How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out

Moving out of your apartment can be bittersweet. You pack up all of your things, begin moving furniture, start taking down wall art– and, find yourself face to face with that golf ball-sized hole in the wall you accidentally made one night, then covered with art.

After living in an apartment for at least a year, there’s bound to be some small damage here and there. While some wear and tear is normal and should be built into your lease, fixing minor damage before moving out will ensure you get your full security deposit back. Plus, you’ll stay on good terms with your landlord, who you may need for references down the road.

To make sure you leave your apartment in good condition before moving out, take a look at these normal damage issues and their fixes:

Small holes

After taking down the photos from your gallery wall, you probably noticed the many small holes left by nails that were used to hang the frames. Patching small holes left by nails, tacks and screws is simple and will leave the walls looking great again.

You’ll need some spackling paste, a putty knife and some sandpaper. Squeeze a small glob of the spackle into each hole, then use the putty knife to spread and blend it over the hole and wall. Once the spackle is dry, use the sandpaper to lightly sand the area, especially around the edges, to leave a smooth, flat wall.

In a real pinch, you can use some materials around the apartment to fill the hole. Plain white toothpaste or baking soda mixed with white glue can also work to fill nail holes, but aren’t recommended unless you absolutely have no time to get the right materials.

Large holes

Now it’s time to tackle that large hole you hid under your favorite painting. Mending large holes in drywall isn’t as easy as some of the other fixes, but it will most likely cost you less than if you were to let your landlord handle it and deduct it from your deposit .

Pick up a mesh repair patch at the hardware store to use with your spackle. Then, cut the patch so that it fits over the hole and the surrounding wall. Cover the patch with spackle, and after it dries, sand down the edges so they blend into the wall completely.

Scuff marks

Though scuff marks likely aren’t going to cost you any of your security deposit, they make the apartment appear dirtier than it is and make more work for whoever has to clean thee apartment.

Since I seem to make an inordinate amount of scuffs on the walls of my apartments, I typically don’t try to tackle them all– just really noticeable and large ones. A magic eraser works wonders to get rid of them, so pick up a couple and your walls will be white again in no time.

Broken blinds

Another common damage issue I’m guilty of is bending or even breaking some of my window blinds. Before moving out, dust your windows and blinds, and make sure none are bent or cracked. If bent, do your best to straighten them out as much as possible. If you can’t straighten them, or if one of the blinds is broken, start by looking at the bottom – there’s often a spare slat in any set of blinds. If not, look for blinds of the same size and color at your hardware store. Replace the broken slat with the new one, and your landlord won’t ever know the difference!

Carpet stains

If you’re a red-wine drinker living in a carpeted apartment, you probably know a thing or two about removing carpet stains. Tackling stains before they get a chance to set will help your carpet look better overall, but before moving out, peruse the carpet for any stains you might have missed.  Try using baking soda or carpet cleaner first. If that’s not strong enough to remove the stains, consider renting a carpet cleaner from your hardware or grocery store. They’re easy to use, and your carpets will be unrecognizably clean when you’re done.

Fix damage to the carpet

Now that you’ve fixed the stains on the carpet, is it still intact? If there are damaged patches, or if it’s started to come loose around the edges, or any other damage, you’ll want to get it fixed. Even if you have to hire someone, it’s likely going to be cheaper than having your landlord take it out of your deposit.

Scratches on hardwood

Renters love apartments with hardwood floors because they’re much easier to clean than carpet, but they do have one common problem: Hardwood is easy to scratch. There are a couple of quick fixes for the shallower scrapes, though. Many people swear by the walnut method, which involves rubbing a raw walnut along the scrape until the scratch blends into the rest of the floor. This method works well, just not on deep scratches and darker woods.

For deeper scratches, look for a wood-colored marker or pencil at the hardware store. These products are specifically made for filling in and disguising the scrapes.

Replace light bulbs

If any light bulbs burned out in places that you can easily access, now is the time to take care of them. If there are some that are difficult to reach, such as in high up or complicated fixtures, you might need help or for your landlord to handle them. Even so, replacing any easily accessible ones that burned out will give your landlord less to repair and take out of your deposit.

General dirtiness

Deep cleaning your apartment is recommended to ensure you get your full deposit back, and to give your landlord less of a headache when he or she is trying to ready the unit for the next renter.

Give everything a good wiping, sweeping and dusting, but spend extra time in the kitchen and bathroom. The refrigerator, microwave, oven and stove should all be thoroughly cleaned, along with the toilet, shower, tub and sink.

Take pictures

This isn’t a repair but is crucial to getting more of your deposit back. Take pictures of the current state of everything in the apartment that you couldn’t fix yourself. Having this documentation helps as later defense, in case your landlord takes too much out of the security deposit. Having pictures will work much better than your word against theirs in case things end up in front of small claims court.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Top 5 DIY Home Skills You Should Know

One of the best parts about living in an apartment is that when something goes wrong (like the heat isn’t working or the toilet won’t stop running), you don’t really have to take care of it yourself — maintenance can help!

