Safety should be an important issue to think about when looking for off-campus housing. Go to the property during both daytime and evening hours to view the lighting and safety practices. Consider the following things when viewing a prospective apartment or house:
- Lighting for security: Is the housing well lit? Are all entry/exit points fully illuminated? Is emergency lighting provided in the apartment community?
- Landscaping: Are trees and shrubs trimmed for natural surveillance? Are areas clear of landscape debris? Do plantings block the visibility of and from windows and doors?
- Common areas: Are the common areas adequately lit, including entry and exit points? Are these areas well maintained? Is there police, fire or EMS access?
- Door systems: Are all exterior doors made of solid wood core or metal construction? Are door frames in good condition? Is there a deadbolt? Are there peepholes on the doors?
- Windows: Are screens and windows free of damage? Are there working locks on the windows?
- Garages/Storage Areas: Are garage and storage areas equipped with doors that lock or are padlocked?
- Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors: Are fire extinguishers provided by the landlord? If so, where are these located? Are there smoke detectors located on the premises and in good working
- Maintenance/Appearance: Does the space appear to be cared for? Are stairways, railings, balconies secure/free of debris? Does the roof appear to be well maintained?
- Paint: Is the paint peeling? In older housing, there is a risk that the paint is lead based. This may cause safety issues with any children in the house.