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Home/apt rental safety

emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 35,861Registered User Senior Member
edited January 2012 in Parent Cafe
Rental homes in the area of my daughters school have an above average incidence of fires.
She does have rental insurance- but I still worry, especially as regular inspections aren't done.
Frontline: Renters insurance vital for students
I wasn't aware that the local town didn't have enforcement of zoning codes when she moved in ( the other girls were already living there)- but I found some info on inspecting the property that may help others.

( I am going to pass it on to her- as well as make sure they have a fire extinguisher)
Inspection tips
Post edited by emeraldkity4 on

Replies to: Home/apt rental safety

  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks for the links. My daughter rents in a city and the landlord acted like it was a strange request when we asked for locks on all the window bars for her ground level apt. AND I wanted to make sure all the locks had working keys because not only do you want to keep the bad guys out, you want the good guys to be able to get out in a fire. Even really smart kids do not look at things the way a parent does.

    My daughter got fire extinguishers for her 21st birthday last fall. She was thrilled.
  • BatlloBatllo Posts: 3,047- Senior Member
    Get carbon monoxide alarms if they are not already in place.
    Low tech PVC pipes for all the runners of the sliding doors.
    Pay to change/rekey the dead bolt locks if it was not done after the previous owner moved out.
    You don't know how many key copies are floating around.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Posts: 26,269Registered User Senior Member
    Ek, thank you for bringing this up. A fire extinguisher is an essential household item; unfortunately, as practice shows, fire extinguishers are usually placed out of sight and forgotten, they aren't inspected often, and many people panic and forget to pull the pin when trying to use a fire extingusher rendeing it useless. Remind your kids about the PASS method: pull (the pin), aim (extinguisher at the fire), squeeze (the handle) and sweep (extinguish the fire with a sweeping motion):

    P.A.S.S. the fire-extinguisher please!
  • dietz199dietz199 Posts: 2,755Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks for the links. My daughter rents in a city and the landlord acted like it was a strange request when we asked for locks on all the window bars for her ground level apt. AND I wanted to make sure all the locks had working keys because not only do you want to keep the bad guys out, you want the good guys to be able to get out in a fire.

    As someone who is intimately involved in student housing I just wanted to point out that bars on windows - especially the kind that require a key/lock/mechanism to be worked on the inside in order to open - maybe against local fire/building codes. The Landlord might face a fine and possible loss of their insurance for installing these. Same goes for deadbolts on the inside of a bedroom door (in some areas).
  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    It's Pittsburgh. I will look into it, but dietz199, what should be the way to make a ground level city apartment safe without bars? If bars can be opened from the inside, they can be opened by breaking a window.
  • MarianMarian Posts: 11,332Registered User Senior Member
    There's a reason why many young women avoid renting ground floor apartments.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 35,861Registered User Senior Member
    My oldest lives in a complex of single story duplexes but she lives there with her boyfriend & their dog.

    When she was a senior in college she lived in a college owned townhouse & both of the bedrooms were in the lower level.We put a bar in the bedroom window to prevent it from opening but it was easily removed.
  • dietz199dietz199 Posts: 2,755Registered User Senior Member
    MD Mom. Hopefully regulations in Pittsburgh are more reality based than they are in many places here in the sunshine state. Regretfully I don't have a good answer or solution to the problem. I know that a landlord can get into a whole lot of legal trouble if bars are against code. - They can even be fined and penalized if the tenant installs these themselves (in certain sunshine state counties - the LL can be penalized even if they did not know the tenant had installed these).

    Also keep in mind such things as front door lighting, there should be no landscaping which blocks or encumbers the main entrance (to easy for someone to 'hide in the bushes' and then force themselves into the building). Each tenant needs to make sure the main door closes behind them, never buzz in someone who claims to be a friend of the neighbor - who happens to be out at the moment. Check out the access from garage to unit...at what point is the tenant in a secured area? It's better to have a card key system to the main entrance - prevents copying of keys for goodness knows whom. Is there an on site manager? For either on site or off site 24 hr manager, make sure D has their direct number. Is your DD renting a unit in a predominantly student housing building? If so, there should be some house rules in place....and enforced.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 5,896Registered User Senior Member
    Bars on windows scare me. In an emergency, when you have very little time to escape, fumbling around trying to fit a key in a lock or figure out the release mechanism is a very, very dangerous thing.

    For protection against smash-and-grab, I'd rather have 3M window film for security applications:
    3M? Safety & Security Window Films - Residential safety and security window film for homes - 3M US

    This doesn't help for warm weather when someone might want to sleep with the window open, but it works very, very nicely in other respects.

    Living in a college town, there are an unfortunate number of stories of intruders who came in late at night through unlocked doors. As in, dozens of stories like this. Teaching kids to lock the door, every time, would be a good start. You would think this would go without saying,.... (But then you'd also think that a college student whose home was on fire would call 911 -- not his mom/dad -- but you'd be wrong about that too according to the BU story just posted.)
  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    The apartment DD rented is not the apartment I would have rented had I been along, but somewhere along the line they have to make some decisions for themselves. It is mostly student housing all along the street. My husband thought it was much nicer than I did, which surprised me.

    I could not find anything on city fire codes, but I did find a site that had an emergency release for window bars that was on the floor and would not be reachable through the window. At this point, there isn't much to do; the lease is signed. I bought smoke detectors, CO detectors, and fire extinguishers and made sure the battery operated items all had new batteries.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Posts: 5,199Registered User Senior Member
    DS is in Boston. A couple of bad fires there recently. Scary stuff. He is finally this year in a decent apartment that seems better in terms of security and fire hazards. Still I emailed him with the subject line "humor me" and asked about smoke detectors having batteries and a second exit from his apt. He says it is all fine. I know it is a third floor with no elevator...I think I'll get him to buy a fire extinguisher if for nothing else than my piece of mind. I have a small one in my kitchen since I have always been afraid of fire.
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