But there are some DIY basics you should know how to do yourself. Sometimes maintenance may not be as quick as you’d like, or it may just be something you’d rather handle on your own. From fixes to decor, here are five easy DIY projects you should know how to do:

How to unclog a drain

Small plumbing inconveniences like a clogged drain or toilet can be frustrating, but the great news is they’re pretty easy to take care of on your own. Unclogging a sink requires just the tiniest bit of plumbing know-how, but it’s relatively simple.

Top 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Unclog a DrainTop 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Unclog a Drain

First, remove the drain stopper by locating the pivot rod that’s holding it in place under your sink. The pivot rod should be stuck through the pipe and secured with a nut on the pipe near the bottom of the sink. Remove the nut and the rod, and the drain stopper should be easy to pull up and out.

Then, use a snake to clear the drain (you can buy these at any hardware store). Thread the snake as far as it will go into the drain– you want it to reach as deep into the P trap as it can go (that pipe that’s shaped like a U). Pull it out slowly, and repeat until you hook whatever’s clogging the pipes. Then, replace the drain stopper and pivot rod, and you’re finished!

Keep in mind that most landlords prohibit tenants from using products like Drano to clear clogs because they can damage pipes.

How to change a showerhead

​There’s nothing worse than a showerhead that makes taking a shower feel like you’re standing underneath a leaky faucet. But while showerheads can’t dictate water pressure, many can adjust the spray into something a little more bearable– and low-flow versions are better for the environment, too.

Top 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Change a ShowerheadTop 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Change a Showerhead

As far as easy DIY projects go, changing a showerhead is one of the simplest– just buy a new one and some Teflon tape (aka plumber’s tape).

Unscrew the old showerhead from its arm using an adjustable wrench or some pliers. You may have a fight on your hands if it’s old, but be careful not to apply too much pressure or squeeze too hard.

Once the old head is removed, clean the end of the pipe and wrap it in a new layer of Teflon tape to prevent leaks. Then, screw your new showerhead on over the tape, and voila! Good as new.

How to hang something heavy

You should know one DIY skill in particular to hang something heavy: how to find a stud. Studs are strong enough to withstand heavy items like floating shelves or mirrors, many of which could damage drywall. One easy way to find a stud is to use an electronic stud finder– just pick one up at the hardware store.

Top 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Hang Something HeavyTop 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Hang Something Heavy

You can also do it the old-fashioned way and simply knock on your walls– a hollow-sounding knock means no stud, while a solid-sounding knock means you’ve hit gold, so to speak. Remember that studs can always be found around windows, doors and in corners, and they’re located every 1.5 to 2 feet.

How to patch a hole in the wall

If you hang a bunch of stuff in your apartment, patching the holes in your walls may be necessary when you move out to ensure you get your security deposit back. All you need to patch holes is some lightweight spackle, a putty knife and some sandpaper.

Top 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Patch a Hole in the WallTop 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Patch a Hole in the Wall

Simply use one corner of the putty knife to scoop out a small amount of spackle, and use it to fill the hole. Then use the straight edge of the putty knife to smooth and even out the spackle. Let it dry for a few hours (or overnight), then sand the area lightly with your sandpaper, blending the spackle into the surrounding drywall.

How to fix your toilet

There are any number of toilet issues renters may want to learn how to fix themselves, but if there’s one you should know it’s how to fix a clog. If your toilet is clogged, it’s time to break out the plunger.

Top 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Fix Your ToiletTop 5 DIY Skills You Should Know - How to Fix Your Toilet

First, place the plunger over the hole at the bottom of your toilet, making sure the rubber head is completely covered by water. If there isn’t enough water in the bowl, simply use a pitcher to add some more. Then, pump the handle into the head a few times and pull the plunger up sharply, breaking the seal. The power of suction should do the trick.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Top 5 Apartment DIY Skills Every Renter Should Know

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Source: apartmentguide.com

9 Ways to Survive With No Dishwasher in Your Apartment

Even if your new rental unit ticked off most of your must-have boxes — great location, lots of light, budget-friendly — you might be disappointed about one thing: There’s no dishwasher in the apartment.

Not to worry! Here are some tips, tricks and shortcuts that take the drudgery out of washing dishes — and you may even end up enjoying the task.

1. Plan meals that use fewer dishes

Instant pot filled with food. Instant pot filled with food.

Instead of dirtying piles of cooking utensils, try incorporating some one-pot meals into the rotation. Slow cookers, instant-pots, woks and sheet pans will all minimize the amount of mess.

When baking, measure your dry ingredients first and then reuse the same measuring cups and spoons for wet ingredients.

You can also line your pans with aluminum foil before roasting vegetables or baking lasagna to cut down on washing time afterward.

Also, read a recipe through before you start cooking to see how many dishes you will need. By thinking ahead, you’ll have less to wash when you’re done eating.

