Moving into a new apartment is a process that shouldn't be taken lightly. Looks can be deceiving, and it's easy for a land owner or manager to paint, board or seal over certain issues that won't be apparent until it's too late. Since there's a virtually limitless number of issues that could be hidden or innocently forgotten, a few of the following inspection points can help you identify entry security risks and possible repairs if you have a self-sufficient arrangement with the owner.
Hinge Inspection And Replacement
The front door and any outside access doors are the first line of defense for your new home. Outside of brute force, there are a few detailed systems that need to be inspected for safety and at least planned for if they aren't up to your standards.
The first inspection point would be the hinges. They aren't the first part seen, but they're relatively simple to inspect because of their simple purpose of allowing the door to swing open or closed. Make sure that the screws or bolts holding the hinges to the door and door frame are securely in place.
Checking the hinges begins with a simple process of shaking or adjusting the door to see if the hinges move. After that, take a screwdriver to the hinge screws to see if they move easily. Look for wood dust or other debris, as this may be an indication of wood rot or termite infestation.
If the hinge is attached to a rotting or damaged door frame or threshold, do not attempt a replacement or ask for a replacement hinge. The entry door frame needs to be replaced and secured to the walls. If you simply replace the hinges, it's easy for a would-be intruder to pry the door open from the hinge side. The doorknob may slow an intruder down, but it slips out easily at the proper angle.
Make Sure The Lock Is Modern
Lockpicking isn't just a crime; it's an art that many hobbyists and thieves take pride in. Unfortunately, thieves can be quite talented hobbyists as well, and having an old lock that could be picked by a child recruit to the trade is just asking for your belongings to be stolen.
Contact a locksmith to inspect the lock and to get an opinion on how easy it would be to break in. You can't just change the lock without the land owner or manager's permission, but you can bring up the issue as a safety concern.
If you receive permission to change the lock, make sure to keep track of any copies you make. A copy needs to be given to management for relevant personnel only, but if your key is complex enough, it's easy to keep a suspect list if the door seems to have been entered without forced entry.
Contact a locksmith like Tri-County Locksmith for lock suggestions and a survey of your new home's entry weaknesses.