Living in an Apartment Versus Living in Your Own Home

As the economic recession continues to make its full blown impact, more and more families are making the perceptually difficult transition from living in private homes to living in apartments. While no doubt it takes some getting used to, there are a few aspects that one needs to be wary about. In this article, we examine some of the pros and cons of living in apartments, vis-a-vis living in private homes.

Privacy

Privacy is one factor that is definitely affected, somewhat negatively, when it comes to apartments. There are families all around, and invariably some of them are rather curious about what you are doing. Further, apartments invariably tend to have thinner walls than private homes, with the end result that what you are doing inside your home might also end up getting known by your neighbors, even if you try your best to keep the noise level to the minimum. And in fact if you inverse the situation and heighten the noise element, say when you are having a party at home, there will invariably be protests from your neighbors, which is an unlikely scenario in private homes that often tend to insulate sounds from going too far.

Shared Resources

This is a big help – a big positive, when it comes to apartments. Invariably, a lot of the costs tend to be shared, be it the cost of cable, of allied services such as garbage collection, Internet, and more. The cost of the same things, in private homes, tends to be much higher, as the number of dwellings are much less, and the cost per household is always ascertained on the basis of aggregate cost of the aforementioned, divided by the number of households; with the latter being reasonably higher in number, in the case of apartments, the unit cost for the same for each household tends to be significantly low. That said, shared resources can be a bit of a problem as well; take the case of water – while in your private home, you had the luxury of enjoying your entire water supply, all to yourself, in an apartment, you will have to share the same with all the other occupants of the complex. God forbid, if there is a rationed supply of water in the complex – for whatever reason, chances are good that you will be affected much more by the same, than if you were in your own private home.

Security

The element of privacy that we mentioned earlier, actually has a positive side to it as well; in case of trouble, you have people around you who could assist. In private homes, in case you are alone and find yourself in trouble, chances of somebody else coming to your rescue, simply off the cuff, are quite less. This aspect gets heightened when we take note of the fact that a lot of apartment complexes have additional provisions for security, which is often completely missing, in the case of private homes. Thus, when it comes to the aspect of security, apartments tend to have an edge.

Space

Space is one of the foremost aspects that previous private home owners, now living in apartments, sorely miss. Undoubtedly, apartments tend to have much lesser space. The sizes of the apartments is a major area of concern. Additionally, other aspects such as space in the driveway as well as space to park one’s car(s) also tends to be much less. And if you are thinking of having your own little garden, invariably you might just have to drop the idea altogether! Thus, as you can clearly see, there are both advantages as well as disadvantages to living in apartments. Ultimately, it is about how well you are able to adjust to the same, as well as which are the factors that actually affect you, either way.

Why Do Apartments Conduct Criminal Background Checks?

Most apartments conduct criminal background checks, or so they state on their application. This is usually mandated by certain federal laws and state laws but also many landlords simply want to protect themselves. If you have a criminal record, you will discover that it is harder being approved for a decent apartment. Many apartments claim that their beef is with felony convictions but people with misdemeanors can also find themselves staring at denial letters.

One of the reasons why landlords conduct criminal background checks is to protect other tenants within that community housing. Many landlords actually take their cues from police departments which are instrumental in training apartment management on ways to screen tenants. Their rationale is that it is better to be safe than sorry. A tenant who will cause future problems can be identified early during the application process.

Landlords also know that if there are criminal elements residing in the community, there is a likelihood that police activity will be forthcoming. Regular or constant police visits to the apartment complex aggravates the other tenants and may even cause them to make the decision not to renew their leases. This is what the apartment management fear the most and is usually the main reason they insist on conducting criminal background checks.

Another reason why apartment landlords and property managers conduct criminal screening is because they want to protect their rental property prices. The more crimes are committed in the apartment complex, the more the entire community gains notoriety as an unsafe neighborhood. This has the domino effect of causing existing tenants not to renew their leases and prospective tenants to avoid that complex. When this happens, rental prices plummet and the management firm finds itself with less and less profit. Crimes committed in the apartment complex can also subject the management and owner to lawsuits from other tenants who may claim that the management lacks the will or the ability to offer adequate security.

