Moving into a new apartment can be a fun and exciting time in a person’s life, but there are certain steps that every renter should take to ensure their new home is safe and secure.
Take a moment to look through these tips to see if your new rental is properly protected against all types of potential problems. In most cases, safety and security issues can be quick fixes, which can be addressed by your landlord or apartment staff.
1. Secure Doors and Windows
Doors and windows should be easily opened and accessible in the event of a fire or catastrophe. If the doors and windows are blocked by furniture or debris or painted shut, it could prevent you from exiting your apartment in the event of an emergency such as a fire.
2. Door and Window Locks
Having a deadbolt and window locks can help prevent against break-ins and home invasions. Some states even require rental properties to have these features. If you don’t have a deadlock on your door or locks on your window, talk with your landlord or apartment staff about having them installed.
3. Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
Remember when you took the battery out of your smoke detector to make it stop beeping? Did you replace the battery? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 40% of residential fires are the result of not having a properly installed smoke alarm. Make sure you have smoke detectors installed in between major living spaces, such as the kitchen, bedrooms and garage. Fire extinguishers should also be regularly checked and maintain to ensure proper functionality.
4. Outdoor Lights
Does your new rental have a porch light? Light can be an excellent deterrent against criminal activity. Make sure your porch light and other lit areas, such as your garage space or communal areas, are maintained and in working order.
5. Electrical Wiring, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
One of the first things you should do when you move into a new apartment or rental property is to ensure that the electrical, ventilation and air-conditioning systems are in good, working order. Damaged, exposed or loose electrical wiring can result in a host of problems, including fire and injury. Additionally, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if your apartment is not properly ventilated.
6. Plumbing and Drainage
Toilet or shower problems are often linked and can be an indicator of a much bigger problem. If you notice problems with drainage, flushing or discover leaks, don’t hesitate to address the issue before it becomes a much greater problem. Additionally, fluctuating water temperature can also be a sign of a failing or problematic water heater.
7. Garbage Removal
Nobody likes bugs and rodents, so it’s paramount to remove food scraps and garbage on a regular schedule in order to avoid infestation. Consult your apartment manager or the Bureau of Sanitation to find out the trash pickup days in your neighborhood.
8. Structural Integrity
Are there cracks running down a wall or ceiling in your new apartment? This could be a sign of structural damage to the foundation, and issue that can cause further damages, including pipe bursts, if not addressed in a timely manner.
In most, if not all, of these cases, your landlord or apartment manager will address the issues and handle the repairs. However, it is important to notify your landlord or apartment manager as soon as possible before it becomes a much greater problem.
In the event that your landlord or apartment manager refuses to make the necessary safety repairs to your rental, most states allow tenants to go ahead with the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost of said repairs from their next rent payment. You should go ahead with the repairs yourself only after your landlord or apartment manager has refused to rectify the issue and after checking to make sure your state supports deducting the costs from your rent. If you choose to go this route, be sure to keep records of your written repair requests and all receipts associated with the repair.
If your landlord or apartment manager ignores your safety concerns regarding structural or waste removal issues, contact your local tenants association to find out what can be done to help the situation.
Margie Wright with EXIT Triple “E” Realty provides services for Lakeway Area TN Homes For Sale and Lakeway Area TN Real Estate For Sale to homebuyers and home sellers in Morristown, Russellville, Talbott, Jefferson City, Dandridge, Bean Station and surrounding areas.
Each EXIT office is independently owned and operated