Looking for a rental apartment can be an exciting and also tiring process. There are many things you must consider before signing a lease agreement. One of the top things on that list is security. When renting a home, there are additional concerns you must consider when thinking about home security. Firstly, there may be restrictions on the type of hardware you can install while causing minimal damage to your walls. Secondly, depending on the location of your apartment, you may feel more comfortable installing additional security features to your home.
We have compiled a guide with a few tips to consider when deciding what kind of security you would like to install in your home.
What do I need to consider before moving in?
Check Out The Building (Inside and Outside)
The first thing that you should be considering when looking at a new rental property is the overall condition of the building. Things you should be asking yourself are:
- Is the outside of the building well maintained?
- Are the common areas kept clean?
- Check where the fire/emergency exits are in reference to your desired unit
- What is the front door security like? Do tenants need to buzz in guests or are people free to come and go as they please?
- If the building has a security system, check if there is a badge declaring that the building is monitored. This will aid in deterring anyone who tries to break in.
- Check the lighting. Are the hallways well lit? Are the outdoor entrances well lit?
- Are there security cameras around the building? Especially around entrances and parkades?
- Are the fire and carbon monoxide detectors in working order? Ask about the last time they have been tested.
These are all important questions to ask because a building that is not well maintained is going to look like an easier target for someone to try and enter illegally.
Check Out Your UnitOnce you have looked at the condition of the overall building you will need to look at your unit.
- Look at the security features already installed. Is the lock in good condition? Is there a deadbolt or a second lock to increase protection? Is there a peephole that you can look through before allowing someone access to your home?
- Check out the windows and any screen doors. Do they all open and close properly? Are the locks in working order? This is even more important if you are looking at a main floor or basement unit.
Take a Walk Around The NeighbourhoodIt is important to research the area that you will potentially be moving into. This means taking a look around during the day, and also during the evening. A few things to pay attention to while looking around are:
- Noise pollution. Are there loud noises? Bus routes/trains nearby? Is it near a busy street?
- Take a look at the other building in the area. Are they well maintained? Do they look up to the same standard as the building that you are looking at?
- Look for proximity to fire and police stations. Not only is this important for overall neighborhood security, but proximity to these stations can also reduce your renters' insurance.
Finally, it is extremely important to research crime statistics of an area before moving in. You can check out the crime stats for your area from your local police services website. For Edmonton, you can look here at https://crimemapping.edmontonpolice.ca.
Once I’ve moved in, what are the next steps I should take?
Install a Security System
Our number one tip for apartment security is to install a security system. You will need to discuss with your landlord what kind of system you will be able to install. Most rental units would like renters to reduce the number of holes that are put into walls, so therefore a DIY system may be the best choice for you. You can check out our DIY systems here. These systems do not require you to make any holes in the walls, and all sensors are attached with a sticky 3M tape which can be removed when you move.
Improve The Locks
If you are allowed, install a better set of locks. This is something that you will need to discuss with your landlord or with the condo board. When choosing a lock, it is important to get a good quality, sturdy lock. This is not the time to try and save money. If your current lock does not have a deadbolt, you should be looking for a lock that comes with one. Consider getting a smart lock like this one, because these locks can be controlled from the Turnip HQ App on your phone. This will alleviate the stress of wondering if you forgot to lock your front door.
While installing the new lock, talk to your landlord about potentially installing a new doorbell system as well. A doorbell with a video camera like this one will allow you to see who is outside before opening the door. This is even more important if your door does not already come equipped with a peephole.
Get Renters Insurance
This should be one of the first things you do when moving into a new apartment. Many landlords will require proof of insurance before allowing you to move into the apartment. Carrying renters insurance will not stop someone from breaking in, but it will protect you in the unfortunate event that something is taken. Your renter's insurance will cover the valuables inside of your apartment. Some insurance plans will also cover unavoidable damage to the rental unit like a flood.
Cover Your Windows
Once you have moved in, you should invest in window coverings, whether that be curtains or blinds. This is important because It will prevent intruders from looking into your apartment and seeing what kind of valuables you may have. Many intruders will look from window to window to see which house has the best valuables and therefore the biggest potential payoff for them. If you keep your windows covered (especially when your not home) you are stopping them from looking at your belongings.
Meet Your Neighbours
Once you have moved in, head over to your next-door neighbours and introduce yourself. It is always good to know your neighbours for a few reasons. Firstly, if there is ever an emergency, your neighbors are going to be the closest ones you to and therefore may be able to provide immediate assistance or call the authorities. Secondly, your neighbours can keep an eye on your apartment when you are not around. If they see someone acting strange around your home, they can notify the proper authorities.
If you have any more questions about securing your rental property or would like to set up a security system, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-833-4TURNIP.