There are a lot of factors that come in to play when searching for a new place to live. The apartment search can be exhausting. In order to check off all of your boxes, you may require that it be (1) close to work (2) spacious (3) clean (4) remodeled (5) pet friendly (6) have a gym (7) and have parking. The list can go on and on. But, there is one very important factor that is missing – (8) it must be secure.
One of the most important questions you should ask when searching for a place to call home is whether or not the complex offers security features. The National Citizens’ Crime Prevention Campaign provides a thorough checklist here. Below is a list of important security questions you should ask before signing an apartment lease agreement.
1. Is There Adequate Lighting?
Lighting in an apartment complex is critical. If you return home at night and have to park in the back of the parking lot, you want to make sure that the area is well lit so that you can safely get inside your apartment. Robbers and intruders lurk in poorly lit and dark areas. Entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, stairways, and laundry rooms should always have enough lighting at night. Be sure to drive through the complex at night to ensure that it is well lit.
2. How Are the Entrances Accessed?
Is the entrance to the apartment complex gated? Is there an entry door to the building before getting to your apartment door? Does it require a key, pass code, or buzzer to gain access? It is important that the residents are able to control who can approach the apartment doors.
3. Are the Windows Secure?
Be sure to examine all windows to make sure they are locked and secure. All windows are potential entry points for intruders. Take note of these tips for securing your windows and doors from apartmentprepper.com.
4. Is There a Security Guard?
If you live in a high crime area, does your apartment complex have a security guard on duty? Having the grounds and parking areas monitored on a regular basis will deter potential criminals. Parking lots are notorious for crime. Take a look at these helpful tips about parking and car safety for apartment dwellers.
5. What Are the Property Management Practices?
Ask the property manager how they screen for new renters. Do they conduct background checks? Ask them what their procedure is after a renter moves out. Are apartments re-keyed? Is there a key control system?
When poor lighting, broken locks, or an unqualified security guards results in an attack to a resident or guest, you may be entitled to file a negligent security claim. Apartment owners must make reasonable attempts to keep visitors and residents safe from criminal acts. If you are attacked or injured by an intruder at your apartment complex, you may have a strong case for a negligent security lawsuit if you can prove that the property manager or landlord failed to properly secure the premises.
In order to prove a claim for negligent security in New Mexico, you must be able to prove that the negligence was foreseeable and directly related to a lapse in security. Hopefully the wrongdoer will be criminally prosecuted, but the apartment complex should also be held liable. Keller & Keller’s attorneys are experienced in negligent security claims and would be honored to evaluate your case.