Student Life

Apartment Safety: 5 Things to Discuss When Renting

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By: Madison White, Uloop

As a parent, you’ve probably heard your fair share of horror stories about apartment safety. But as your student moves around often and can’t afford to pay sky high prices, an apartment is probably the best option.

Apartment safety can mean a wide array of things like keeping it safe from the outside world and keeping it safe on the inside. Though your student may be more interested in decorating and moving into their new place, there are a few safety things that you both should go over when renting an apartment. Here are five tips on apartment safety:

1. Check all the doors and windows

One of the easiest ways to ensure safety is simply by locking up your apartment. When touring a new place, or once you’ve already decided to rent, have your student go around the apartment to check the windows and doors for lock safety.

When touring, it’s probably unlikely that you’ll be opening and closing doors and windows, but it’s important to know if there are foundational issues that might keep them from closing and locking properly. If there is an issue once your student has already moved in, make sure they notify the landlord soon after to come fix the issue.

If front door safety is a concern, consider suggesting that a deadbolt be installed on it. It is worth it to take the steps when making sure that your student feels safe in their new place. Also, keep in mind that your student may be living in a new area that is different than their childhood home. In the past, it might have been fine to leave many of the doors unlocked, but it would be an unwise decision to do that now.

2. Check the smoke detectors

It might be a cliché, but working smoke detectors are important, especially to a susceptible apartment. Your student may not know what an up-to-date detector looks like or how to check if it’s working, so this would be a good time to show them.

Cooking and electrical accidents happen far too often, and it is always better to know if something is happening sooner rather than later. If the landlord has been getting away with having old and faulty smoke detectors, your request can make a huge difference in the entire complex’s safety.

3. Look into renters insurance

Most students who are new to the renting game don’t know about renters insurance. Before they sign the lease, or before you co-sign the lease, make sure that you’re explaining to them how renters insurance works and whether or not the landlord is covering it.

It varies by location and landlord, but just in case of emergency, you want your student to have at least some coverage for their belongings. Laptops and textbooks lost because of an apartment emergency could be dangerously expensive and stressful.

4. Get to know the people around you

Living somewhere new without knowing anyone can be an isolating experience, and a dangerous one too! This isn’t to say that your student needs to be automatic best friends with their new landlord and neighbors, but it is wise to at least have them introduce themselves and learn their names.

Should anything go wrong in their apartment and they need someone immediately, knowing these people can be a real lifesaver. It also promotes a sense of community and belonging that may help with the loneliness of a new place.

5. Be smart about electricity

In the age of technology, electricity use is vital to surviving. Your student will need outlets for their laptop, phone, television, and other things like lamps and coffee makers. Just a tip: a fair amount of apartments don’t come with overhead lighting in bedrooms and living rooms. Before they completely move in, make sure to strategically leave space for lamps by nearby outlets. You’ll also want you or your student to check that any electrical cords aren’t in doorways or under the carpet.

Make sure that any electrical cords and outlets are not in danger of getting wet. Because of some apartment’s limited amount of outlets, your student may have to squeeze in a few extension cords to get electricity in the right places. If they do this, just make sure that they aren’t plugging many things into the extension cord and that the cord itself is in a place where it will not get wet or be stepped on.

Having safety talks with your student probably won’t be thrilling, but they are extremely important. Growing up, they may not have had to worry too much about the safety of their home because they had you making sure everything was okay. As adults or soon to be adults, they may have to learn the rules of safety that have gone unnoticed in the past.

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