2. Clean up as you cook

Washing a dirty pan with soap and water because there's no dishwasher in apartmentWashing a dirty pan with soap and water because there's no dishwasher in apartment

As you prepare your meal, get in the habit of tossing food scraps into the compost bin or garbage can. Plan to wash what you use as you’re cooking or place dirty dishes into the sink as you go.

Before you start chopping any ingredients, fill the sink with warm soapy water and soak your dirty dishes so food doesn’t become dry and caked on. Wash your prep tools as your food cooks.

3. Get the right tools for the job

Cleaning tools for dishwashing. Cleaning tools for dishwashing.

Toss that stinky kitchen dishcloth and pick up a few smart gadgets that will almost make you forget you don’t have a dishwasher in your apartment.

  • A dishwashing brush can handle even the crustiest food remnants, plus it dries completely — no more damp, germ-infested sponges lying around.
  • If you prefer a sponge, get a washable microfiber one that you can toss into the washing machine.
  • Silicone scrubbing gloves protect your hands, plus they provide some scrubbing power.
  • Using a blade brush is a safer way to clean sharp knives.
  • A food scraper or dish squeegee makes dishwashing easier and keeps your sudsy water cleaner.

4. Protect your drain

Sink clogged with water. Sink clogged with water.

The last thing you need when you have no dishwasher in your apartment is a clogged kitchen sink.

Never pour oil or grease down the drain because they can coat the pipes and cause a blockage. Use a sink strainer to catch food particles and empty it regularly while you’re cleaning up.

5. Be efficient by learning how to clean stubborn dishes

Handwashing dishes. Handwashing dishes.

For about $10, you can upgrade your kitchen faucet with a swivel tap aerator, which helps get into the nooks and crannies for more effective dishwashing.

Wash items from least to most dirty: Glasses and silverware first, then plates and bowls. Save the largest, dirtiest things for last. Some dishes, like glassware or anything oily need extra-hot water to get clean, while others do better with cold.

For example, dairy and starch rinse off easily under cold water, which prevents the residue from getting sticky. For scorched pots and pans, head to your laundry room to grab a dryer sheet: Soaking it with the pan in warm soapy water for an hour will remove caked-on grime.

6. Use the right kind and amount of dish soap

Soapy sponge because no dishwasher in apartmentSoapy sponge because no dishwasher in apartment

If you don’t like wearing latex gloves to protect your hands, use a natural dish soap that will be gentler on your skin. For very greasy dishes, you might need a more advanced dish cleaner.

Don’t use too much soap, because it can leave a sticky residue on your dishes — one or two tablespoons per load is all you need.

Pouring your soap into a touchless foaming soap dispenser controls how much you use, saving you money.

7. Purchase space-saving drying racks

Dishes drying on a cleaning rack.Dishes drying on a cleaning rack.

Why double the amount of work to hand-dry all your dishes when you can let them air-dry instead?

Since small apartment kitchens usually lack counter space, ditch the bulky dish-drying rack in favor of a more streamlined solution, such as hanging a wire shelf over the sink, or using a roll-up drying rack that stores away when not in use. Or, use a silicone dish-drying mat — it’s better than a fabric one because it prevents mold growth.

8. Treat yourself to a few luxuries

Man listening to music while doing dirty dishes in the kitchen with no dishwasher in apartmentMan listening to music while doing dirty dishes in the kitchen with no dishwasher in apartment

Just because there’s no dishwasher in your apartment doesn’t mean you should dread cooking great meals for yourself or your loved ones. One thing that makes the task easier is creating the right mood for the job.

Pick up some great-smelling dish soap and soft linen kitchen towels, which dry faster than cotton and are naturally anti-microbial. Set up a waterproof Bluetooth speaker or wear wireless headphones so you can listen to your favorite tunes or podcast or light a few aromatherapy candles to make washing dishes more enjoyable.

9. Invest in a countertop dishwasher

Speaking of treating yourself: Sometimes, especially if you have a family to feed three times a day, hand-washing everything is just not realistic. Apartment dwellers have another option: A countertop dishwasher.

These appliances — ranging in size from 16 to 22 inches wide — sit on your counter, hook up to the faucet and wash up to six place settings at once. These dishwashers cost about $400.

Adapt to having no dishwasher in your apartment

While living in an apartment with no dishwasher can seem challenging at first, the transition to a wash-as-you-go lifestyle is easier when you plan ahead, use the right tools and shift your mindset.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Sample Letter: Letter of Complaint

There are currently more than 113 million people renting apartments or homes in the U.S. – almost 34 percent of the population. That’s a lot of people living in spaces where they aren’t necessarily required to address every issue that arises themselves.

Problems will come up, and when they do, you expect your landlord or management company to take care of them. But how do you tell them what’s going on in a way that gets results?

Why your neighbor might be bothering you

There’s always the potential for issues to arise when living in an apartment building with other tenants. Each resident has their own style of living, their own habits, and they might not all mesh with yours.

