10 Fire Safety Tips for Apartment Renters

Apartment fire alarm with read blinking light and smokeApartment life offers many conveniences. But there are also some risks involved. For example, you can’t control what the person in the apartment next door does, even though you both share a wall, a roof, etc. That proximity and shared space mean it’s even more important to avoid apartment fires by practicing fire safety.

Here are 10 crucial tips:

1. Make Some Noise

Noise can be a very helpful part of your apartment fire safety plan. We’re talking about two kinds of apartment noise here:

  • The kind of noise your smoke alarm makes when you test it at least once per month.
  • The kind of noise you’ll make when you speak with your building manager about obstructed exits, fire doors being propped open, and safety violations of all kinds.

2. Map Your Moves

Learn the locations of the nearest exits and fire extinguishers in your apartment building. Don’t stop there, though. Once out of the burning building, you’ll need to stay away so as not to create more congestion around the area while firefighters battle the blaze. Make sure you pinpoint that area on your map.

3. Boost Your Memory

Studies have shown that physically rehearsing something can help your body retain important — or even life-saving — information about how to move. This is what is referred to as your muscle memory. Muscle memory is especially beneficial in high-stress situations where you might otherwise be flustered.

4. Be a Team Player, Not a Hero

Real danger can bring out the best in us. But that doesn’t mean you should risk your life because you want to make sure one of your neighbors has escaped. Immediately notify the nearest firefighter once you are outside. Trying to rescue others may only create a larger problem for the firefighters.

5. Clear the Way!

Moving swiftly through a smoke-filled apartment or hallway is not the best time to be darting around your computer bag, the recycling you didn’t take out, and that stack of library books you need to return. Keep your apartment floor and hallways clear of clutter to eliminate all potential hurdles between you and safety.

6. An Ounce of Prevention …

Ordinarily, it’s safe to say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Which is to say that making sure something bad doesn’t happen is better than recovering from it. When an apartment fire is the topic, though, an ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure. For instance, do not leave frying foods unattended in the kitchen. Or if you smoke, ensure every cigarette butt is fully extinguished when you’re finished.

7. Shut It

Before you go to sleep, shut your bedroom door. Doing so can help minimize damage or physical harm from the fire itself or smoke inhalation. You only have about three minutes — or less — to escape a residential fire. Every second counts. If you can buy yourself even one extra second by closing your door, it sounds like a good idea! And if you wake up to a fire alarm or blaring smoke detector, don’t freak! Here are additional apartment safety tips for you and your family.

8. Fake It

Some apartment buildings ban open flames of any kind, which means candles are a no-no from the start. Some people ignore such rules, though, which can have devastating consequences. If YOU love the ambiance of a flickering candle, pick up the more convenient and far safer electric version. After all, an apartment on fire is a high price to pay for setting a mood.

9. Put Your Name on a List

Does a disability prevent you from making a swift escape? Ask your landlord or building manager if your name and apartment number can be placed on a list in the fire alarm panel or other location that’s secure but readily accessible by the fire department.

10. Be Neighborly

If your apartment building prohibits grilling under covered patios, walkways, or balconies, obey those rules. And make sure all exits are cleared of debris that could hinder escape or support. If you see any violations of such apartment fire safety precautions, refer back to #1 on this list and make some noise — to your landlord or building management company.

If being neighborly and alerting responsible parties aren’t enough to set your mind at ease, or if you’re looking to upgrade to a more modern apartment complex, it’s time to search apartments on ApartmentSearch.com. The process is easy and rewarding. After you sign your lease, let us know and we’ll hook you up with a $200 reward!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

How to Prep Your Apartment Before a Long Trip | ApartmentSearch

Girl with yellow suitcase packing for trip and preparing her apartmentYou probably (hopefully!) aren’t braced for a flood, a fire, or a burglary at any moment. In fact, we all like to assume, “It won’t happen to me!” The sad truth, however, is that a disaster or accident can happen to anyone. While you can’t protect yourself from everything, you can certainly take measures to prevent those things from happening while you’re away.

Whether you’re gearing up for holiday travel, a summer vacation, or even a quick weekend getaway, don’t forget to prepare your apartment for your departure! Before you leave, use these helpful tips to prevent accidents, weather damage, and burglaries in your apartment.

