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When Looking for a Place to Live

Peace Outside Campus Logo PEACE OUTside CAMPUS – The Lindsey M. Bonistall Foundation

The key to finding safe off campus housing is to know what to look for and asking the right questions up front. Let your landlord know that your safety is their priority too.

Questions to ask when looking for a place to live:

  • Ask current residents and neighbors, do you feel safe living here?
  • How far away is emergency assistance, i.e. police station, fire department?
  • Does the complex provide any security devices, doorman, patrols, escorts, etc.?                                                                                                                               
  • What are the procedures for changing keys that are lost or not returned?
  • Who has access to the residence or master keys?
  • Are locks on the doors changed/re-keyed with each new resident?
  • Have maintenance men had criminal background checks?
  • Does the University Police Department work closely with the local and county Police Departments in patrolling off-campus areas in this jurisdiction?

Safety measures to inspect when looking for a place to live:

  • Are there well-lit areas surrounding the building, particularly from parking areas to entrances?
  • What is the condition and structure of front doors?
  • Do they have deadbolts? Are hinges on the outside non-removable?
  • Does the door have a peephole? If not, can one be installed?
  • Does the door securely fit the jamb?
  • Do sliding glass doors have blocking cleats to prevent opening from the outside?
  • Do all windows have working locks?
  • Can windows still be locked even when opened a few inches for ventilation?
  • Is the mailbox lockable and in good condition?
  • Are there a sufficient number of working smoke detectors in the living space and in hallways? Are they battery-operated or hardwired?
  • Are there adequate emergency escape routes in case of a fire?
  • Are there five extinguishers available in each apartment and in common areas?
  • Are window air conditioners secured from the inside?