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With urban areas witnessing growth in the number of single women, as working professionals and students, there is also a corresponding increase in the demand for rental houses that cater to them. Safety and security are crucial aspects, when it comes to selecting an apartment, for such individuals.
Considering that rental properties often come through brokers, avoid going alone with an agent for the first time. Conduct your own diligence, prior to selecting a home, including a reference check on the landlord.
Neighbourhood and access to public transport
“Doing an online search of the property, which is now possible due to various websites, will give you a better sense of the neighbourhood. Ensure that adequate security measures are in place and also check the crime rate in the neighbourhood. Understand the proximity to public transportation networks and access to taxis/rickshaws from the property. If possible, visit the area along with a friend, late in the evening or night, to ensure that the area is safe at night,” suggests Shubika Bilkha, business head at The Real Estate Management Institute.
Security measures in the housing society
Actress Jasmin Bhasin, who lives alone on rent in Mumbai says, “I have lived in a joint family in Kota and for the last few years, I am living alone in Mumbai. Although it is not scary, it is always better to be alert. I ensured that the complex I chose to live in, had good security like CCTV and guards. I always keep one original document of the staff I hire, such as my maid or my driver. I always check identity cards of any service person, who comes to my house for maintenance works. I ensure that my maid is at home, when the electrician or plumber come and keep the door open when they work inside.”
Precautions, before shifting into a new house
It is advisable to change all major locks after moving into a new apartment, as sometimes, even brokers may have spare keys. Before you move in, ensure that all door and window locks work properly. If they don’t, have the landlord fix them before you shift. If it is a room on the ground or first floor, make sure the windows have grills.
Try and install a chain, peephole or video door intercom, to see who is at the door. “Check if the apartment has security cameras, an alarm system, as well as an intercom. You should also ensure that you have a list of emergency numbers easily accessible at all times,” adds Bilkha.
When it comes to hiring domestic staff, take references from friends or colleagues. “Hire domestic staff, only after police verification only and from an authorised agency. Keep a current photograph of the hired staff with yourself. This will help, in case they need to be tracked down. Always keep local police numbers saved on your mobile,” suggests Shravni Pawar, owner of Safe Hands 24X7 Security. Pawar also advises women to learn basic self-defence techniques, as it boosts confidence and increase one’s chances of success in handling any threatening situation. Additionally, maintain a cordial relationship with your neighbours, as they can be of immediate help in case of an emergency.