1. Put a few lights on timers.

Burglars are more active during the holiday season because they know that many families are traveling. If your windows are constantly dark, that’s their first sign that you’re gone – and your home becomes an easy target! Trick thieves into thinking you’re home by setting a few lamps on automatic timers before you leave. That’ll give the appearance that someone is still inside (and protecting!) your apartment.

2. Arrange for someone to pick up your newspaper or packages.

Potential burglars will take note if they see packages or newspapers piling up outside your vacant apartment, so ask a neighbor to bring them inside for you. For even more safety and peace of mind, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or nearby friend who can check your apartment every few days. Not only will they deter burglars who may be watching your apartment, they’ll also make sure nothing has gone awry since you left!

3. Unplug small appliances.

Yes, we know – unplugging those appliances behind your television requires some complex acrobatic moves, and your toaster is probably fine… but better safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to unplug as many appliances or electronics that you can before you head off. Unplug everything but your refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer. This will not only prevent a potential fire, but it can also save you some money! Even when you’re not home, some appliances can still eat up electricity. Unplug, prevent a fire, and save a few bucks on your electric bill!

4. Make sure your renter’s insurance policy is up to date.

Renter’s insurance is a lifesaver if a disaster strikes while you’re away. Double check your renter’s insurance coverage and make sure your policy is up-to-date. You might be surprised what is and isn’t covered!

5. Check your faucets and exterior openings for leaks.

Have you been ignoring that leaky faucet for a couple of weeks? Ignorance is not bliss! Small leaks can turn into big problems while you’re gone, so call your apartment community’s management to get leaks properly repaired. It’s also a good idea to run your dishwasher a day or two before you plan to leave (especially if you don’t use it often) to make sure there aren’t any leaks within its pipes and systems. Check your windows and doors too, and change out old weather stripping or a worn-out window seal that could let rain into your apartment and leave you with a flooded mess when you return.

6. Clean up around your apartment.

Okay, so this might not prevent real danger… but do you really want to come back to a smelly apartment? Take a few minutes to clean up, take out the trash, dispose of old food in your refrigerator, and clean your kitchen garbage disposal if you have one. Wash any dirty dishes, and make sure there isn’t wet laundry in your washing machine when you leave.

7. Set up a security camera.

If you’re concerned about security while you’re gone, invest in and set up a security camera. There are many affordable options on the market, and some security apps even let you use an old camera phone or another device to send a live stream right to your phone. If you live in an area where holiday break-ins happen frequently, it may be worth the peace of mind to set up a camera system.

8. Do a safety check.

Old windows or locks could put you at risk for a break-in, so walk through our apartment safety checklist prior to leaving for your trip. Address any issues with your apartment community management so that your apartment is safe and sound while you’re gone.

Preparing your apartment can take a bit of time, but it can save you some headaches once you return home from your travels. And if you’re sick of traveling so much? Maybe it’s time to move closer to the activities and people you love most! If you’re ready for a change, find apartments for rent with ApartmentSearch. Our apartment locator tools can help you find just the place so you can start the year exactly where you want to be!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What to Do If Pipes Freeze in Apartment | Apartment Search

Water leaking from faucet with yellow backgroundFor many college students and first-time renters, the possibility of frozen pipes is the last thing on their minds when they return home for the holidays. Yet, those who attempt to save money by turning off the heat while they’re away may be in for an unwelcome surprise. Frozen pipes in apartment complexes are an all-too-common occurrence that can usually be prevented with a few simple steps. Here’s what to do if your pipes freeze in your apartment.

Can Pipes Freeze in an Apartment?

The short answer is yes; the pipes in your apartment can freeze. When this happens, it’s usually due to a combination of three factors: a rapid drop in outside temperature, poor insulation, and cold air inside the apartment when the thermostat is set too low. More often than not, the pipes that end up freezing are either connected to piping that runs outside the building or placed in poorly insulated exterior walls.

Unfortunately, as a renter, you have little control over your building’s insulation or pipe infrastructure — and even less control over unexpected cold snaps. Whereas homeowners can immediately shut off their water supply if they suspect any pipes have frozen, most renters simply don’t have access to their water main. On top of that, pipes that freeze inside walls are practically unreachable — unless you’re thinking of “remodeling” with a saw and sledgehammer.

The good news is that your landlord has a legal obligation to maintain running water in your apartment. Hopefully, that means they will be proactive about preventative maintenance, be quick to shut off the water if pipes do freeze, and inform tenants about how to keep their pipes from freezing in the future. Responsible property managers typically include information on winter pipe care in the lease and notify tenants about freeze prevention methods ahead of winter weather.

