After getting settled in your Northern Colorado rental, it’s time to think about something very important: your home security. Although Northern Colorado is a relatively safe place, crime has no address and home security is still important. And rental properties bring unique circumstances that often require special home security plans, especially as you settle into your new surroundings.
Preparing yourself and your rental home or apartment can protect you, your family, and your belongings. Here is a comprehensive rental home security checklist and how to keep your rental home safe.
Check Your Rental Home’s Exterior
Home security starts by examining the outside of the home or apartment. Many potential security issues can be lessened by taking care of the outside of your rental home and making it look like a well-kept and occupied place. Even before you move into a rental unit, look around the outside at any potential security issues and discuss them with your landlord to find a proactive solution.
Lighting is a huge deterrent to many crimes and security issues. With proper exterior lighting, you can have a better view of what’s happening around the rental units and likely scare away would-be criminals by letting them know your home is occupied.
Make sure the outside of your home or apartment is well lit, especially in any hallways or alleys. If needed, talk to your property management company about installing exterior lights around the front door, and turn them on every night so you can see who is approaching your home. You can also install smart lights that automatically turn on and off every night. Motion sensor lights around the back of the house will automatically turn on when something moves and can be a powerful warning to potential intruders.
The plants around your home play a large role in your home’s security but are often overlooked by many renters and landlords, especially if this is your first time living in a single-family home. A well-maintained front yard shows that people live in the house and care about its appearance, which could signal to potential intruders that you also care enough to have other security devices.
With clean landscaping, you have a better chance of a neighbor or someone passing by being able to see if something bad is happening at your house. Keep the bushes and trees trimmed back so the home can easily be seen from the street and there aren’t places to hide. Check that potential intruders can’t use the bushes and trees to enter the doors or windows. Put outside valuables away at night, including the grill and lawnmower.
Consider talking to your landlord about installing security cameras around the outside of the property. This can be especially beneficial for multi-family units with people coming and going at all times of the day and night. Cameras help you see what’s happening around your home and can record suspicious behavior to investigate. If your landlord isn’t willing to install permanent security cameras, there are a variety of renter-friendly options that are easy to install and take down when you move. Even just the appearance of a security camera can help your rental unit feel and be safer.
Windows and Doors
Take an inventory of the property to ensure that all outside-facing doors and windows have properly functioning locks. The front door and other doors to the exterior should have a deadbolt or a chain lock for added protection. Outside doors should be solid, and any glass around the door should be reinforced so it can’t be shattered. Ensure that sliding glass doors are properly secured with a bar or lock to prevent them from opening, even if you don’t live on the ground floor.
Many companies make door and window sensors that work well for rental properties because they can easily be removed or changed with new tenants. Get into the habit of locking all the doors and windows every night. You can even talk to your landlord about installing window or door alarms that can deter potential thieves with a sharp noise when the window or door is opened.
If you have an exterior fence or gate, make sure it locks and is in good condition and that there aren’t any holes in the fence.
Ensure Safety in Your Home’s Interior
Creating a safe and secure environment inside your rental home with the right precautions can keep you and your family safe and provide peace of mind.
A well-lit property is a major deterrent for potential thieves. Turn lights on at night, even if you won’t be home. Regularly check your lightbulbs and change them as necessary, so you don’t get stuck with a dark house.
If you go out of town or regularly get home after dark, put your interior lights on timers to automatically turn on at certain times. Setting timers to turn lights on at various times of the day can give the appearance that someone is home and protect your house. Light timers are inexpensive, easy to install, and can significantly impact your home’s security.
Cameras and Motion Sensors
A motion sensor or alarm system inside the property can alert you of any movement or if someone breaks into the rental property. Alarm systems typically have a more involved installation process and will stay with the unit after you leave, so check with your landlord before installing anything.
There are also a number of lower-tech security alarms designed for rental properties, such as a doorstop that sounds an alarm when someone tries to open the door. These devices don’t require installation and can be a good option for a rental property. Another option is a security system with cameras and motion sensors designed specifically for rental properties. These units don’t require permanent installation or a monthly fee and typically use an app to manage the cameras and keep an eye on the property.
Be sure to keep an inventory of your valuable items. If a theft does occur, you’ll want to document what was stolen or damaged. Get renter’s insurance to protect your items against burglary. The payments are typically small to receive good coverage and protect your belongings during a worst-case scenario.
The best place to keep valuable items or important mementos is in a safe. Small safes are relatively inexpensive and can be put in a variety of places to keep your items secure without taking up valuable space in your home.
Home Security Habits
Aside from putting security systems and measures in place to physically protect your rental home, practicing home security habits also goes a long way in keeping you safe. These habits are useful anywhere, but especially as you move into a new rental home and neighborhood and adjust to your new surroundings.
Know Your Neighbors
Getting to know your neighbors isn’t just friendly; it’s a good security measure. Even being familiar with your neighbor’s names and faces can help in an emergency. When you know your neighbor’s general habits, you can keep an eye out for when things are out of the ordinary or if someone suspicious is in the neighborhood or complex who shouldn’t be there. If possible, exchange contact information with your neighbors so you can call or text each other if you see something suspicious or need help in an emergency.
Lock Doors and Windows
Get in the habit of walking through your rental home at night and before you leave the house to make sure the doors and windows are locked. Especially in the summer months as the weather warms or as people are coming and going, it doesn’t take much for a window to be left open on accident. Simply locking your doors and windows at night can make a big difference in your security and your peace of mind. This is especially important if you live on the ground floor.
The best tip for all-around security for apartments is to simply pay attention. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to look around us and actually pay attention to what’s happening. Look around your neighborhood to see what’s normal so you know when something is out of the ordinary and a potential cause for concern. Who is home during the day? What cars are normally parked on your street? Who has pets or small children to watch for? What is the most well-lit path to your car or the mailbox? Look out for your neighbors and pay attention to your surroundings.
Your Northern Colorado rental should feel safe. This checklist of securing your rental property can keep you safe no matter where you live. Following these tips and staying alert can protect yourself, your family, and your belongings.