Eastern Michigan University logo
direct edit

Safety Checklist

Living in an apartment requires taking personal responsibility for one's own safety and well-being. This list provides a general safety/security assessment for the purpose of determining the safety of rental units and may not be all-inclusive. This checklist does not constitute approval or disapproval of rental units.

Download a PDF version of this checklist.

Exterior Security

  1. Is the exterior of the building well lit (parking lots, stairwells, walkways)?
  2. Is it an upper level unit? Is there ground level access?
  3. Is there private parking for tenants only?
    • Ask: How is this managed?
  4. Is there motion activated lighting outside/inside the building?
  5. Is shrubbery/landscaping well maintained and trimmed?
    • Look: For places people could hide.
  6. Are there security cameras on the property?
    • Ask: If so, who monitors them? Are they recorded? How long are records kept?
  7. Is there an on-site security presence?
    • Ask: If yes, when and how many guards? What is their role and authority level?
  8. Are there mirrors around in and around building and in hallways to see around corners?
  9. Is the location accessible to campus?
  10. Is the route to campus safe if walking? Is there a safe bus stop near?
  11. Is there safe access to necessary conveniences (grocery, gas)?

Access to Unit

  1. Do exterior doors lock and close completely?
    • Tip: Doors should not have more than a 1/8" gap between the door and jam.
  2. Do exterior doors have deadbolt locks?
  3. Does the apartment manager have an adequate key/lock policy in place?
    • Ask: Who has keys to the unit? Can copies be made? Are locks changed for each tenant? Can I install my own locks? What is the lost/stolen key policy? Ask to see work order for lock change for your unit when you move in. Ask about master key policy-has master key set ever been lost? If yes, how was it handled?
  4. Do exterior doors have additional locking mechanisms (self-closing/self-latching, chain)?
  5. Do exterior doors have peepholes? Are they wide-angle (160 degree) viewers? If no, can they install one?
    • Tip: Keep peephole covered from interior so nobody can see in.
  6. Is there a doorbell/buzzer/intercom? Do they work? Do delivery services have interior access to building?
  7. Is there a "no door propping policy" in place? Are there signs reminding tenants to secure doors behind them and to not allow tailgating?
    • Ask: How are rules enforced?
  8. Do interior (bedroom/bathroom) doors have working locks?
  9. Do the windows close completely and lock?
  10. Are there screens in all of the windows? Do they have holes or tears?
  11. Does the sliding glass door lock? Does the screen lock? Is a secondary security device provided for sliding glass door?
    • Tip: Insist on secondary lock mechanism for sliding glass doors (Charley bar, pin lock, anti-lift measures)
  12. Are ground level windows protected by bars that can be opened from the inside?
  13. Is the laundry/storage area secured?
    • Ask: Who has keys to the laundry/storage area? ¬†What about prior tenants? Is it well lit 24 hours per day? If there is no on-site laundry, is the facility close by safe?
  14. Are maintenance workers background checked?

Fire and Life Safety

  1. Are there working smoke detectors in each building/room? Who is responsible for changing the batteries?
  2. Is a fire extinguisher provided?
  3. What type of phone access is there to local 911 services?
  4. Is each building and unit clearly marked and easy for emergency personnel to find?
  5. What police/fire department responds in the event of an emergency?
  6. Is there a window/exit in each bedroom?
    • Consider: How would you exit in the event of a fire?

Other Safety Considerations

  1. Are tenants background checked?
    • Ask: What is policy on renting to people with criminal background?
  2. Are there sufficient blinds/drapes that close completely for privacy?
  3. Are there neighbors close by that you can contact in the event of an emergency?
  4. Is there a safety/neighborhood watch program in place?
    • Ask: How are safety requests/concerns handled?
  5. What is the mail/package delivery policy? Are names on the mailboxes?
    • Tip: Never list your name or a single name on the mailbox. Use initials.
  6. Is the dumpster area in plain sight and well-lit?

Things to do before signing a lease:

  • What is the crime like in the area. Check crime map, registered sex offenders and statistics.
  • Visit the complex/neighborhood multiple times at different times of day to check the environment. Look to see if people regularly prop doors open and what activity level there is.
  • Ask for references or talk to other tenants.

Safety/Security Tips:

  • Utilize a utility timer to turn lights on automatically when you are away.
  • Purchase additional security products to enhance safety.
The information contained on this website is intended as an informational resource for University students considering off-campus housing and is not intended to endorse any of the facilities, services, publications or linked websites.