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Prevention is key — burst pipes can flood apartments and lead to thousands of dollars in damages that the renter may be liable for. Sometimes, though, frozen pipes just happen. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a headache you’ll want to take care of quickly.

So what do you do if a pipe freezes in your apartment? Well, the best solution is to use these five tips to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. But let’s say the deed is already done: it got really cold last night, and when you turned on your faucet this morning, nothing came out. Uh-oh. Here’s what you can do:

First, try to locate the frozen pipe if possible. If some faucets have running water while others do not, this may help narrow your search. Visually inspect any piping you can see for signs of condensation or frost. The case very well may be that the blocked pipe is frozen somewhere out of reach.

Let’s say you did find a pipe that’s frozen. How can you remedy the situation? Attempt to thaw out the pipe with gentle heat. Some DIY methods include pointing a space heater at the pipe (from a safe distance of three feet), going over it with a blow dryer, or soaking a towel in warm water and wrapping it around the pipeline. While you’re doing this, turn the corresponding faucet on low to drain water and dislodge any remaining ice.

(Note: Avoid pouring hot water down the drain to unclog a frozen pipe! The sudden heat on a frozen surface is likely to crack and burst the pipe).

If you can’t find any frozen pipes, your best course of action is to start raising the temperature in your apartment. Bump up the thermostat higher than normal and open any cabinets that house water pipes, such as in the bathroom and under the kitchen sink. The goal is to get warmer air circulating around your pipes. Also, set blocked faucets to drip to both drain water and give you an indication that the pipes are thawing out.

In the meantime, inform the landlord that your pipes may be frozen so they can address the situation. Since an apartment without running water is considered uninhabitable, property management is responsible for emergency maintenance or repairs.

If you have frozen pipes, apartment complexes will likely already be aware of the situation and notify residents of any water shutoffs or necessary maintenance. Remember, however, that part of a responsible renter’s job is to take steps to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place — saving both yourself and your property manager from the costly headache of a burst pipe.

Need to find an apartment community that has a better handle on preventative maintenance? Explore ApartmentSearch and find the right place to call home!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Does Your New Apartment Have Hard Water? | ApartmentSearch

Person filling up a water bottle with kitchen faucet

You’re all moved into your new apartment. The layout is excellent, the work commute is a breeze, and the kitchen is impressive. But after taking your first shower in your new home, you notice that your skin and hair feel drier than ever! And why did your dishwasher leave a cloudy residue on all your glassware?

If these things sound familiar, your new apartment may have hard water. Learn what “hard water” is, how it stacks up against softer water, and tips for dealing with it in your new space.

What is Hard Water

Hard water is merely a form of H2O with a higher than average mineral content — typically, a larger calcium and magnesium concentration.

Before our drinking water ever makes it to the tap, it comes from lakes, rivers, and other waterways. As it flows, it picks up additional minerals from rocks and soil, and if too much is collected, hard water can form. Although you may want supplemental magnesium and calcium in your overall diet, hard water can cause some complications in your home.

Hard vs. Soft Water

Hard Water

Minerals found in hard water are natural and generally safe to consume. However, there are a few negative concerns associated with hard water in an apartment, too.

  • White residue on dishes, shower walls, coffee makers, and other surfaces
  • Limescale buildup
  • Reduced efficiency of household appliances, plumbing systems, and water heaters
  • Lower water pressure
  • Damaged and quickly worn clothing due to the harshness of hard water
  • Poor soap performance
  • Skin irritation from soap scum that can become trapped in your pores
  • Drier skin and hair after showering

Due to many of these issues, your utility bills can increase from excess water used to rewash dishes, clothes, and other items, along with buildup in your plumbing systems.

Soft Water

After the long list of issues caused by hard water, it may seem that soft water is the better option. With its better soap performance, contribution to longer-lasting clothing, optimal water pressure, and other benefits, it still has a few faults of its own.

Soft water may have higher sodium levels, leading to a slightly salty taste.
It’s more corrosive and can slowly deteriorate your plumbing system’s useful life, which can cause high lead and copper levels in your drinking water.

