Right now, many families are in the process of moving and settling their kids into campus housing or off-campus apartments.
And the excitement of moving and starting a new college or university semester can overshadow the need to follow some basic security tips for student renters.
So as you’re looking, hauling or unpacking your children into their new dorms, here’s how to make sure they stay safe and secure all year long.
Get those locks checked
You never know who still has keys to your new apartment or rental house.
Here’s how it works:
- The inside of the lock is reconfigured
- A new key is created to unlock it (if you’re wondering, this is how keys and locks work together)
- Any and all old keys are now useless
Before you sign any papers, ask the landlord if he/she changed the keys after the previous tenants moved out.
If not, then ask to have the locks rekeyed before taking possession and moving into your new digs.
Look at the windows and doors
Most break-ins occur through windows, doors and frames.
Students should make sure their windows and doors close securely. They should also be tested to ensure they don’t stick and are easy to open in case of fire or other emergency.
(By the way, that’s a landlord’s legal responsibility under the Ontario fire code).
If you aren’t sure about the place you’re thinking of renting, you can always get a security consultation to tell you just how safe it is.
And if you still have doubts after that, it’s best to avoid that particular apartment or house altogether.
Never share personal information with roommates
Whether you’ve moving in with an assigned roommate or friends you’ve known for years, some crucial information is best kept to yourself.
This includes things like:
- Laptop or cell phone passwords
- Debit or credit card codes
- Student ID information
- Combination locks
After all, you just never know who might end up with that information.
Furthermore, as much as you want to share your personal life on social media, watch out what you post.
For example, writing on Facebook that you’re spending the night at the local pub is telling would-be thieves (who do troll social media) that your place will be empty.
Fire safety tips
- Don’t leave the kitchen when cooking. Stay in the kitchen and know where and how to use a fire extinguisher. Watching TV, surfing the web or playing on your phone (especially when cooking with oil or flames) could lead to trouble.
- Use candles wisely. Don’t place candles near anything flammable (papers, blinds, etc.). Always use a safe and sturdy candle holder and never leave them unattended. Blow them out when you do leave the room.
- Smoke outside. If you or your roommates smoke, make sure to do it outside. Cigarette ashes are a leading cause of fire damage here in Ontario. Designate a smoking area and always empty ash trays into a metal container and not a plastic garbage bag.
- Get the right extension cord. Cheaply made extension cords or those which aren’t the right gauge for the appliance being plugged into it can spark and ignite. Look for extension cords which have the CSA and ULC seal on it. The same goes for power bars.
- Know your fire escape routes. Whether it’s an on-campus dorm, apartment on the 6th floor or a house rental, you should always have more than one escape option in case of fire. Some places will have escape information posted. Become familiar with it.
Test every alarm and replace if necessary
There’s no telling how old smoke alarms, C02 detectors and fire alarms are.
If they look out-of-date (and especially if they don’t work after being tested), they need to be replaced immediately.
(Having working alarms is another legal requirement landlords have to follow).
Your rental unit must have the following alarms in good working order (and if you are living in a house, these alarms need to be on every floor):
- Carbon monoxide
- Natural gas detectors
Do not move into a home – or do business with a landlord – which does not and will not provide the necessary alarms.
Stay safe during the school year
Not only are we locksmiths here at Aim Lock & Safe, but we’re parents too.
And we have students heading out to college and university in Toronto-Mississauga and other places across the province and country.
So we know the importance of giving them a safe place to call home during the semester.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about campus apartment safety.
You can also ask about our products or services and how they’ll help keep your children – and where they live – secure.