Are you one of the nearly 50% of all British Columbians that rent a unit in a multi-person housing complex? Here are some key things to keep in mind before and after signing your lease:
Before signing a lease
Research local crime
You’ve finally found it, your dream apartment. Everything about its interior is perfect. But have you considered the neighbourhood? Be sure to check local crime data in the vicinity of the building. The Vancouver Police Department offers these handy Crime Heat Maps, for easy reference.
Check building entrances
Be sure to check the building’s security. Does building access require a key or pass code? Is it buzz-in access?
Take note of the general upkeep
Take note of the building’s common spaces. Broken windows, cracks in the drywall, or leaking pipes, indicate a lack of concern from the landlord or caretaker. If they’re paying atttention to basic maintenance, chances are they will not pay attention to security concerns either.
After signing a lease
Change your locks
You never know how many keys have gone missing, or if the previous tenants still have copies they forgot to give back to the landlord. Ask your landlord to replace your locks with brand new ones, not redistributed ones.
Get to know your neighbours
The better you know your neighbours, the more likely you will be to look out for each other. Introduce yourself to people in your building. If there isn’t already one in place, consider starting a crime-watch group.
Follow apartment security etiquette
Do not let strangers into the building. That means through the front door and through the parking lot entrance. When driving into your building’s parking lot, allow the gate to close completely before driving off.
Did you know?
Renters are 85% more likely to experience a home invasion than those who own their homes.
For more information:
- Apartment Living and Security
- Vancouver Police Department Home Safety Guide
- PreparedBC Guide for Apartments, Condos, and Townhomes