Renting has its perks but, unfortunately, security isn’t alway one of them. In fact, rental properties are 85% more likely to experience a burglary than an owned home. This is due, in part, to the ability for homeowners to install home security systems on their properties while renters generally don't have this luxury.
The good news is, you don’t have to be at the mercy of your landlord to feel a bit safer when away from home. Follow these tips to improve your rental security:
Before Your Sign The Lease
Review crime in your neighborhood using sites like CrimeReports or SpotCrime Crime Map. Pay special attention to recent break-ins in the area directly surrounding your prospective property. Since the property’s location impacts insurance rates, you can ask your insurance provider for insight based on the location. Because higher crime neighborhoods pose more risk to insurance companies, higher rates will apply.
When walking through the neighborhood, take a look around at property maintenance. Is your building well lit at night? Are lawns nearby well landscaped? Both are a good sign and are burglar deterrents.
Whenever possible, avoid first-floor units. If you do decide to opt for a first-floor unit, you'll want to make sure all of your windows lock, and install a device that sounds an alarm if a window is broken (like this one).
Once You’ve Moved In
No neighborhood is completely safe from break-ins, so once you’ve researched an area you feel safe, you’ll still want to implement a few at-home tactics to boost security. Thieves often look for the easiest entrance to a home, so they’re more likely to enter from your front door, back door, or ground-level windows.
Burglars will typically avoid a home if it looks like its residents are currently home, or if it seems like their activity will be easily viewed by neighbors. With this in mind, lighting is key: hallways and stairwells should be brightly lit and always on. If a lightbulb burns out, replace it immediately to signal occupancy to any potential burglars surveilling the residence.
Request Deadbolts or Chain Locks
If your door doesn’t have a deadbolt, ask your apartment manager to install one. If they refuse, check to see if you can install one yourself, or opt for a chain lock in addition to your current locking mechanism. This will give you the ability to crack open the door if someone knocks, while still providing the security of limited access - - this is especially important if your door doesn’t have a peephole.
Since burglaries often occur when residents are away from their home, you’ll want to ensure you’re aware of what’s happening at your home while you’re not inside. Systems like Notion are quick and easy to set up on your doors and windows and will send direct notifications to your phone whenever a door or window has been opened. This way, you’ll know exactly when to investigate further with your building manager or local police department.