Apartment managers also conduct criminal background checks because they want to adhere to local, state and federal laws. The PATRIOT ACT, which was enacted as a response to the September 11, 1991 terror attacks has certain clauses within it which call for proper identification and screening of prospective tenants.

We therefore see that it is harder and harder for criminal convicts to get away from their past when leasing an apartment since most apartment complexes now require a criminal background checks. This can result in undue frustration on the part of the tenant who in most cases has reformed and is now a law-abiding citizen. Many tenants end up trying to find ways of getting approved even with a criminal record. This is not entirely impossible if you have the knowledge of how to do it.

Apartment Living and Home Security – Simple Steps For Safety

There are so many advantages to apartment living. For one, homeowners have to be their own supers–if there’s a leaky faucet, a problem with the electricity, or a broken dishwasher, no one is going to fix them except for yourself! But in an apartment building, you get the advantage of renting (or owning) a space, not a structure. It’s a great choice for young professionals, and in many urban areas, it’s the ONLY choice for just about everyone. The safety of a secure-looking building is also a major asset for those living alone, as you’re often fortunate enough to have a doorman or at the least, other people coming and going from the building who you recognize so you’re not arriving home late to a dark and empty house.

But for all of the security and help that apartment-living provides, there are a lot of important things that apartment-dwellers still need to look out for. First, don’t ever let the fact that you’re inside of a secure apartment building allow you to completely drop your guard. Especially if it’s a large building, you are not going to be familiar with all of the people in the building. While it’s very neighborly for you to hold the door open for a trusted neighbor you know well and are familiar with, it’s completely another thing to just let anyone standing on the stoop in who happens to be fumbling with keys. Be smart. The best criminals know how to prey on human kindness, so don’t assume that someone looking to break into your apartment building is going to immediately look suspicious. They might be counting on the fact that you can’t remember all the faces of your neighbors. Home security starts with you at the door to the building, keeping an eye out and only helping neighbors with the door who you know and can verify. If you happen to have a car with an alarm, keep those keys in your hand while you’re walking up to the building. If someone happens to make a move to grab you, it’s very easy to activate your car alarm. The burglar might even mistake it for a home alarm and run away, fearing the police are about to be called.

Likewise, there are certain spaces in your building where you should be more on-guard. Don’t be talking on your cell phone while juggling a bag of groceries the minute you’re in the door. You wouldn’t be doing that out in the middle of the street by yourself, would you? It’s important to not look distracted and vulnerable in the common areas of your building, just as it is important to not be rifling through your purse or distractedly chatting away loudly on your iPhone out in the street. It’s no exaggeration that a little bit of street smarts can go a long way to your safety. Once inside the building, save all of the multi-tasking until you’re safely in your own apartment. One of the biggest mistakes that apartment-dwellers make is setting down all of their valuables on the floor and turning their back to them while they pick up their mail if there’s a mail room in the building. Crooks are waiting for moments like that to rob you, so be aware of all your belongings when in the common areas of your building.

It’s also very important, if your building has a laundry room, to be very cautious at the hours you decide to utilize the services. In a smaller building or converted triple-decker where you know all of the tenants, it’s one thing to decide to do laundry by yourself at two in the morning. In a large apartment building, especially in an urban area or when the laundry room is close to a door that could easily be broken into, it’s quite another. Laundry machines are also extremely loud and cell phones often don’t work in basements, so don’t put yourself in what is usually a safe position, but with a couple of variables changed could turn into something very dangerous. It’s also important to talk to your building manager or superintendent to make sure that the doors are securely shut from the alleys. The home security of the entire building doesn’t just depend on that main entrance–it also directly relates to the other ground-level doors and windows that criminals are known for using for entry.