Many renters are concerned about their safety as they look for a new home. Older apartments may be covered in lead-based paint or use insulation containing asbestos. In addition, criminal activity may be common in some neighborhoods. While landlords are often responsible for ensuring the safety of their rental properties, there are certain activities renters can do to protect themselves.
Ensuring the rental property is free from criminal activity is usually the landlord's responsibility. Many local laws require that each apartment has a deadbolt and pin lock in the door handle. This ensures a renter is able to adequately secure their living space. Depending on the crime statistics of the surrounding area, landlords may want to take other security measures like installing exterior lights or trimming tall plants to discourage criminal activity and increase visibility.
Landlords must also keep their buildings free of illegal activity, such as drug dealing. Most leases have a provision prohibiting any sort of illegal activity within the rental units. If the landlord discovers illegal activity they may evict the renter on that basis alone.
The other major threat to tenant safety may be the building itself. Older buildings might not conform to building codes and current safety codes. They may also contain lead or other dangerous materials. Generally, many cities and states require landlords to do the following:
In addition, landlords are typically required to make reasonable repairs to improve building safety. They are, however, not required to do major renovations before leasing a property.
Even though it is mainly the landlord's duty to make sure the apartment building is safe, there are some common-sense things you can do to protect yourself.
Every renter has the right to live in a safe home, free from health hazards and dangerous criminal activity. If you believe your landlord has failed in their duty to provide a safe place to live, you might want to explore your legal options. A local landlord-tenant attorney can help you determine whether you have a valid claim.