Moving into your first apartment can be an overwhelming experience. Whether you’re moving to a another city or just down the road, being in a new environment can be simultaneously exhilarating, stressful and intimidating. Among all your other concerns, it’s only natural to start thinking about how to keep safe in your apartment. Here’s what you need to know to have peace of mind and feel secure in your new home.
Before you move in:
1. Know your neighborhood.
It’s important that you become familiar with your local area before you sign any lease agreement. Knowing if there has been any criminal activity either at the apartment complex or in its vicinity can make or break your apartment experience. Using websites like SpotCrime.com, CrimeReports.com, and CrimeMapping.com can help you determine if you should move into a certain area or not.
2. Check the basics:
- Ask your potential landlord if the locks have been changed. If not, you need to make sure that they will change the locks prior to you moving in. You don’t want any past tenants or their friends having access to your new home.
- Check the windows. Make sure they close and lock properly.
- Inspect the smoke alarms. There should be a smoke alarm in each bedroom and in your building’s common areas.
- See if there is a CO alarm in the apartment. If your apartment doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, then ask your landlord to get you one or purchase your own CO detector.
- Make sure the peephole is working properly, they are often painted over. If your door does not have a peephole, then look into installing a smart doorbell camera. They’re usually easy to install and easy to use. Confirm with your landlord first if you want to install a wired doorbell camera. If it’s going to be a wireless one, then you should be okay.
- If applicable, inspect the fire escapes. Make sure they are up to code and will support your weight if you have to use them.
- Finally, test the apartment lighting. Criminals and intruders prefer poorly-lit areas. Check the lighting in the parking areas, entrances, stairways, elevators, laundry rooms, and walkways, especially at night.
After you move in:
3. Install DIY security products:
- Make sure you have good blinds that cover all of your windows. Blinds will not only provide you with privacy, but they will also prevent potential burglars from stalking your valuables.
- Consider installing a chain lock. A chain lock provides additional security for your apartment because it allows you to talk to a stranger before opening your door completely.
- Ensure that your sliding glass door is secure by bolstering it. A lot of sliding glass doors have inadequate locks or come off their tracks easily. An inside bar lock is a simple way to safeguard an easy entry point.
4. Purchase renters insurance.
Renters insurance is a smart investment for all renters. It protects the value of your possessions from natural disasters, burglary, and apartment fires. Renters insurance is affordable and usually starts around $20 per month.
5. Install a security system.
Security systems are no longer just for homeowners. With recent technological advancements, security systems are now easy to install and more affordable than ever. Additionally, security systems can be DIY, wireless, and portable, which makes them great for renters. There are a lot of companies to choose from, so do your research before you purchase any security product.
Our contributing blogger, Brandon Jarman, is a recent Brigham Young University graduate who is currently living In Salt Lake City. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and eating delicious Mexican food.