The last thing you want to think about while on summer vacation is the security of your apartment rental, but to ensure a worry-free holiday it’s important for tenants to be prepared. Knowing the statistic that renters are 85% more likely to experience a home burglary than homeowners, it’s crucial to take extra precautions before heading out of town for any extended period of time.
This is especially true for an apartment rental in Hattiesburg, a college town, when large populations of renters leave for vacations at the same time. Renters shouldn’t worry too much though. With a little extra attention and planning, tenants should be able to focus on the fabulous destination and fun activities ahead of them. Below we share our best tips to secure your apartment rental while away.
Let the Right People Know You’re Leaving
We get it, you’re going somewhere amazing and you want to let everyone know! Just be careful you are alerting all the right people, and none of the wrong ones.
Before leaving town it’s best practice to let one or two of your most trustworthy immediate neighbors (next door or above or below) know you will be gone. Whether you are super close with these individuals or not, alerting them of your departure will let them know to watch your apartment rental for any suspicious activity (a favor you can return for them in the future). Make sure you leave them with your best contact information or the contact information for someone local that can act as your representative.
Let your landlord or property manager know that you will be leaving town, both in-person by visiting the office and with a follow-up email a few days prior to your departure. Just like with your neighbors, let them know how long you will be gone from your apartment rental and confirm your best contact information or leave them with the contact information of someone local (if applicable).
Broadcasting you are leaving town is an easy way to get targeted for theft. Burglaries occur most during popular vacation times (spring break, summer, thanksgiving and Christmas) when thieves know many renters will be out of town,
decreasing their risk of getting seen/caught. To reduce your risk, be sure to be vague on your social media profiles about when, and how long, you will gone.
Focus on Entryways
Thieves typically access an apartment rental through the front door first, then windows, then back door. Since these are the most commonly used entryways, it’s best for tenants to focus on increasing the security in these areas.
- Deadbolts: If not ask your landlord or property management if they will install one. If they say no, ask if you can install one and give them the spare key. If they still say no, at the very least you should install a chain lock.
- Security Systems: While many apartment rentals have monitored security systems in place, if your apartment rental does not consider installing a simple DIY system. From affordable equipment to mobile notifications, you get the peace of mind without burning through your bank account. Here’s a great resource to help you decide which DIY system is right for you.
If you live on the first floor of an apartment rental your windows are especially susceptible to a break-in. Here are some extra precautions (besides making sure they are locked) you can take:
- Install an alarm: There are great products out there, like Doberman, that will sound an alarm, triggered by vibration, if your window gets broken. It’s especially ideal for apartment rentals since installation is non-evasive, consisting of only an adhesive backing.
- Rods: For sliding windows or sliding glass doors on balconies, lay a broomstick or rod in the tracks. This makes it impossible to forcibly open the entryway.
Make it Seem Like You’re Home
Even though it seems like a smash a grab job, most burglaries are planned out to a degree. Thieves will scout a location, like an apartment community, and look for the easiest target. They will look for apartments that show the signs of being unoccupied, i.e. no lights, no noise, no visible activity.
To prevent your apartment rental from becoming a target while you are on vacation, it’s advisable to install timers. Easy and inexpensive, timers will make it look like you’re home…when you’re not. To use them, plug the timer into your wall socket and set the times for the power to be turned on and off. You can plug any device into the timer, but our suggestion is lamps and the television.
Deal With Your Mail
Nothing screams “Hey, I am out of town and not here to protect my apartment rental!” then a pile of mail and/or packages. To avoid this you can either ask a neighbor to collect your mail while you are away, see if your landlord or property manager will handle, or (if you are going to be gone longer than a week) you can submit a “hold mail” request through your local post office.
Have Renters Insurance
While this isn’t necessarily an extra security measure, it will protect you in the event something does happen while you are away. Most apartment rentals require tenants to have a policy before they move in, but in case you don’t have one it will definitely be something you want to get.
A renter’s insurance policy will not only cover home burglaries and theft, but will also cover damage from flooding, fire and vandalism. Since there are so many things that can go wrong while you are out of town, heck even while you are in town, it’s crucial to make sure you are financial protected.
Have additional apartment rental security questions?
The team at Hattiesburg Apartments has been in the Hattiesburg rental market for a long time. We’ve seen the best, and worst, security measures tenants have taken and have learned from their successes and mistakes. If you have questions, go ahead and give us a call at (601) 264-4626.