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18 Apartment Safety Tips: Before, During and After Your Move

Lise Mannering

Lise Mannering attended the University of Texas at Arlington where she worked on her Bachelors of Fine Arts...

Lise Mannering attended the University of Texas at Arlington where she worked on her Bachelors of Fine Arts...

Aug 13 9 minutes read

Are you ready to move into a new apartment?

That's great!

Let's get to it!

But first...

Ask any apartment professional, and they will tell you that, in most cases, people tend to feel a false sense of security when living in an apartment. This is because there are always people around. And while they don't always know their neighbors personally, they at least recognize who should be there and who shouldn't.

Do you feel secure where you live?

But are you really?

Are you sure?

Even if you do live in a relatively safe community, crime and accidents happen everywhere. That's why we have put together this list of apartment living safety tips to help you become more aware.

Before Leasing Safety Tips

Here are a few things you should do before submitting an application to any given apartment.

  • Drive Through the Community

Always drive through the area and the apartment community itself at different times of the day and night. A community might look perfectly fine during the day, but it's what lurks at night that might surprise you.

  • Check Local Crime Stats

Apartment personnel and apartment locators are not legally allowed to tell you if any given place is "safe."  However, you can easily check out any given community for yourself. SpotCrime.com and CrimeReports.com both allow you to enter an address, and they will show you the area crimes within a five-mile or so radius.

  • Observe the Community Lighting

Before submitting an apartment application, be sure to drive through the complex at night to see if there is enough lighting. Are there any dark areas, are the hallways and walkways well lit? What about the pool area and mailroom, etc? 

  • Overall Security

Another thing to check before turning in your apartment application is to see if the entry and exit access gates are in good working order or are they frequently broken? Does it appear that people are able to easily use their entry codes and/or gate remotes, etc. to get in, or does it appear to be a struggle? If the property offers buzz-in access, check to see how easy it is to get in that way. 

  • General Upkeep

While you are driving through the community, look at the general upkeep. Is it clean and free of trash and debris, are there any broken windows, broken fences, dilapidated, trashy, or dirty dumpster areas, etc? If an apartment community can't keep the outside in good repair, just imagine how hard it will be to have them keep the inside in safe working order after you move in.

  • Safety Concerns

Before leasing, always check for visible hazards such as broken concrete or sidewalks, broken stairs, broken down cars in the parking lot, mold or slime on sidewalks/driveways/pool decks, or any other visible hazards. All of these issues could cause you to slip, trip, and fall; therefore, are a safety hazard making this a place you will probably want to avoid.

During Your Apartment Stay Safety Tips

Here are a few things you should check and/or test immediately after signing a lease and/or moving into your new apartment.

  • Get Renters Insurance

It's important to purchase renters insurance. Renters insurance will cover you against losses such as fire/smoke damage, theft, burglaries, and vandalism to your personal property. Every insurance company will offer different coverages, so you will need to confirm what each one does and doesn't cover. Things renters insurance policies typically don't cover includes subsurface water damage, natural surface water or flooding, home business losses, boats or other personal motor vehicles you own.

  • Ask to Have the Locks Changed

While signing the lease, always confirm all apartment door locks have been changed, as well as the lock to your mailbox.

  • Test the Door Peephole

Immediately after arriving, check the door peephole. If you can't see clearly out of the peephole or have other problems with it, ask the management to clean, fix, or change it.

  • Check All Windows and Window Locks

Next, you should check all the window and door locks to make sure they are not only in place, but to also ensure they are all working properly. You should also make sure all your windows and doors can be easily opened and closed. Doing so will help eliminate the possibility of you being trapped inside in the event of an emergency.

  • Map Out a Fire Escape Plan and Post It

Many people skip this step at their peril. Always take a few minutes to look for the fire escape and make an emergency escape plan, along with a backup plan in case the first option isn't available. Then post your emergency plan next to your front door, on the inside of a kitchen cabinet, or another place that's readily accessible and easy to get to in case of an emergency.

  • Check Sliding Doors and Locks

Sliding glass doors are one of the easiest areas to break into. Therefore, if your sliding glass door doesn't have extra locking/security features, add them yourself. You could ask the management if they would install a pin-lock, flip lock, swing bar lock, or Charlie bar. Alternatively, you can take a wooden or metal dowel and place it in the track. All these methods work extremely well for preventing anyone from breaking in through the sliding glass door, aside from breaking the glass of course.  

  • Test All Window Blinds

Check all your window blinds to make sure they open and close all the way and that there aren't any gaps in the slats that would allow someone to see in at night.

  • Install a Wireless Security System

If your apartment doesn't already have an existing security system, ask management if they will allow you to install one. If they say yes, you will want to get their permission in writing, as well as asking them to spell out exactly what you are and aren't allowed to do, if they don't already have this topic covered in their community policies handbook.

  • Consider Installing Smarthome and Environmental Disaster Protection Features

Other extremely helpful safety features include installing some home automation smarthome devices. Obviously, some of them will require permission from management, such as a smart thermostat if your apartment doesn't come with one. Additionally, installing environmental disaster protection features such as smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and water intrusion features are particularly helpful. You are living in a building with many other people who may or may not be as careful as you. Environmental protection features will alert you immediately and remotely via your home automation mobile app if it detects smoke, heat, fire, and water intrusion, which, in turn, will allow you to respond quickly and accordingly to minimize the damage to your personal belonging, as well as helping to protect your pets.

After You Move Safety Tips

Even after you've moved, there are some things you should do to protect yourself and your identity.

  • Schedule a Move-Out Inspection with Management

After you've moved out, schedule a time for you to walk through your apartment with management and ask them to sign your Inventory and Condition form, or the like, indicating your apartment was left in good condition and/or anything you might be charged for. This will give you the opportunity to correct anything that needs correcting rather than being charged for it.

  • Fill Out a Change of Address Form with the USPS

Always fill out a change of address form with the post office so your mail and other sensitive documents don't end up in the wrong hands. Additionally, make sure you leave a forwarding address with management so you receive your security deposit back in a timely manner.

  • Delete All Personal Information from Alarms or Other Smarthome Features You Are Leaving Behind

If you have used any personal or identifying information for things such as alarms, smart home automation devices, etc. be sure to delete them. Additionally, you will want to let any such services know you no longer live there. 

What's Next?

If you are looking for a new place to live, please Contact Whiterock Locators today at 214.922.1983. We are Dallas area apartment locators who specialize in helping people in the DFW area find apartment homes that best suit their wants and needs, and we'd love to do the same for you too!

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