When you don’t earn much you don’t tend to have much. Yet the little you and your loved ones have can make or break a very fragile home environment. Whether it’s a collection of toys your children treasure or your one and only television set, the loss of these items will not be easily fixed on a limited income.
Fire, flooding, and theft are unfortunately more likely to happen in older homes and in lower income neighborhoods. For families renting wherever the lowest monthly rate was found, this means their belongings are at a significantly higher risk of being damaged or stolen than folks fortunate enough to afford living in nicer parts of town.
The best safeguard against the loss or theft of personal items is, of course, getting insurance. Many reasonably priced renters insurance policies exist out there. However, we are not so naive to not know there are countless families out there where every single cent is already slotted and there is not a dime to spare. Insurance in such cases may remain a luxury for the foreseeable future, no matter the discounts.
In these circumstances and even when insurance is taken out, additional home security measures ought to be taken. Some are basic, others are less conventional, but none of them demand a chunk of the paycheck to pull off:
Renters have a responsibility to keep their doors and windows locked at all times when not in use. Teaching youngsters to abide by this simple yet effective rule will eliminate 80% of thieves. We’re not kidding you; the modus operandi of most burglars is to test door knobs till one gives way. Furthermore, always take time to test smoke alarms at least once a month. Replace batteries if necessary.
Call the Landlord Out
Sometimes due diligence only goes so far in rental situations. Property owners in low-income parts of town are often linked to poor maintenance records. If windows or doors are ajar or otherwise not closing properly, be relentless on your landlord to fix the issue. If battery replacement doesn’t fix a smoke detector, make sure it’s replaced as soon as possible. If it comes down to it, don’t be afraid to get a little aggressive with the property manager. If they continue to fail to help, tell them you’re filing a formal complaint with HUD. If they aren’t there the next day, go through with your threat.
Sometimes a little dose of intimidation is all you need to dispense to avoid problems with break in attempts. As we mentioned in a previous post on frugal home security solutions, faux signs indicating an alarm system or dog ownership are powerful deterrents for the majority of petty thieves. It’s cheaper than getting the real deal, but an observant enough of a would-be intruder will easily catch on to the scam. Fortunately, such sophisticated crooks tend to target homes with more lucrative prospects than those found in low-income parts of town.
Keep it on the DL
Maybe you manage to save up enough money to buy an iPad for the family. It might not be the best idea to go bragging about it on Facebook. Depending on the neighborhood you live in and the company your loved ones keep, the wrong eyes might set upon the newly acquired technology on social media and seek to steal it at some point in the future. The basic rule of thumb is to keep your recent, albeit rare big-ticket purchases to yourself to prevent tempting burglars.
Renters on a fixed or otherwise extremely limited income are not exactly teeming with expensive items. However, the select gadgets and appliances they do have are often prized and nearly impossible to replace easily. Therefore, it’s imperative for renters to take the proper steps to prevent damage or theft of property. Getting insurance is ideal, but not always possible. In this event, abide by the aforementioned steps to reduce the risk of losing the few materials and goods you hold dear to your heart.