Safety and Security Checklist – 9 Helpful Tips on Apartment Living
As a renter, your security concerns are unique. Living in close proximity to other tenants, as well as a possible high volume of foot traffic in your complex, means your apartment may have an increased risk of intrusion and burglary. At Midtown Club Suites, we take these matters seriously and we want to share with you some of the safety features we think are important when choosing an apartment to rent or buy.
This guide offers our 9 Tips to consider when choosing an apartment, and suggestions for keeping the place safe after you’ve signed the lease.
When you think you have found your dream apartment, check into the company and management team that is in charge of the property. Are they reputable and professional? It is always recommended that before you sign on the dotted line of a lease, you know who you are dealing with and that they follow the rules in the BC Residential Tenancy Act.
2. Observe General Upkeep.
Take in the general look and feel of the building and property – inside and out. Are there broken windows, water stains, or overgrown landscaping that can be a security hazard? If a landlord chooses not to take care of basic maintenance, he or she isn’t probable concerned with general security of the property.
Intruders prefer to sneak around in the dark or in poorly-lit areas. Therefore, when choosing an apartment building to call home make sure you check out the building during the day and a drive by at night. Landlords who care, will replace bunt out bulbs within 24 hours, and have exterior lights installed around the front entrance and parking lot areas. Also ample brightness inside the building to light the hallway and common rooms such as laundry, bike storage and the mail area is critical to maintain safety. The fewer places an intruder has to hide out, the safer everyone will be.
4. Locks and Entrance Control.
When looking at a building, consider the front lobby doors and underground parking gate and how access is gained by residents and visitors. Many times, an entrance door will require a key or buzz-in to access the lobby and interior halls of an apartment building. At Midtown Club Suites, we have upgraded all exterior doors and gates with keyless FOB access for residents. With only key access, past tenants could still have keys floating around, whereas with FOBs being controlled by the manager, it allows them more control and to limit access to the building.
5. Security Cameras.
It is of our opinion that installing security cameras, doesn’t necessarily omit crime, but they sure can help deter vandalism. They also help the management team understand who, what and when of this unwanted behaviour, as new technology allows loop recordings to be watched and given over to authorities if required. At Midtown Club Suites, we have given careful thought and planning to include a total of 14 cameras installed strategically in lobby and underground parking, that are linked to a DVR monitored by the building manager.
6. Fire Safety Plan.
In apartment complexes, the fire safety equipment including sprinklers, and the landlords commitment to annual maintenance and replacement is of the upmost importance. At a minimum, the landlord should conduct the fire safety inspection with a professional and reputable third-party company – and all recommended work and repairs noted on the inspection report should be done by the landlord. We have gone one step further with our sprinklers at Midtown Club Suites and have installed the latest technology “Dry-Flex” system to provide sprinklers on each patio in the building.
7. Security System for your Suite.
It is not as common or typically needed for the upper floors of an apartment to have a security system, but we consider the ground floor suites to be similar to that of a townhome. There are more eyes and ears in an apartment building which is a benefit to deterring crime, but at Midtown we have chosen to pre-wire all opening doors and windows, plus install key pad and motion detector for the ground floor suites. Of course today there are also wireless systems you can buy, which is great to be able to take with you to your next residence when the time comes to move.
8. Checking out the Neighbors.
Getting to know your neighbors and building management staff is a real easy way to help look out for each other. If you live in a larger complex, think about organizing simple social events where you get more familiar with the faces that are down the hall from you. We believe that setting the right culture of the building is almost as important as the security system we install – so we hire managers who care about the culture and who they choose to rent to. This extra attention to detail at Midtown, sets our buildings apart from the competition.
9. Extra Security Measures at Home.
For extra security, we have found that leaving a couple of low-energy lights, plus a radio or TV playing while you are gone, is a simple way to deter criminal activity. Always tell your manager, and neighbors when you leave for a business trip or vacation.