Taking the leap into renting can be incredibly intimidating for a first-timer.
From finding the right spot to settle to getting approved for background and credit checks, there are plenty of potential headaches to be had when it comes to locking down the perfect apartment.
However, how can you ensure that your new homestead is truly safe and secure once you’ve got the keys in your hand?
Most of the rookie mistakes that first-time renters make can easily be avoided, granted you understand how to protect your property and yourself. Whether you’re renting for the first time or simply want to feel more secure in your space, take the following four tips with you during your next apartment hunt.
Learn to Love Your Landlord
Staying on good terms with your landlord is absolutely essential for any renter. Think about it: having a cold relationship with your landlord can be the difference between your peace or mind or living in an absolute nightmare.
Considering that your landlord quite literally holds the keys to your well-being, do everything in your power to keep lines of communication open and be respectful in case there’s ever an emergency. Small courtesies such as paying your rent on time and giving a heads up of any potential repairs can go a long, long way.
By maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord, you know that you’ll have someone on your side in case anything goes wrong.
Know Your Neighborhood
Especially if you’re moving to a new city or space, it’s crucial that you know your neighborhood inside and out to ensure your safety. For starters, you can do any combination of the following:
Introduce yourself to your immediate neighbors: you should be able to put names to faces and feel comfortable with those right next to you
Do your homework online to ensure that you’re not potentially stuck in a rough neighborhood or crime-ridden area (ideally, you’d know this prior to moving in)
Pay attention to community happenings and newsletters: a bit of small talk here and there can clue you in on major issues or potential crime in your area
While you may not be expected to know everyone in your complex or neighborhood, consider the aforementioned tips as a solid starting point.
Obviously you should make sure to lock your windows and doors at all times, but you can up your safety game by doing the following:
Speak with your landlord to ensure that the locks have been changed from the previous tenant
Install basic second locks on your windows and doors as an alternative to a full-blown security system (which aren’t allowed by many apartments)
Make sure you keep your windows and blinds closed, especially at night
Furthermore, understand your complex’s policies on break-ins and stolen property in your lease.
If you have any particularly valuable items, such as expensive musical instruments or fine jewelry, consider getting a renter’s insurance policy on such items to give yourself peace of mind. Although you may be wary to idea of such insurance, a renter’s policy will protect your property in the long-run and on the cheap.
Tenants should do everything they can to ensure their apartment’s safety, as the responsibility ultimately falls into your own hands. By securing your apartment, you can sleep soundly and stop worrying about “what-if” scenarios.