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water

If you notice any of the issues listed above for hard water, you may want to test it in other ways as well. Here are a few methods for evaluating the quality of the water in your home:

DIY Soap Test

Test for hard water with a bar of soap and a bowl of water from the tap. Rub the soap between your hands in the bowl. If it lathers quickly, you likely have softer water. If getting a few suds to form proves challenging and the water becomes cloudy, hard water may be the culprit.

Perform a Wet-Strip Test

You can purchase these from many home improvement stores, but make sure the one you buy also tests for hard water. Fill a container from the tap and immerse the paper test strip in the water. Then, compare the strip’s final color with the kit’s chart.

Tips for Dealing With Hard Water

Since you likely won’t have the same access to your overall plumbing system as you would in a house, it may take a little craftiness to deal with the hard water in your home. Try these tips:

  • Soften your water by boiling it to remove and evaporate some of the minerals. (Note: This will usually work on temporary hard water only. Permanent hard water has a slightly different chemical makeup).
  • Remove hard water stains and limescale with white distilled vinegar. You can also use vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher.
  • Get rid of soap scum with commercial products such as Kaboom or a homemade mixture of water, dish soap, and vinegar.
  • Install a home water softening system for your faucet. If you have a health condition in which higher sodium levels could prove harmful, try salt-free alternatives.

Whether it’s the water quality or the noisy upstairs neighbors, there are plenty of reasons to want to move on to the next place. Find an apartment that fits your needs and budget with ApartmentSearch, where you can filter available rental properties by price, layout, amenities, and more!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Halloween Safety Tips for Apartment Renters | ApartmentSearch

cat silhouette against full moon The spookiest day of the year is almost upon us! Though horror movies evoke fear of ghosts and apparitions, there are plenty of not-so-supernatural dangers to be scared of on Halloween. This fall, practice these 10 Halloween safety tips to keep yourself, your apartment, and your pets completely safe and completely un-scared.

1. Lock your doors (and windows!).

“Halloween crimes” are a real thing. As reported by the Huffington Post, there’s an increase in break-ins on this dark holiday. After all, burglars know most people are out trick-or-treating with little ones or attending Halloween festivities, so homes are unoccupied and easy targets. Even if you live in a notoriously safe apartment complex, take extra precautions around Halloween and double-check that all doors and windows are locked. 

2. Don’t leave a spare key under the mat.

Sure, leaving a spare key handy makes things easier when friends or family visit from out of town. However, it also makes it easier for thieves to show themselves into your home. You might as well say, “Come on in!” If you’ve got a spare key hidden outside your apartment, now’s the time to retrieve it. 

3. Check to see who’s at the door before swinging it open.

Even if you are one of the lucky apartment dwellers expecting adorable trick-or-treaters, it’s wise to take a peek before opening your door. On Halloween, when alcohol is flowing, crime rates are up, and masked mischief-makers are roaming your town, it’s always better to be overly-cautious.

4. Make sure someone is always home, if possible.

Who wouldn’t want to snuggle up with a horror movie and a personal bowl of Halloween candy? One of the best ways to help prevent a break-in and stay out of harm’s way is to stay home. If you’ve got big Halloween festivities lined up, however, leave your lights and television on to make it appear as if you’ve stayed home.

5. Move any valuables off your balcony or porch.

Do you have a bicycle, grill, or expensive pair of shoes on your apartment balcony? Yes, balcony thefts happen! Bring anything of value inside your unit to prevent someone with sticky fingers from snagging it or a drunken reveler from damaging it.

6. Don’t forget to blow out any candles before leaving your apartment.

Nothing says fall like scented candles. During Halloween, you may also have candles lighting up your beautifully carved jack-o-lantern. Whatever you do, heed to common fire safety advice and don’t leave lit candles unattended! If you’re the forgetful type, it never hurts to add a sticky note to the inside of your front door: “Make sure your candles are blown out!”

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Stop! It’s Illegal to Throw Away These 9 Things | ApartmentSearch

Two girls throwing stuff away in a dumpsterWait! Don’t throw that in the trash! You might be breaking the law. Some things in your apartment can’t go out with your regular garbage–even if they fit in the apartment complex’s dumpster or trash compactor. Find out what these items are (they’re more common than you might think!), why they can’t go in your trash can, and how to dispose of them properly.

You’re not allowed to throw away…

#1: Batteries

Though there are several different types of batteries, almost none of them can go out with your regular trash. Batteries contain toxic chemicals like mercury, cadmium, and nickel which leak into the soil and water system if left in a landfill.

