Get Safe: Apartment Security in 2019

Most people talk about security for homeowners and business owners. People assume that homeowners have more to lose because they’re on the hook for their possessions as well as any damage a thief does to the home.

But renters are still at risk for being victims of the 1.4 million annual burglaries in the US. Just because you have a lease instead of a deed doesn’t mean you don’t need to protect your home.

Looking for ways to improve your apartment security? Our pros have some tips.

Your Guide to Apartment Security

There are plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting a safe apartment before you sign the lease. From seeing the neighborhood at night to checking area crime maps, it’s an important part of the apartment-hunting process.

After you’ve signed the lease, use these tips to make your home safer.

Find Out What Your Apartment Offers

Security is somewhat of a split responsibility: some of it falls on you, some of it falls on your landlord. Before you start looking for security systems, find out how secure your apartment is in the first place.

Does the apartment have a residential security officer at the front desk? Are they there 24/7 or only during business hours? Do people have to get past them to get inside?

Look at other security measures too. Is there a locked gate or a keycard entrance to your complex or building? Are there security cameras around and are they visible?

This information gives you an idea of your baseline and what security gaps you need to fill in.

Choose Damage-Free Security

There are plenty of options for security systems. Some require you to drill holes into your walls or drive nails into your exterior to install them.

This is a problem for renters because you’ll pay for that damage when you move out. Some landlords are less than ethical about this as well and will overcharge you for damage. You want to avoid giving them that opportunity.

Look for security systems you can install without damaging your home. Your best bet is likely to be a wireless security system because you don’t need to drill holes to run wires. As an added bonus, intruders can’t disable your system by cutting wires.

Identify Your Weak Spots

There is one bit of good news for renters: apartments tend to have fewer entry points than houses do. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for intruders to break in.

Still, it’s important to take a close inventory of your home’s weak spots. Do an indoor and outdoor walkthrough to see all potential entry points.

Next, assess how vulnerable each point is. For instance, your front door in a well-populated breezeway has a lower risk than a sliding back door that’s hidden by bushes.

This tells you where you need to focus your security system and which points to prioritize.

Don’t Take Resident-Only Measures for Granted

Many apartment buildings and complexes have ways security measures that only allow residents to enter. For instance, you may have a gate that only residents have the code for, or residents may need to scan a keycard to get into the building.

Measures like these make residents feel safe as they make that life-changing decision of choosing an apartment. They aren’t as secure as you might think. It’s easy for an intruder to sneak through a gate or door behind a resident.

In addition, people make the mistake of assuming they can trust their neighbors. You don’t know who your neighbors are or what their intentions are. That includes any of your neighbors’ guests.

As a result, plan your security system with the assumption that anyone and everyone can walk up to your door.

Know What Your Lease Allows

As we mentioned above, renters have the unique challenge of being unable to damage their home to install a security system.

This isn’t the only limitation you’ll face, though. Most leases place specific restrictions on the types of changes renters can make to their apartments.

It’s likely that you aren’t allowed to change your door locks without your landlord’s permission. You’ll also need to ensure that your landlord can still access the apartment in the case of an emergency.

For appearance purposes, some landlords prevent tenants from installing certain types of exterior equipment. You may not be allowed to have a prominent security camera, for example.

Before you make any purchases, talk to your landlord. Get permission in writing to install the security equipment you want. You should be able to feel safe without paying an arm and a leg in penalties or repair fees.

Consider the Future

Another consideration that is unique to renters is the idea that you probably won’t stay in your apartment forever. Many renters move every few years.

As a result, you should choose your security system based on how easy it will be to move. If it takes you half of a day to install and uninstall your security system, are you willing to do that every few years when you move?

This is also something to consider if you’re subscribing to a security monitoring service. These monitoring services often have contract periods that are expensive to break.

Before you sign on the dotted line, ask if you can transfer your service when you move. If the security company is installing your system, also ask if moving would require a new installation fee or other added fees. Get those amounts in writing.

Keeping Your Apartment Safe

As helpful as renter’s insurance is in reducing your loss from a burglary, it won’t stop the burglary from happening. Break-ins can be severely dangerous at worst. At best, they take away your feeling of safety in your home.

The apartment security tips above will help you protect yourself and feel safer in your apartment. For more real estate information and or financial guides, check out our blog.

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