Apartment Life: How to Protect Yourself, Your Identity and Your Stuff

keysFor many people, living alone in a new apartment can be the ultimate in freedom and independence. Whether it’s your very first apartment or simply a new home at a new stage in your life, the idea of one’s own space is comforting, exciting, and it’s a chance to live life on one’s own terms.

While the vast majority of people will never experience a situation in their homes that makes them feel unsafe, it’s imperative that you have a multi-faceted safety plan that encompasses all aspects of your life. You certainly don’t want to live your life surrounded by fear and “what if?” scenarios, but you do want to be prepared for the unforeseen. That is, after all, part of being in control of your life and your home.

Apartment life does have some safety advantages that traditional freestanding homes might not, but we’ll take a look at several ways that you can protect yourself, your property, and your identity in your new apartment.

Meet the Neighbors

As is the situation when you move into a new place, it’s considered polite to meet your neighbors. However, politeness and good manners aside, it can also be crucial to your safety and the safety of your property if you’re on, at the very least, speaking terms with the people who share your walls.

When your neighbors are aware of a few basic facts about your life they’ll be better able to tell when something just isn’t right. Let them know where you work and at what times, and let them get an idea of the friends and family that might be coming to and leaving from your apartment.

You can also return the favor by keeping an eye on your neighbor’s home, as well. A little bit of kindness and some careful observation can go a long way in the fight to keep everyone safe and sound.

Be Aware of Your Mail

Identity theft is a growing crime in the United States and it can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and your credit rating if you fall victim. While we’re all vigilant about banking passwords and other online safety tools, one of the easiest ways that thieves can access your identifying information is through your mail.

safe depositMost apartment complexes use cluster mailboxes, which are generally very safe and secure, but you should ask some questions of your landlord or apartment management team. Are they using a top-of-the-line cluster mailbox (if not tell them to look at options from an online retailer like http://www.nationalmailboxes.com/commercial/) and is the mailbox still in good repair? Who, aside from the mail carrier, has a key to the box? What steps should you take if you feel that your mail has been compromised? All of these questions can help you keep track of your personal information and prevent identity theft.

Purchase Renter’s Insurance

Most apartment complexes and landlords have next to no liability when it comes to theft or damage of your apartment or belongings, so it’s up to you to insure your property. Just as homeowners purchase insurance, renters should also do the same.

You can discuss rental insurance policies with your car insurance agent and determine which type of coverage is best for you. Rental insurance is not usually expensive, and it can save you a significant amount of money if your apartment is ever broken into and your things are stolen.

Change the Locks

Most apartment caretakers or landlords will change the locks when a tenant moves out, but as a new renter it’s hard to be certain that has actually taken place. It’s in your best interest and the interest of safety to demand information.

Ask to see the locksmith’s work order for your apartment. If the apartment manager can’t produce this information, insist that the job be repeated and that you are there to personally witness the work. Also, be sure to check that the locks on all windows and patio doors are in good condition and function well. While some might see this as an overreaction, it’s your apartment and your safety on the line, so vigilance should always be a main priority.

Keeping yourself and your property safe in your new apartment is simple common sense, and these tips can help you achieve that goal. Meet your neighbors, keep tabs on your mail, ensure your locks are safe, and buy a renter’s insurance policy. When you’ve covered all of your safety bases, it’s time to relax and enjoy your new, comfortable apartment without worry.

 

About the Author: Dave Vincent is an expert on mailbox security and safety. His years of experience have made him a leader in the residential and business mailbox industry.

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