How to Dispose of Batteries Properly

Take your rechargeable batteries to a retail collection point like those found at IKEA, Walmart, Staples, or similar stores for proper recycling. For lithium, silver oxide, alkaline, or zinc-carbon batteries, you’ll need to dispose of them at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility.

Note: The EPA offers a list of HHWs in your area.

#2: Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Regular incandescent light bulbs contain no toxic chemicals and may go out with the rest of your trash. Fluorescent light bulbs are a different story. Though much better for the environment, fluorescent bulbs contain a tiny amount of mercury (5 milligrams, to be exact) which makes them a hazard if broken.

How to Dispose of Light Bulbs Properly

Recycle your expired light bulbs at your local HHW. Stores like IKEA and Home Depot may also accept fluorescent light bulb drop-offs.

#3: Paints

Oil-based paints, primers, coatings, and varnishes are not good for the environment. They can also be harmful to humans and other animals. Water-based paint tends not to pose a threat, but keep it away from pets and kids.

How to Dispose of Paints Properly

Consider donating your extra paint to local schools, theater groups, or a non-profit like Habitat for Humanity. Otherwise, take your paint cans to the HHW.

#4: Electronics

Old laptops, TVs, DVDs, CD players, VCRs, iPods, cell phones, digital watches, alarm clocks, printers, video game consoles—none of these electronics should go in your trash can. According to FMC Landfill, although electronic waste accounts for just 1-4% of typical municipal waste, “e-waste” accounts for roughly 75% of the heavy metals and 40% of the lead waste found in landfills—which is not good!

How to Dispose of Electronics Properly

Many programs exist to help you dispose of your electronics. You could always donate your gadgets for reuse. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, your local government probably has a drop-off center. Some manufacturers even offer mail-in or trade-in recycling programs for certain products like cell phones. You might even make a little bit of money for recycling your electronics!

#5: Motor Oil

If you’re the D.I.Y. type, you might change your car’s oil. But in most states, it’s illegal to even pour motor oil on the ground, let alone down a drain. That’s because wastewater treatment can’t function properly if it’s mixed with motor oil. Used motor oil from one oil change, according to the EPA Archives, can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water—a year’s supply for 50 people.

How to Dispose of Motor Oil Properly

The only legal way to dispose of motor oil is by sealing it in a plastic container and bringing it to a recycling center, automotive parts store, or car service station.

#6: Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors come in two basic types: photoelectric or ionization chamber. If your smoke detector is the ionization chamber type, it contains a small amount of radiation that helps detect the presence of smoke, which classifies it as a hazardous substance according to the Fire Protection Agency.

How to Dispose of Smoke Detectors Properly

First, figure out which type of smoke detector you have. If it’s a photoelectric smoke detector, you can recycle it the same way you’d recycle electronics (see #4). If it’s a smoke detector containing radiation, you have two options:

  • Take it to an HHW or recycling center in your area.
  • Mail it back to the manufacturer by ground delivery (air delivery of radioactive substances is not permitted).

#7: Garden Chemicals

If you like to maintain a garden on your apartment patio or balcony, chances are you have a few chemical bottles lying around filled with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Don’t throw these bottles away in the trash, unless you want to break the law.

How to Dispose of Garden Chemicals Properly

Take your garden chemicals to an HHW. Or, if you no longer have a use for them but they aren’t empty, donate them to a neighbor.

#8: Mercury Thermometers

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet? It’s illegal to throw away old mercury thermometers for the same reason it’s illegal to throw away some batteries: mercury is toxic to humans and the environment.

How to Dispose of Old Thermometers Properly

Some schools and universities have exchange programs that allow you to drop off your old mercury thermometers for new electronic ones. Otherwise, find a waste collection program or HHW in your community.

#9: Tires

Tires are illegal to throw away in your weekly garbage because they contain steel belts which can puncture the liners in landfills and cause ground contamination.

How to Dispose of Tires Properly

Most tire retailers and used car dealerships will take your old tires, but you’ll probably have to pay. Want to support a good cause? With Rethink Tires, you can drop off your used tires for free. Rethink tires will turn them into innovative recycled rubber products. Drop your old tires off at any registered collection site.

When you buy new tires and get them installed, your auto service station should dispose of your old tires for you.

