One of the biggest advantages to buying a home is security. When you own a home, you have access to a more robust offering of home security options than renters. Many apartments will not allow wired, monitored security systems because they are too invasive to the property. That's why we've put together a list of ways for renters to secure their residences. If you're planning to, or have already moved into a rental, this list can help ensure security and provide peace of mind.
Learn the Neighborhood – There are many ways to research a new neighborhood. You could simply walk around, taking note of what you do, or don't, see. Are the yards mowed? Are the exteriors of buildings clean and graffiti free? These are usually signs of safe, well-kept neighborhoods. You could also use apps like Street Advisor or Safe Neighborhood for community ratings and crime stats. You can also get stats straight from the local police department.
Doors – Deadbolts are one of the easiest ways to secure an apartment. If the door doesn't already have one, check with the landlord to see if you can get one installed. You can also install a chain lock for a DIY solution.
Burglars also tend to take aim at doors with hinges on the outside of apartments. You probably won't be able to replace the door, but State Farm has a few suggestions, including using fast-riveted pins, for securing exposed door hinges.
Also, take a look at the door's strike plate; the metal frame surrounding where the deadbolt latch secures into the door frame. Old or worn out strike plates are not very secure. Get one with a full metal enclosure and longer screws for better security.
Windows – This is especially important for those living on the first floor of a building. Beyond making sure that the windows lock, you'll want to also keep a rod or stick in tracks of sliding windows and glass doors. Avoid plants and shrubbery that block the windows if possible. This way, it will be difficult for someone to hide near your window. For extra security, look at devices like Doberman, a window-mounted alarm designed to detect significant vibrations.
Appearances – Your nice things are just that, yours. There's no reason for people you don't know to have an idea of what's in your apartment. You don't have to hide all of your stuff that you worked so hard for, just don't sit the big screen in front of the big window. Also, remember to secure the seals around window-mounted A/C units. It looks good and is more secure.
Apartment-Friendly Alarm Systems – Doberman isn't the only wireless, renter-friendly alarm system on the market. Lifeshield and ADT both offer simple, wireless security options for renters as well. We've found an article on MakeUseOf.com that details how to create your own web-cam security system right from your PC.
Renter's Insurance – We bet you didn't know that, in many cases, it's cheaper to carry two forms of insurance than one. That's right, depending on the insurance company and what you qualify for, there are many cases in which you may actually be charged less for auto and renter's insurance than you would for just auto. Since many states require that all drivers carry insurance, this can be one of the most effective ways for renters to have peace of mind.
Get to Know Your Neighbors – Don't just be a name on a mailbox, if you don't know your neighbors, you should. People tend to be more aware of their neighbors when they actually know them. This means they are more likely to share any security concerns they may have. It's also a good idea to keep an open line of communication between yourself and your landlord, so that you can let them know of any security concerns.
These are just a few of the steps that can help keep your new rental safe and secure. If you follow these tips, you can feel secure knowing that you have taken steps to protect your apartment. Stevens Worldwide wishes you all the best in your new neighborhood. If you need more advice for an upcoming move, visit our moving tips.