If your child will be going away to college this fall and will be living in off-campus housing or will be moving away from home and into a new apartment for the first time, consider assisting them in finding a safe apartment or home in Hollywood or their chosen community.
When young people rent, their landlord is responsible for maintaining common spaces and in providing a reasonably safe space. Unfortunately, not all landlords are contentious about providing tenants with safety. First-time renters can be especially vulnerable. They may not know their rights as tenants and they may be on a budget, which means they may be considering some properties in less desirable areas or with less maintenance completed.
Here are a few ways to ensure your child is safe in the apartment they choose to call home:
1) Visit the apartment in person before signing the lease.
It may be popular to check reviews, videos, and photos online, but these rarely tell the whole story. Visit any area your child is considering renting in with him or her for a thorough look.
2) Bring a checklist and check everything in the apartment.
You will want to check that the apartment:
- Has a safe route out in the case of a fire
- Includes safe locks and doors – including deadbolt locks
- Includes someone onsite or nearby in case there is a problem
- Has no obvious pest infestations
- Has safe common areas, including maintained parking lots, stairs, lobbies, and doors
- Is in a well-lit area with a low crime rate
- Has a safe parking area if your child has a car
- Has a safe transit system nearby if your child will be using mass transit
- Has a working smoke detector
- Meets fire codes
- Doesn’t show signs of mold or other basic damage
Check everything in every apartment you visit.Visit the Florida Bar website before you view the apartment; the site explains landlords’ responsibilities and tenant rights.
If you notice anything amiss, ask to have it repaired. If you do sign a lease, make sure it includes a clause requiring the landlord to fix the problem by a specific date.
3) Compare apartments.
You will have an easier time finding a safe apartment for your child if you compare more than one apartment in the same price range. Comparing lets you see the difference in safety, cleanliness, and price, which lets you evaluate leases and rentals.
4) Get tenant’s insurance.
Make sure your child has adequate insurance – including tenant’s insurance – in case something goes wrong.
5) Make the apartment a little safer.
You can make your child’s apartment a little safer by:
- Installing a new deadbolt or other lock on the apartment door (with the landlord’s permission)
- Installing a bar in any sliding doors or over any windows on lower floors
- Installing a carbon monoxide alarm in the apartment (with the landlord’s permission)
- Supplying your child with a first aid kit and safety training during their first year of living alone
If your child’s landlord is negligent in maintaining the property and your child is injured as a result, you may have a premises liability claim in Hollywood or your community. Contact Flaxman Law Group to find out what legal avenues are open to you. Your first consultation with us is always free and confidential, so you risk nothing by speaking with our caring and professional team.