Living in a condominium or apartment complex can give residents a great sense of security, and typically for good reason – many community complexes feature a secure access control that carefully manages authorized entry. Typically, you don’t see this level of access control in single-family properties, unless you’re living in a gated community. That being said, there are still a variety of condo and apartment security tips and considerations that multi-family property experts recommend taking into account.
Here are some top condo and apartment security tips to keep in mind for those thinking of buying a condo or a unit in a multi-family or community complex.
1) Check if your building has access control systems
Whether you live in a condo in Miami, FL, or an apartment complex in Seattle, WA, everyone deserves to feel secure in their own home. Some apartments and condos feature both individual unit entry security and complex-wide secure systems. These systems allow for management to meticulously control who has authorized access to the complex itself.
Modern security approaches, like touchless access control and cloud-based systems, have been growing in popularity in recent years. Access control security systems are now being integrated into both residential and commercial premises faster than ever to improve condo and apartment security. Property managers now prioritize improved security solutions utilizing smart home tech while also mitigating the risks of disease transmission by minimizing unnecessary contact. Make sure you do your due diligence and ask these pertinent security questions before investing in an apartment or condo.
2) Learn about the security of common areas
Most condominiums and apartment complexes feature a range of shared amenities including gardens, rooftop lounges, pools, or gyms. However, such facilities can attract trespassers, so it is essential that the property managers put security measures to mitigate any security risks. Find out if the complex has installed commercial-grade security cameras for optimal security monitoring and peace of mind. Pay attention to dark nooks and crannies in common areas, like hallways, parking areas, mailrooms, laundry rooms, and stairwells. These are perfect areas for intruders or burglars to easily hide and sneak around.
3) Parking lots and garage security is a must
Garages and parking lots are also common areas for petty crimes and preventative measures must be taken to reduce the risks. Some community complexes feature remote security cameras that can monitor the perimeter of the garage or parking lot in real-time. When integrated with cloud-based systems and smart devices, these security cameras can alert personnel or on-site employees to potential incidents and respond efficiently. Some remote monitors can even use on-site audio to approach a perpetrator verbally and intercept a security breach. They can also use video-detection capture to notify the authorities, which typically results in a quicker response by law enforcement.
4) Ensure security standards are in line with HOA fees
The purchase price of your new community complex unit is not the only indicator you should use to determine what level and quality of security features to expect from your complex. The HOA (Homeowners Association) fees that you will be charged should also be in line with the level of condo and apartment security that the complex offers. The HOA is responsible for maintaining the parts of the building that are outside the walls of your unit.
The HOA fees cover a range of community living costs, including building repairs and maintenance, common area and facility upkeep, and the costs of maintaining and running adequate security systems. Therefore, any community complex that charges high HOA fees while operating with sub-standard security features is a concerning combination that must be addressed or simply avoided.
5) Check the bicycle storage facilities
If you are considering storing a bicycle at your new complex, it’s essential to check for adequate security when it comes to their bicycle storage facilities. Bikes can be ridden or even carried away, so they are relatively easy to steal. Ideally, the storage area will feature live monitoring, which will significantly reduce the risk of theft. Behaviors such as repeated loitering or returning without a bike are red flags for potential security threats that could be intercepted by security personnel with the assistance of live monitoring.
6) Get to know your neighbors
Getting to know your neighbors – or at the very least, being able to recognize them – is an easy apartment and condo security tip that doesn’t cost anything. You’ll be able to easily spot suspicious activity easily. Plus, your neighbors can watch your place, care for your pets, and protect your home while on summer vacation or winter break.
7) Install a home security system
Home security systems allow you to monitor your condo with indoor and outdoor cameras from your smartphone and alert authorities if necessary. You can also shut off lights and appliances if you left home and forgot to do so beforehand. Depending on the home security system you choose, you may also see a discount on your home insurance.
If you live in an apartment complex, drilling holes into the walls is usually frowned upon. Luckily, there are wireless alarm systems that don’t need to be wired into the walls so you can boost your apartment’s safety. And, having an apartment alarm system can lower your rates on renters insurance. Since the system isn’t wired in, you’ll be able to bring it to your next place.
8) Check locks and windows
One way to increase condo and apartment security is to make sure all the building entrances and the door to your unit have secure locks and additional security features like a peephole, chain lock, key codes, cameras, and remote unlocking. Contact management to find out how often they update the keys and key codes to both.
Check the windows for secure locks and make sure they are secure from the outside. Put yourself in the shoes of a burglar – would you be able to break in through the window?
9) Condo and apartment security: leave no stone unturned
Ultimately, you deserve to feel secure in your new home, and apartment complexes and condominiums have a responsibility to provide their tenants with adequate security. What you deem to be acceptable will depend upon your individual needs and preferences, and how the level of security offered compares to the property prices and HOA fees.
The important thing is that you feel comfortable with the complex, and that includes the scope of security offered. So, ask the important questions. Take the time to understand what systems the complex operates on and whether any upgrades are planned in the near future.
It is essential that you assess and feel comfortable with the security aspects of a community complex before committing to buying an apartment or condo. Once you have signed on the dotted line, you may not be in a position to enforce any changes.