If you rented your apartment, you expected to feel safe in your new home. You expect your landlord to take your safety as seriously as you do.

You probably expect the premises does not lend itself to you becoming the victim of a crime or an accident. For your landlord, this means taking certain measures to help ensure your safety. What does that mean?

Screening potential tenants

Do you know your neighbors? Your landlord should. Performing background checks in potential tenants could keep those who might do you harm out of your building. People from the outside don’t perpetrate every crime committed on the rental property. You could suffer an assault, robbery or worse at the hands of a neighbor if your landlord fails to carefully screen new tenants.

Making sure you can see

Something as simple as lighting could increase your safety. Outdoor lights should deter and reduce potential criminal activity. For example, a poorly lit doorway could allow someone to sneak up on you. Indoor lights should keep stairwells and entryways illuminated. If you notice burnt out light bulbs, report them to your landlord so they can be replaced quickly.

Your landlord should also make sure doorways and other entryways do not have obstructions that provide places for would-be criminals to hide. For example, large shrubbery could conceal your view as you approach your building or apartment.

Employing security guards, alarm systems and cameras

Installing an alarm system in the building, or even in your apartment, would increase your safety. Security cameras placed on premises tend to act as deterrents as well. Placed in stairwells, entryways, hallways and near doors may give you more peace of mind. In addition, authorities may use footage from the cameras as they investigate any incidents that happen.

Having a roaming security patrol in a larger building or complex makes sense. Not only does the landlord get the benefit of protecting the property, but you get the protection of an additional layer of security.

Installing security conscious windows and doors

The windows in the building and your unit should lock. If you live on the first floor, your landlord might want to put in security bars as well. The outer and inner doors should be well constructed and lock. The front door to your unit should have a deadbolt lock in addition to its normal lock. Chain locks allow you to open the door slightly without exposing yourself too much to what is on the other side.

Of course, if you have a peephole, you don’t necessarily need to open the door to know who is there. With an intercom system, you can screen whom you let in the building. If you don’t know the person, you simply don’t buzz the person through.

When these measures fail

Even if your landlord uses all of the above measures, you could still end up the victim of a crime. When that happens, the property owner may bear some legal liability. Making that determination might not be as easy as you think, however. You could benefit greatly from taking advantage of the legal resources available to you here in East Orange.