While you can’t expect everyone to live life the same way you do, you can require those around you to act respectfully. As a result, you may encounter certain situations, like these, which you might not be able to reconcile on your own.

Noise

Loud neighbors can often complicate your peaceful evening at home or interrupt that movie you’re watching as their booming base seeps through your walls. Common noise complaints can come from music, the television, a barking dog and of course, that wild party that just won’t quit.

Oftentimes, tenants aren’t aware they’re being too noisy, so it’s a good idea to alert them to the issue before you write a formal complaint. If that doesn’t help, or the noise goes on late into the night, it’s time to take more serious action and let your landlord know what’s going on.

Inconsiderate behavior

Anything your neighbor does that affects your space or the common areas that demonstrates a lack of consideration for others fits into this category. Leaving trash outside in the hall, dropping empty cans onto your balcony from above, taking up half of your parking space with their oversized car – these are all behaviors that don’t demonstrate care for the comfort of others.

Again, they may not realize what they’re doing, so it’s a good idea to bring it to their attention. They also may just be inconsiderate people, which is why a landlord can step in to help.

Questionable odors

What people do in their own apartment is their own business until the smell of it invades your unit. When offensive odors begin to drift through the walls, it’s time to take action. Realistically, this could be a one-time offense, where a neighbor burned dinner and you get stuck with the smell.

But if it’s something reoccurring, like odors from trash, pets, or even illegal substances, a letter of complaint will help notify your landlord to take action.

Put it in writing

Alerting management to an issue with your neighbors through a formal, written letter automatically gives you proof you’ve tried to handle the problem. Should the issue escalate, you can show you took every action possible because you’ll have a paper trail to prove it.

In order to submit a complaint letter that will get results, make sure you’re clear about the issue and your expectations. Detail the problem, how it’s affecting you and what steps you think can resolve it. Make sure to put in a reasonable deadline for action, as well. And don’t forget to follow up at least once, but often is better.

To further guarantee your complaint gets the attention it deserves, make sure you’re in good standing with your landlord. If you’re not up-to-date on your rent, send in that rent check. Additionally, double-check your lease to ensure the issue you’re filing a complaint about is actually management’s responsibility.

Your sample letter

We’ve taken the time to put together a sample letter for a letter of complaint that you can download here. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ).

Download Word doc of sample letter

Download PDF of sample letter


(Your Name)
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, Zip Code)

(Date)

(Landlord or Apartment Company’s Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)

Re: (Short statement of the issue, such as Noise Complaint; Trash in the Hallway; etc.)

Dear (Name of landlord or manager),

I’m writing to formally request your help in dealing with an issue that (has arisen/has been ongoing) with my neighbors in (neighbor’s apartment number). To date, the following actions have been taken:

  • (Create a bulleted list, in chronological order, that lists actions taken so far including whether you’ve already contacted your neighbors or landlord/apartment company and what you may have done to address the issue.)

These previous attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful, and this issue is directly affecting me by (state the impact this situation is having on you). To resolve this issue, I’d like you to get in touch with (neighbor’s name/the residents of unit XX) and facilitate a resolution.

I’m hoping we can resolve this issue on or before (set a specific date that’s reasonable, maybe a week out).

Should you need to reach me to discuss this further, please (call/email) at (insert phone or email based on preference for communication). I appreciate your attention to this issue.

Kindly,

(Your Name and Signature)
(Apartment Number)
(Phone Number or Email Address)


If your complaint isn’t addressed

What do you do if nothing happens after you’ve submitted your formal complaint letter and regularly followed-up? There are other options to consider if your landlord or apartment company isn’t responding.

  • Report the problem to the local tenant’s association, if there is one
  • Consult with an attorney

Make sure you let your landlord know you’re prepared to take these alternative steps, just be polite when you communicate.

Going through this easy process to report a neighbor complaint to your landlord or management company can help move you to a quick resolution of your issue.

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Create a Productive Apartment Work-From-Home Space | Apartminty

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Working from home has become more prominent than ever, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, when you’re living in an apartment, it can sometimes be challenging to create a productive remote workspace. 

Thankfully, there are things you can do to maximize your space (no matter how small it may be), arrange it in a way that inspires creativity and productivity, and take care of yourself so you stay motivated. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can make the most of your apartment while you’re working from home, so you can find a healthy work-life balance and stay focused on your job each day. 

Arranging Your Space

A productive apartment work-from-home space starts with actually creating a designated workspace. You don’t necessarily need to have a separate spare room to set up an office. As long as you have a specific location in mind that is dedicated to your work, you can get things done effectively. Some suggestions include: 

  • Fixing a folding shelf to a wall.
  • Using a large closet/wardrobe.
  • Utilizing a large hallway.
  • Pulling your sofa away from the wall in the living room and using it as a desk chair.

Having your own workspace can help you to stay focused and organized throughout the day. Remember, your environment can affect your mental health. It can either keep you motivated or bring you down. So, focus on things like using natural lighting, having live plants around to give you energy, and even controlling the temperature to keep things a bit cooler. 