It’s a hassle to throw away a lot of these items, especially if you don’t live near a recycling center. Find the perfect apartment with on-site recycling amenities on ApartmentSearch and never worry about inconvenient waste disposal again. We’ll show you hundreds of environmentally-friendly or green technology apartments, then match you with the best ones for you and your budget.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What to Do When Your Apartment Floods from Upstairs | ApartmentSearch

Man mopping up wet hardwood floor in apartment kitchenYou thought apartment floods could only happen from the outside, in—from heavy rain or a hurricane. But now you’re dealing with a flood from upstairs and waterfalls from your neighbor’s burst pipes are cascading into your living room.

When other tenants live above you in separate apartments, your risk of a flood from upstairs increases exponentially. The fact is: if their apartment floods, your apartment most likely floods, too. Thanks a lot, gravity!

Find out what to do when disaster strikes, and how to get back on your feet.

5 Steps for Handling a Flood from Upstairs

Step #1: Recognize Common Sources of Upstairs Flooding

Before you look outside for the cause of the flooding, look up. According to PRO Restoration, the most common sources of indoor flooding include:

  • Burst pipes
  • Leaky water heaters
  • Clogged sewer or drain lines
  • Faulty washing machine hoses

Refrigerators, dishwashers, and toilets are also common culprits of upstairs flooding. If you can identify the source of a flood from upstairs, you’ll be able to help your landlord and repair workers find and fix the issue. You might even be able to stop the deluge by shutting off the proper water supply valves.

Step #2: Salvage Your Stuff

With an upstairs flood, chances are good that the water is coming into your apartment from a specific part of your ceiling. Move valuable items that are at risk of damage from the upstairs flood to a separate area of your apartment. If need be, transfer your stuff to a neighbor’s apartment, to your car, or to waterproof storage.

Step #3: Call Your Landlord for Help

Your landlord will want to stop the flooding as much as you do. After all, the apartment technically belongs to them! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your landlord for help. Oftentimes, they will be more than happy to provide skilled personnel, flood remediation services, fans, wet vacs, and more.

In general, your landlord is responsible for repairs related to ensuring your apartment remains in a livable condition. Flooding damage caused by an upstairs apartment most likely falls into this category. Ultimately, your lease will specify whether your landlord is responsible for making the repairs.

Step #4: Contact Your Insurance Company

Some landlords require all tenants to purchase renters insurance to reduce the risk of personal property damage claims. Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, you may want to consider before renting an apartment to better protect yourself financially.

If you do have renters insurance (high five!), call your claims department to see if they can help you replace your damaged possessions or make repairs. Photographing any evidence of the flooding and documenting all correspondence with your landlord will help streamline the process of your insurance payout.

Step #5: Take Care of the Repairs

Request that your landlord covers the cost of the repairs. If they refuse, you have a number of options. One is to hire your own handyman, then talk to your landlord about deducting the cost of the repair bill from your rent. Another is to make the repairs yourself, then submit your costs to your landlord for reimbursement.

If the upstairs flooding has made your apartment completely unlivable and your landlord is not making the necessary fixes, it may be time to take further action by seeking help from a local group representing tenants, reporting the issue to your city’s code inspection office, and/or taking your landlord to court.

After your apartment floods from upstairs, you may be ready to find a new one. Find (dry!) apartments for rent near you on ApartmentSearch.com.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What to Know About Apartment Courtesy Patrol | ApartmentSearch

Patrol officer leaning on a railingCourtesy patrols are becoming increasingly common “amenities” at certain apartment properties. To many renters, the extra safety measure represents a little more peace of mind. But to some, having a “security guard” on-site brings up a lot of questions. If the need of a courtesy officer in your apartment complex brings up more insecurity than calmness, put your mind at ease as we explain what courtesy patrols are, why they exist, and how they can help you!

What’s a courtesy officer?

Often times, “courtesy officer” is a marketing euphemism of “security guard.” In other words, like a security guard, your apartment courtesy patrol officer is hired for the main purpose of providing security and helping maintain the quality of living in the community.

Apartment complexes have different ways of employing individuals to perform this job. Sometimes, property management companies hire courtesy officers directly, paying them an hourly wage and giving them steep discounts on rent to facilitate their on-call availability. Other times, apartment properties contract courtesy patrols from private security companies.

In some cases, property management companies may offer free or discounted rent (with or without hourly wage) to patrol officers from your county. In exchange, police officers live at the apartment complex, providing on-call security as they become a part of the everyday community!

