Home should feel like a safe place. As is the case with all rental homes, landlords are required to meet a certain level of safety standards and maintain things like smoke detectors and working locks. While these are helpful, it is also a good idea to take your safety and security into your own hands in order to make sure that you have done everything you can to keep your family safe and sound. Putting a few extra measures in place can help you sleep better at night and just might be the difference between safety and danger.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While your rental is required by law to come equipped with a working smoke alarm, you should make it part of your monthly safety routine to make sure it is viable. If you haven’t conveniently burned something on the stove and accidentally set it off, you can test it by pressing the ‘test’ button on the bottom or side of the unit. It will let you know when it needs new batteries by beeping intermittently. Ironically, this usually happens late at night while you are trying to sleep.
Carbon monoxide is clear, odorless and potentially deadly. It is usually emitted as a malfunction of a furnace or heater and it has accounted for some terrible tragedies in houses that are unequipped with sensors. If your rental home doesn’t already come with one, it is worth the money to purchase a carbon monoxide detector for every level of your home. Mine once went off and I was immediately alerted to vacate the house with my young children until the fire department could come and check it out. It turned out to be a false alert, which is rare, but I was assured that even in such cases, it was still functional in the event of an actual leak.
Given the high turnover in rental homes, landlords are supposed to change the locks each time, especially since they can never be sure how many copies of the key are out there. You are within your rights to request proof of new locks on the unit before you move in for safety. It’s a simple and safe way to ensure that only those that are supposed to have keys will be able to access your home.
Windows and Doors
Most of us make the rounds of the doors and windows to make sure they are locked before turning in for the night, but there are ways that you can make your rental home even more secure. Thick, wooden dowels placed in the tracks of a window, or a sliding glass door boost safety and can keep an intruder from popping the lock or lifting the window/door out of the tracks. If the area you live in feels particularly unsafe, request permission from your landlord to install a bolt lock on the door, or a peephole, so you can see who is knocking before you open up.
Fire Escape Ladder
Apartment and rental buildings that are more than one story are supposed to have reasonable fire escape options. However, sometimes these aren’t ideally located, in disrepair or inaccessible for every room. If the worst happens and you are trapped on an upper floor, you may need to create your own means of escape in a hurry. Foldable ladders that hook onto the edge of a window and reach the ground are an inexpensive and easily stored option that could offer you peace of mind. You can’t ever be too careful when it comes to the safety of your family.
If you want further protection, you can also have a security system installed. There are many options that are designed for rentals and will not damage the walls, windows or doors. Make sure you get permission from your landlord before you sign a contract, though.