If you know you will have to participate in Zoom meetings or similar video chats, make sure that your office looks as professional as possible. Because you’re at home, it’s okay to make things personal. But, whatever is in your background should still suggest that you’re working. A professional background for a video call can include things like plants, pictures, and artwork, but probably shouldn’t include your Star Wars actions figures. 

Keeping Your Health in Mind

In addition to having the right space set up, it’s crucial to take care of yourself in order to stay productive. When working from home, it’s easy to feel distracted and unmotivated. Taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, can have a huge impact on how well you do your job. 

One of the potential drawbacks of working from home is having a harder time with a work-life balance. You can combat this by having a routine each day. Start work at the same time and end it at the same time. Having a separate office space in your apartment will make it easier to “walk away” from work at the end of the day. 

It’s also important to take breaks, and you may need to encourage yourself to do so. Your apartment might be small, but don’t be afraid to splurge on a few “self-care” items including, perhaps, a sofa that you can put in or near your workspace for whenever you need to take a break. 

Your breaks should also consist of movement, as much as possible. Stand up and stretch every hour. Or, take longer breaks throughout the day that allow you to get outside and go for a walk. Studies have shown that simply being out in nature can improve your mood, which may help with productivity, and it will give you a chance to get some space after being in a small apartment all day. 

It’s possible to create a productive apartment work-from-home space and to stay motivated each day. With a few simple changes, some organizational skills, and maybe a professional purchase or two, you can turn almost any area of your apartment into an effective workspace. 

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How to Create a Productive Apartment Work-From-Home Space
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5 Reasons Why Renting is Better Than Buying

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For many people, finding and buying the perfect home with a perfect white picket fence is the ultimate dream. What many don’t realize is how much responsibility this perfect home comes with. In this day and age, renting is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Here are our top five reasons we believe renting is better than buying.

1. Minimize Responsibility
When you own a home, many responsibilities fall on your shoulders, particularly maintenance and repairs.  When you rent, it is your duty to report any issues and maintain your own living space, but the landlord/homeowner is responsible for taking care of any routine or surprise repairs, as well as maintaining the property and shared spaces.  The best part?  None of those major costs will be coming out of your pocket.  Less worry and less responsibility, nothing wrong with that!

renting is better than buying

renting is better than buying

2. Expand Your Social Circle
By moving into an apartment complex, you are surrounding yourself with a ton of potential new friends.  Not only that, but most apartment complexes are located within close proximity to local bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions.  By attending community events and taking part in building activities, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in new social circles.  When buying a home you will certainly gain new neighbors, but living in an apartment building will afford many opportunities to meet someone new!

renting is better than buying

renting is better than buying

3. Keep Your Options Open
One of the best parts of renting is the flexibility it affords you.  You are not tied down to a home and mortgage payments; you sign a lease for X amount of months, and figure out what is next when the time comes. This is convenient for anyone who likes to experience new cities, or if your job situation is unstable. Having the ability to easily move out in the foreseeable future makes living in an apartment a great option.

renting is better than buying

renting is better than buying

Ready to find your next apartment?

4. Limit Your Living Expenses
Buying a home comes with many unexpected costs and a lot of people aren’t financially ready and able to make that commitment. Renting allows you to live comfortably while saving up money until you can afford buying. After a while, you may realize you never want to buy!

renting is better than buying

renting is better than buying

5. Improve Your Credit
Though it is not a major factor, paying your rent on time month after month helps to build good credit for when you do decide to buy a home. If you do plan to buy but aren’t quite ready, renting can also help form good financial habits.

renting is better than buying

renting is better than buying

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

5 Inexpensive, DIY Security Tips for Apartment Renters

Staying safe regardless of where you live is important, and so is protecting your belongings. If living in a home that you own, you have the ability to install any type of security you want. Living in an apartment can present certain obstacles to creating a protected place.

Apartment security can be more than the locked doors to get into your building or the intercom system that requires you to buzz in guests. There are certain things you can do around your home — that don’t cost a lot — to protect you and your belongings while living in an apartment.

When your property is most at risk

“While today’s burglary statistics show an overall decrease in burglary rates, thousands of homes (roughly 325,000) are still being broken into every year — often in plain view, during the day,” according to alarms.org.

The most popular time for robberies is in the middle of the day, between noon and 4 p.m. This is because a stranger walking around during the day attracts less attention than someone prowling around at night. Robberies are more common in the summer months as well, when there are more daylight hours and warmer weather.

According to the FBI, burglaries of residential properties account for 67.2 percent of all burglary offenses. The average robber gets away with a little more than $2,000 worth of stuff when they successfully break into your home.

These statistics mean your home is most at risk when you’re the most distracted. Rushing out the door to get to the office, did you remember to lock it? Was the air still so pleasant when you headed out for the day that you forgot to close and lock your windows? Implementing a few easy security measures into your daily routine can help keep your belongings safe no matter where you are.