Why are courtesy patrols necessary?

Even though crime has no address, courtesy patrols are typically more common in luxury apartments in large metropolitan areas and college towns, likely due to these areas having higher population concentrations and crime rates. In such areas, police departments may be understaffed or overworked, resulting in slower response times to emergency calls and/or assigning low priority to less severe incidents.

Accordingly, apartment complexes hire courtesy patrols to have dedicated help in dealing with security and quality of living issues quickly. Even though many of these guards don’t have the authority to arrest anyone (unless they are also local law enforcement officers), they can detain criminals until the police arrive, reports The Press Democrat. More than helping apartment properties deal with crime, the presence of a courtesy patrol is often enough to help prevent crime!

What can my apartment’s courtesy patrol help resolve?

Though the word “patrol” may lead you to think that courtesy patrols can only help with crime, their job duties encompass much more. They can also help preserve the liveability of your apartment complex by enforcing the community’s rules. Here are just a few things that your apartment’s courtesy patrol can do:

  • Address reports of excessive noise and loud parties
  • Enforce community facility rules (e.g., no glass in the pool area)
  • Remove loiterers or trespassers
  • Enforce parking rules by giving tickets, calling towing companies, etc.
  • Lock community facilities like the pool or fitness center after hours
  • Conduct regular foot patrols
  • Monitor package theft
  • Respond to package theft, burglaries, and car break-ins by reporting incidents to pertinent authorities
  • Keep a tab on an apartment property’s closed-circuit monitoring system and gated access

Where can I find apartments with courtesy patrols?

No matter where you live or what you do you deserve to feel safe in your apartment! If you don’t want to invest in an alarm system and would find comfort in having in-person security on-call, talk to your landlord or property manager about hiring a courtesy patrol. And if that doesn’t do the trick, find a new apartment with a courtesy patrol, gated access, and more security measures!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What To Do If Your Apartment Is Broken Into | ApartmentSearch

broken window with a view to the outside of an apartment

Few feelings are worse than the one you get when your apartment is broken into. You frantically search for your most valuable belongings. You’re angry and scared. You feel violated and vulnerable. But all isn’t lost. Find out what to do when you experience the worst: an apartment break-in.

Step #1: Stay calm.

It’s important to keep a level head in the event of an apartment break-in, whether it happens while you’re there or you find evidence after the fact.

Step #2: Be extra safe.

Call 911 immediately if you suspect that the burglar is still in your apartment. Do NOT go room to room searching for the thief, even if you think you’re prepared.

Step #3: Report the crime.

Once you know that you, your roommates, and your pets are safe, it’s time to report the apartment break-in to law enforcement. Phone your local police’s non-emergency number and tell them what happened. In the meantime, try not to move anything around.

Step #4: Survey the scene in your apartment.

If you notice anything peculiar in your apartment that might help the police in their investigation, make sure you tell them about it when they arrive at the scene. Some helpful things to know would be possible entry and exit points, items left behind that do not belong to you, and likely sources of fingerprints.

Step #5: Document the damage.

Make detailed notes and take pictures of anything the thieves damaged. This will help your landlord and your insurance company determine the amount and the method that you will be compensated for your lost belongings.

Step #6: Contact your landlord or property manager.

Notify your landlord or property manager about the break-in. They may be able to provide temporary residence or other resources to aid in your recovery. Discuss a strategy with them about improving apartment security.

Step #7: Talk to your neighbors.

Contact your neighbors as soon as possible to discover whether they witnessed anything unusual around the time when the break-in occurred.

Step #8: Contact your renters insurance provider.

Once you have a list of damaged or stolen personal property, call your renters insurance company to file a claim. The representative you speak to will most likely request a detailed account of what has been stolen or damaged.

Step #9: Take some time to de-stress.

Break-ins can be traumatic. It’s best to ease yourself back into normal apartment life slowly. If you need help re-adjusting, seek a professional counselor.

Step #10: Reduce your chances of another break-in.

Invest in some added security to make sure this never happens again. Hide your valuables, lock your doors, and keep a light on at night while you’re away. Take some extra precautions before you head out on extended trips. Most importantly, make it difficult for anyone but you to access your apartment.
A break-in doesn’t necessarily mean that you can break your lease, but in some circumstances it does. Talk to your landlord and head to ApartmentSearch to find a new apartment where you feel safe and secure.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com