It’s exciting to move and experience a whole new neighborhood and apartment, however, it can be frightening too. If you are moving to a city you’ve never lived in or a part of town you aren’t familiar with, it can be hard to understand your level of security. It’s hard to make your new apartment feel like home when you don’t feel safe there. Here are five things you can do as a renter that will maximize your apartment’s security without breaking your lease or losing your deposit.
Check out the Area
Before you agree to sign a lease, do a thorough scan of the area around your apartment and within. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by moving, the colors of the walls, the size of the kitchen and so on, but don’t let that stop you from looking at important details. Some things to look for are windows with locks, how well the main door closes and locks, blinds, and peepholes. These security features will help you feel safer in your new apartment. You should also look for lights in the parking lot and make sure that amenities (like a poolhouse or laundry room) are only accessible to tenants.
You can also take time outside of your tour to scope out the place. This will allow you to see what the apartment is like during different hours of the day, and you can talk to potential neighbors about any known crime in the area.
When meeting with your landlord to sign the lease, ask them to install new locks in the doors. You never know how many copies of a key has been made or who might still have access to your home. The landlord may ask you to pay for some of the cost, but it is a worthy expenditure. You should also ask for locks on any windows, especially those on the ground floor. If the apartment doesn’t have a peephole, this would be the ideal time to ask about installing one as well.
While safes don’t prevent theft, if someone does manage to break-in to your apartment, it will be harder for them to get away with anything important. If your apartment doesn’t have an installed safe, buy one—preferably one that is well-disguised or that is too large and bulky to steal. There are many options for disguised safes, like clocks, shelves, picture frames, and hollowed books. This allows you to keep your safe away from the most popular room for burglars—the bedroom. Be sure to keep precious jewelry, extra cash, and important documents in the safe.
Most renters fear that a security system will force them to drill holes in the wall—but this isn’t always the case. Many security companies now offer wireless systems that are easy to install and you can even take when you move. Depending on the type of security system you buy, you’ll be able to monitor your apartment from your smartphone. Once your system is installed, place the company sign in your window to ward off potential thieves.
The best part about security systems is that it could get you a lower rate on renters’ insurance. While your landlord likely has property insurance, that mostly covers the building you live in and not the possessions you have inside—like electronics, furniture, or other items of importance. You’ll have to pay a sum each month for renters’ insurance, and though it won’t prevent theft, you’ll have peace of mind.
Your new apartment should be a place where you feel safe and comfortable. Talk to your landlord about other ways you can maximize your security.