Affordable DIY home security options

It doesn’t take much to up the security of your apartment. While some of these options are a little more involved and need extra materials, most are possible with some reorganizing and smart thinking.

1. Have an apartment that’s less attractive to burglars

burglar taking a TVburglar taking a TV

Most burglars are opportunistic individuals. If they see something in an apartment they want, they may try to get it. If you cut the temptation, you have a better chance of keeping your property safe.

The best way to do this is to close your blinds when you’re not home. Looking through your windows, easy-to-grab electronics like video game consoles, laptops and tablets can catch the eye of a would-be burglar. It’s quicker to close your blinds than to remember to hide these items each time you leave your home.

Making your home harder to get into also decreases the attractiveness of your apartment. Make sure all windows and doors have working locks and keep things locked up tight when you’re away or asleep. If your apartment has sliding glass doors, add a dowel or board to the track so it can’t open even if unlocked.

2. Upgrade your locks

burglar breaking locksburglar breaking locks

Maintaining safety with the right apartment door security may mean having a conversation with your property manager. If your locks aren’t giving you that safe and secure feeling, you may want to try and upgrade things.

For more security, you can use a double-cylinder deadbolt or a mortise lock. This particular lock combines a sprung latch, deadbolt and lever handle. These are simple upgrades your property manager may pay for to make your apartment more attractive for the next renter.

If you want to try more technological options, see if your property manager has any interest in installing a digital or smart lock. Keyless entry has a lot of appeal for units with roommates since it makes it impossible to get locked out.

You may even end up with a lock that enables remote entry. Then, you can open your door with a cell phone. Other locks integrate with home devices like Alexa, who can lock the door for you if necessary.

3. Make valuables harder to find

safe in a homesafe in a home

During a break-in, burglars want to get in and out as fast as possible with as much stuff as possible. They’re looking for things of value that are easy to carry. Yet, they’re under a time crunch and can only spend so much time poking around.

Burglars will generally head for the bedrooms first since that’s where most people keep their valuables. Don’t follow the standard. Make your valuables harder to find as a deterrent should someone get into your home.

  • Invest in a portable safe that’s too bulky or heavy to easily carry. Find one that doesn’t look like something a regular person would be carrying around.
  • Use your freezer as an unlikely storage spot, placing items in a baggie in the way back so they’re hard to find
  • Consider hiding spots in disguise. Buy a hollow book or false container that looks like it belongs in the bathroom or kitchen.

Today, you can find almost any common object to double as a secret storage spot for valuables. There are hollow hairbrushes, wall clocks that double as a safe, wall plugs with a hidden compartment and faux canned goods, drink cans and batteries. These all make it hard for someone to tell what’s real and what isn’t.

Burglars don’t have the time to check everything if they want to make a quick getaway, so your stuff has a better chance of staying safe.

4. Secure a few extra sets of eyes

Male neighbor getting to know a young couple to help keep their apartment building safeMale neighbor getting to know a young couple to help keep their apartment building safe

There’s a reason neighborhoods create watch groups and then make sure a sign goes up to let anyone coming in know about it. The more eyes looking, the greater the chance someone will see something unusual going on and report it. In an apartment, the more people you know, the more eyes you have watching your back.

Get to know your neighbors. Not only will they help you feel safer, but knowing who lives around you makes it easier to spot someone who doesn’t belong in your building. Exchange phone numbers for easy communication should you suspect anything fishy. “If one doesn’t already exist,” says Hannah Whalen from the Home Alarm Report, “start a Facebook page for your apartment building and share anything suspicions.”

Let your neighbors know when you’re planning on going away for a longer than normal period of time. Tell those you trust when you’re going out of town so they can watch out for your place and help keep it safe.

5. Install an apartment alarm system

Woman entering her code on an alarm system keypad stuck to the wallWoman entering her code on an alarm system keypad stuck to the wall

For a little more surveillance than the watchful eyes of your neighbors, you can install an apartment alarm system. This may not be an automatic choice when thinking of inexpensive, DIY for apartments, but with technology today, it is.

The best security system for apartment living depends on your individual needs, what equipment you want to have and what you can afford. With limitations on drilling holes into walls and running wires through a rental property, your best bet for an alarm system is one that’s wireless.

Wireless alarm systems

Many wireless alarm systems come customized for apartment living and are often easy for anyone to install, which keeps the cost down. Installation can take minutes and you don’t have to be tech-savvy to get things set up.

With wireless systems, alarm panels are stuck onto the wall rather than hardwired. Your property manager will appreciate that there are no holes to drill and no wiring to run. The system is also easy to move should you find yourself relocating to a different apartment.

Each component of a wireless alarm connects to the main control panel using radio signals. When something gets triggered, the company monitoring your alarm is immediately notified. Using the system is pretty easy since many alarms tie into an app you can install on your phone, one that allows you to arm and disarm remotely.

