Selecting a Safer Apartment Complex

Each year thousands of people fall victim to violent criminal attacks in an apartment or condominium complex where they reside. These attacks often include armed robbery, shootings and sexual assault. Unfortunately, an apartment or condominium complex can be dangerous if it is not properly maintained by the owner and manager. As advocates for the victims of violent crime, we have investigated hundreds of cases where a person was attacked and injured at an apartment or condominium complex. So, we know what factors make a complex safe or unsafe. While it is impossible to predict where a violent criminal attack will occur, it is possible to identify those complexes that are more likely to be safe than others.

Crime Data

If you are interested in a particular apartment or condominium complex or an area containing a number of such complexes, you can obtain information about criminal activity at the particular complex and the surrounding area from the local police department. In almost every state, there is a law that allows citizens to obtain information that is gathered and maintained by government bodies. In Georgia, that law is called The Georgia Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18- 71. Under the Open Records Act, you have the right to send a request to the city or county police department where the complex is located for information about crime. We have attached a form that you can complete to request information about the types and numbers of crimes that have been committed at a particular address or within a certain number of miles of that address.

Online Reviews

There is no better information about an apartment or condominium complex than a review or testimony from someone who has actually lived there. Such reviews and testimonials are available at sites on the internet.

Some examples are:

www.rentersvoice.com

www.apartmentratings.com

www.rent.com

What Does A Safer Complex Look Like?

Generally, better looking rental complexes are safer. The appearance that a property is well maintained and cared for by its owner or manager is less likely to attract crime. Apartment and condominium complexes that are safer often exhibit the following:

1. Clean and well-maintained buildings.

2. Well-lit parking lots and common areas, such as a playground and pool, with no deep shadows.

3. A fence around the entire perimeter of the property.

4. Controlled access such as a security gate and/or guard at the entrance.

5. Security cameras installed in conspicuous locations.

These are features that you should look for when you visit an apartment or condominium complex you are considering. 

 

What Does an Unsafe Complex Look Like?

Statistics show that rental complexes that are located in certain areas and appear to be poorly maintained and not cared for by the owner or manager tend to attract criminal activity. The following are red flags that an apartment or condominium complex may be unsafe and dangerous:

  • Near a major highway or road intersection
  • Near a truck stop or gas station/convenience store
  • Near extended stay or low rate hotels In an industrial area
  • No fence around the perimeter of the property
  • No controlled access such as a gate or security station at the entrance.
  • Dilapidated buildings
  • Graffiti
  • Trash
  • Junk cars in parking lot
  • Poorly lit parking lot and common areas with broken or nonfunctioning lights

Questions to Ask When You Visit

  • Is a clean background check required of potential tenants? (Good)
  • Is a background check conducted of all employees? (Good)·
  • Does the Lease Agreement contain a Crime Waiver Addendum or Disclaimer of Liability? (Bad)·
  • What procedure does the complex have for reporting crime on the premises?·
  • How does the complex handle reports of crime?          
  • Are tenants notified of crimes on the premises?            
  • What security does the complex have? Is there a courtesy officer or uniformed security guards?          
  • Does the complex have an agreement with the local Police Department to provide a security presence?
  • Are there security cameras?
  • Is he/she aware of any violent crime on the property since working there?

What to Do If You Are a Victim?

If you do unfortunately become the victim of a violent criminal attack in an apartment or condominium complex where you reside, remember that you have rights. First, as a citizen, you have the right to seek criminal prosecution of the person(s) who committed the crime. Second, you have the right to pursue civil action against the owner and/or manager of a complex that failed to keep it reasonably safe. Below are actions you should take immediately:

  1. Call the police
  2. Insist that all evidence, including a rape kit, be preserved.
  3. Notify the manager of the complex.
  4. Seek medical attention.
  5. Seek mental health attention.
  6. Contact an attorney if you believe that the complex was not maintained in a safe condition.

If you are a victim of a violent criminal attack at an apartment complex and you think that it may be appropriate to pursue legal action against the manager and/or owner, you should contact a law firm that you think you can trust.  At Seay/Felton, our attorneys have a combined total of over 50 years of experience representing injured people. Many decades of that experience have been spent representing people or the families of people who have been gravely injured or killed in a complex where they were renting a home.  If you think that you have a case, please contact us for a free consultation. Call (404) 902-6444 to schedule an appointment.  You can also contact us by e-mail at info@sftriallawyers.com

 


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