You probably don’t think of your apartment as being a death trap. But, apartments have their own safety issues. So, if you rent, here’s what you need to know to keep you or your family safe.
Ask About Security
One of the first things you want to ask your new landlord is about the security, or lack thereof, on the premises. Does the apartment have it’s own security system? What does it consist of? Some security systems are just a keypad and a localized alarm system. Others tie into the local police, fire, and rescue services.
Still others send alerts to your smartphone or mobile device, and include onsite cameras and other surveillance systems.
Speaking of surveillance, does the landlord maintain surveillance on the premises and, if so where.
Note that just because there are cameras on-site, doesn’t mean that you’re safe from burglar or from all dangers. In fact, surveillance systems can be used against you if the landlord has them placed improperly. For example, some landlords illegally place cameras inside of apartments where they attempt to monitor you.
This is not only an invasion of your privacy, but it’s highly illegal.
Just ask your landlord about general security provisions of the home and let him or her explain what is. Then, judge for yourself whether the security is sufficient or overbearing.
Ask About Safety
What safety features are there in the apartment? What if the building catches on fire? Is the alarm system tied into the fire and rescue department? What if you slip and fall? Who is liable? According to personal injury and accident attorney in Queens, David Resnick and Associates, landlords have a basic responsibility to maintain the grounds.
But, you must be sure that the landlord will actually do that.
Ask what procedures are in place to maintain the grounds, the apartment, and your safety during the summer, fall, spring, and winter, and if some unusual event happens, like a plumbing leak.
Ask About Radon, Lead, And Other Health Hazards
Most tenants don’t ever think to ask about radon exposure, and most landlords don’t take it very seriously.
Ask if the apartment or home has been tested for radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that is quite common in most buildings.
However, high concentrations can cause long-term health problems, which is why most experts advise homeowners and landlords to test for radon concentration.
If it hasn’t (most haven’t), ask to have it done or do it yourself. If your tests come up positive, ask if the landlord will pay to have the apartment ventilated properly. If he won’t, rent from another landlord.
Ask about lead paint. and landlords are legally required to disclose any known lead paint in the building. But, they are not required to remove and repaint the premises if there is lead paint.
Feel your landlord’s answers out. Do they seem suspicious or evasive? If so, consider renting elsewhere.
Ask About The Landlord’s Previous Tenants
What happened to the landlord’s previous tenants? If you notice the landlord badmouthing them, that’s usually a bad sign. Did the tenants fail to pay rent or did the landlord have other issues with them? What about previous tenants before that?
If the landlord has a tendency to rent to people who don’t pay their rent on time, he or she may have poor judgment – something you should be concerned about.
If the landlord keeps losing tenants for odd or unusual reasons, it might be a sign the landlord is trying to cover something up.
Phoebe Chambers works in the lettings industry, and as an apartment renter herself, has a lot of useful info she can share with others. She writes for various property sites sharing her tips and tricks on apartment hunting, and apartment living.