If you do decide to buy a wireless alarm system, make sure to do some research on the quality of the system before you buy. Low-quality alarms or those that are running outdated software can get hacked easier so they stop working.

You also need to make sure you put sensors in the proper locations to ensure the radio signal can get from each component to the main hub. Radio frequencies can’t go through solid objects. You may need to consult with your alarm company to get everything set up right.

Motion sensors

An option with most wireless security systems, motion sensors fall on the less expensive end of alarm accessories. Install them over a window or door to alert you when they open.

Not only will you know someone is trying to get in, but often, the noise scares whoever it is away. Because installation can require drilling holes, make sure to check with your property owner first.

Motion detectors

Slightly different than sensors, detectors react to movement rather than physical contact with an object. You can pair motion detectors with security lights which will turn on when the detector gets triggered. Lights can scare off an intruder because they’ll think you’re home.

Protect your property without breaking the bank

Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you have to settle for feeling less safe than you would in a free-standing home. With simple, affordable, do-it-yourself strategies, you can keep yourself and your property safer no matter where you live.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Small Appliances Worthy of Counter Space

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When living in an apartment, chances are you will not have the luxury of a large kitchen. You may have very little space to work with, which means you have some decisions to make. There are so many small appliances out there, all of which seem very appealing for someone who enjoys cooking. But with minimal kitchen space, you are going to have to be picky about which appliances you choose. Of course, this may be subjective – certain appliances are useful to some while they are a complete waste of space to others. You will have to decide which are most beneficial to you. To help you out, we created a list of small appliances worthy of counter space.

Keurig Coffee Single Cup Brewer

For the coffee lover, a Keurig machine is perfect. This one-cup maker can quickly brew a variety of different coffees teas or hot chocolate. The only work you have to do is fill the machine with water, and place the pod into the Keurig – the machine does everything else. The Keurig is great when there are a variety of drinkers in the apartment. You can buy pods to satisfy everyone’s taste and when purchasing online there are many deals available. Brewing only takes 60 seconds so Keurig coffee is doable, even when you are in a rush.

Cuisinart Griddler

This 5-in-1 machine could not be more convenient for a small apartment with no grilling space. Its small enough to fit on the counter, but takes care of all your grilling needs. The Griddler can make just about anything, ranging from pancakes to burgers to a panini. To make this all possible, it includes five plate options: contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle. The plates snap in and out, making the transformation easy. Temperature can be adjusted, and the plates are dishwasher friendly. The Griddler is great for so many of your cooking needs, all while saving space in your apartment.

Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop

While many apartments come with stovetops, you may be stuck in an apartment without one. In that case, Duxtop has come out with a portable countertop burner. This burner uses 120 volts and 15 amps of electricity. It has 10 temperature ranges (140-460 degrees) and 10 power levels (200-1800watts). It is lightweight and not too big, so very easy to store when you don’t have a lot of kitchen space. Whether your apartment comes without a stovetop, or you choose to save the space and get rid of it – the Duxtop portable cooktop is the perfect alternative!

Ready to find your next apartment?

Joseph Joseph Index Plus

Regardless of your cooking skills, you are probably going to need a set of knives and cutting boards for your kitchen. Joseph Joseph, a contemporary kitchenware company, came out with the “Index Advance” – a nonstick cutting board set that comes with matching knives. This set was created to prevent cross-contamination when cooking, so it is color coded and organized depending on food type. The Index Advance has four sections – fish, meat, vegetables, and cooked food. Each section has its own color, a cutting board, and a knife designed for that food type. The knives and cutting boards are stored in a storage case ensuring that they wont take up too much counter space.

Breville Convection Toaster Oven

This compact countertop oven is a smart space saver! The oven basically controls itself – depending on what you put in it, it adjusts the temperature to cook it to perfection. There are nine different functions, all with suggestions on the cooking time and temperature. The smart oven will even remember certain items and cook them the same way each time. It toasts, bakes, and roasts anything and everything perfectly. It is a great space-saver and the best convection oven you can find.

Cusinart Power Advantage Hand Mixer

Depending on your price range, Cusinart’s Power Advantage hand mixer comes in three different speeds: 5-speed, 7-speed, or 9-speed. All three mixers are easy to operate, easy to store, and have the power to mix just about anything. The hand mixers have low enough speeds to avoid a mess while mixing, but high enough speeds to mix the heavier ingredients. The beaters are dishwasher-friendly making for an easy cleanup. Whatever you need a hand mixer for – this is the one to choose. It will get the job done, but won’t take up too much counter space as a full sized mixer.

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

How to Write a Noise Complaint Letter (Template)

LOUD NOISES!

Almost anywhere you live, you’re going to have to deal with neighbors. And especially when living in an apartment where you share a wall, those neighbors can get a little noisy at times. While a little bit of disruption here and there isn’t a big deal, there might be bigger, more frequent noise issues that make it nearly impossible to live in peace, like a constantly barking dog or weekly midnight raves.

