. At the end of the day, you don’t want to wager you or your family’s well being.
Securing a renter’s insurance is one way to keep you protected. Personal property coverage includes the cost of replacing your personal belongings should they be stolen. Liability coverage protects you from paying out-of-pocket expenses if a visitor is injured inside your apartment or if your child tosses a ball and breaks a neighbor’s window. Renter’s insurance also foots hotel bills in case your unit is damaged and rendered uninhabitable.
At $20 a month, the investment is well worth it.
- Shut your windows
Most renters covet natural light or fresh air streaming through their apartment. It is one of the things that people have in their apartment must-haves. Unfortunately, leaving your windows open can make you a target for theft. Burglars often case the homes that they are likely to break into. An open window is almost an invitation for theft. As a compromise, leave your windows open when you’re in the premises, but bolt them shut at night or when you go out.
- Replace your locks
Most apartments come with a set of keys for every room in the unit. To prevent the possibility of having former tenants keeping duplicates of the same keys, ask your landlord to replace the locks before moving in. It is also a good idea to install a deadbolt to further secure your new home.
- Say hi to your neighbors
Getting to know your neighbors is a relatively easy and pleasant way to keep your home safe. When people know each other, they are most likely to look out for each other. If you’re shy, small talk in common areas is often enough to get on their good side.
Moving to a new place is exciting. Don’t let your anxiety over your family’s safety get in the way of enjoying your new home.
If you would like a safe and secure apartment in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina, contact us at Sundance Property Management. We have been in the business of acquiring and managing investment properties like apartments since 1993.