Rating 4.6

Safety First: Things to Know as a Renter

As a renter, you are not the first or last person to live in the residence you call home. There are some things you need to do to protect yourself as a renter. If you are going to rent in Columbus, whether it’s an apartment or a house, there are a few safety precautions you need to implement to keep your apartment secure.

Change the locks when you move in.

Landlords and management companies always give you a copy of the key, and they get the old key back from the former tenant. But what if they made copies? Don’t take your landlord’s word for it that they’ve been changed unless you witnessed it yourself. Yes, some landlords will actually say that they’ve replaced the locks when they really haven’t. The last thing you want is for previous tenants to have a key, or worse yet, their last significant other, cousin, dog walker, or anyone else who was entrusted with a spare key.

Meet your neighbors.

Paying attention to who lives around you will help you identify when strangers or new faces come around. It’ll also help your neighbors come to care about you, in case you ever need assistance or something seems amiss around your unit. Plus, research shows that fewer crimes occur where people speak to fellow strangers, since criminals prefer areas where they’ll go unnoticed.

ALWAYS ask who is at the door, and look, before you open it.

There is power in finding out who is at your door before you open it — and even more power in not jumping up and heading to the door just because the bell rings. If you’re not expecting anyone, take caution. If the knock is directly on your unit door and there is a peep hole, use it. If there’s not, see if the super will install one.

Request that friends and family notify you before coming over.

Everyone has a cell phone, so it shouldn’t be much trouble for a friend to text you before wrapping on your door. Let them know that for your own security, you won’t be answering the door unless they notify you before they knock. If a neighbor rings your bell, and when, in turn, you knock on their door, get in the habit of announcing who it is right away.