If it gets really bad, then it might be time to file a noise complaint with your landlord to solve the problem.

person plugging ears due to loud noises above her

When is the right time to file an apartment noise complaint?

When you’ve dealt with repeated, unreasonably loud sounds from your noisy neighbors, it’s easy to get worked up. Before you go straight to your landlord, take a couple of extra steps to try and solve the problem yourself, if you can.

Quiet enjoyment clause

Check out your apartment contract to see if it has a quiet enjoyment clause. This clause recognizes that you, along with everyone else in your apartment complex, have the right to live in peace and quiet, undisturbed by a repeated or unreasonable commotion.

Apartment buildings may include their quiet hours in this clause, along with any other relevant rules for being respectful in regards to bothering others.

Noise ordinance laws

Most cities or states have some form of noise ordinance laws. They’ll usually outline the hours when people shouldn’t be making loud noises, as well as regulating the actual level of the noise allowed.

Check out your city’s noise ordinances, which can also be used in your favor if there is a neighbor that’s disobeying the local noise laws.

Talk to your neighbors

Before you start writing to your landlord about how insufferable the loud music from next door is, head over to the neighbor’s place and talk it out. It is intimidating, especially if you’re a non-confrontational person, but it can sometimes clear the air.

Your neighbors may not have realized that they were being loud enough that it bothered you, so bringing up the issue with them directly may cause them to be more conscious of the noise and it may solve the problem without any involvement from your landlord.

Let your landlord know

If you’ve spoken to your neighbors and they still aren’t quieting down, you can let your landlord know about the issue. This is where the formal noise complaint comes into play.

How to file a noise complaint

You’ll want to actually write a noise complaint letter (or an email) so that you have physical proof you’re trying to resolve things. In your letter, include the specific issue, how it’s affecting you, any steps you’ve taken to try and fix the problem and what expectations you have moving forward.

You should also make a note to yourself to follow up on your noise complaint if you don’t hear back after a while. You don’t need to send an entire letter each time you follow up, just a little nudge as a reminder that you’re experiencing problems and it’s negatively affecting your living situation.

Man writing a letter on a piece of paper.

Sample noise complaint letter template

Here’s a template you can copy to write your own noise complaint letter. You can also download a Word document or PDF version of this letter to use.

[Your Name]
[Your Apartment Address & Number]
[Date]

Re: Noise Complaint

Hi [Landlord Name],

I’m reaching out to request your help in resolving an ongoing issue with my neighbors in [Apartment Number]. [Description of issue and how it’s affecting you].

[Description of steps you’ve taken to resolve the issue].

I’d love your help in solving the problem as I enjoy living here and would like to continue to do so, but may need to look for a new place to live if the problem continues.

Please feel free to contact me via phone or email to further discuss this. I appreciate your help!

Thanks,

[Your Name]
[Phone Number]
[Email]

Sample noise complaint letter example

Here’s an example of what that noise complaint letter might look like:

Joe Renter
123 Main Street, Apartment #1
3/11/2021

Re: Noise Complaint

Hi John,

I’m reaching out to request your help in resolving an ongoing issue with my neighbors in Apartment #2.

They throw parties late at night and blast music so loud that I often can’t sleep. This happens at least once per week, sometimes more often, and the noise has lasted until 4 a.m. on some occasions. It’s making it difficult for me to live and function when I don’t get the sleep that I need for work and I can’t enjoy my time at home when I can hear my neighbors through the walls.

I’ve spoken with them and asked that they try to minimize the noise and not turn the music so loud, but they’ve refused to do so. I also reminded them that, as per our city noise ordinances and the quiet enjoyment clause for the apartment building, quiet time begins at 10 p.m. and lasts until 7 a.m., but again, they have continued with the loud noises.

I’d love your help in solving the problem as I enjoy living here and would like to continue to do so, but may need to look for a new place to live if the problem continues.

Please feel free to contact me via phone or email to further discuss this. I appreciate your help!

Thanks,

Joe Renter
123-456-7890
[email protected]

What else can I do if my neighbors are still noisy?

If you’ve sent a noise complaint letter to your landlord and follow-up up, but still have seen no action to resolve the problem, you might need to take a few different steps. You can:

  • Find your local tenant’s association, if there is one, and file a complaint there.
  • Call the police and file a noise violation complaint the next time it happens
  • Hire an attorney to consult with
  • Move out

While these alternatives are far from ideal, they are better than consistently dealing with loud noises from your neighbors.

Don’t be “that guy”

Filing a noise complaint isn’t something anyone wants to do, but it may be necessary.

You deserve to live a quiet life if you desire to do so and it’s not fair (or even legal) for neighbors to constantly disturb you with their loud noises.

Just try acting as nice and reasonable as possible when dealing with a noise complaint so that you don’t become “that guy” that all the other neighbors hate for complaining all the time.

Only file a complaint if the noise is constant and truly interrupts your ability to live enjoyably in your apartment!

Source: rent.com