Which is Safer to Live in – An Apartment or an Independent House?

Since 2015, crime rates have been on the rise and people are starting to question if living in an apartment or an independent home is safer.

When there is an earthquake or fire, houses tend to be safer and easier to flee than apartments.

However, an apartment building may offer greater protection during natural disasters such as tornadoes or hurricanes than houses and are less likely to be burglarized.

Here are a few things that will help you decide whether an apartment or house is right for you.

Apartment Vs. House: Safety Differences

Several facets of well-being are included under the broad umbrella of safety. However, homeowners, insurance providers, and safety inspectors should know about the following four key categories:

  • Structural Safety
  • Fires
  • Natural Disasters
  • Crime

Of course, apartment buildings are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage.

However, these issues are common whether you live in a lodge, a villa, a brownstone, or a mansion. Therefore, these four factors must be examined to evaluate a property’s safety profile.

Structural Safety

People are constantly concerned about structural safety because although buildings don’t break down daily, they occasionally do.

Apartment buildings are more likely than homes to have structural problems. Additionally, they could develop significant vulnerabilities over time due to poor maintenance.

Other natural phenomena, such as the salty, humid air near the ocean, earthquakes, and hurricanes, could also endanger the structure.

Homes are considerably simpler to maintain, especially if just one person needs to make these decisions.

However, it’s harder to agree on maintenance decisions with several tenants and ensure everyone pays their rent on time if you live in an apartment building.

In fact, you’re at the mercy of the building manager to carry out routine maintenance tasks.


Buildings with several occupants have a much higher chance of experiencing a fire emergency than single-family homes. In fact, this risk increases when a building has multiple apartments and occupants.

Therefore, an apartment building with 50 apartments frequently presents a risk 50 times greater than a single-family home.

Furthermore, some dangers come with the structure, such as threats associated with electrical wiring, backup generators, and central heating and cooling systems.

Therefore, apartment building managers must adhere to strict fire suppression and smoke detection guidelines to reduce this danger.

But the Grenfell Tower tragedy shows how sometimes building codes fall short of protecting inhabitants.

That said, it’s typically far simpler to put a fire out in a house than in an apartment complex. In fact, the difficulty of fire suppression rises if a fire spreads to higher stories in an apartment building.

A similar challenge arises if your home is encircled by narrow streets or is constructed on a high elevation.

However, the family’s actions, the fire detection system, and the integrity of the electrical wiring in an independent home all affect the likelihood of a fire.

Natural Disasters

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes impact buildings now and then. However, an earthquake would affect a high-rise apartment building more severely than a two-story home.

In contrast, independent homes may sustain more damage from storms and tornadoes than solid concrete apartment buildings.

During a natural disaster, buildings with wood or glass exteriors may pose a greater risk than those made from concrete or cement.

The crucial element of forced evacuation under duress is also present. Elevators are obviously completely useless during earthquakes.

Even taking the stairs down might not be possible. In that scenario, independent homes are much easier to evacuate during earthquakes.


Due to the controlled entry, apartments are typically considered safer than houses. Homes in quiet neighborhoods are considerably easier to break into than posh ones with security guards.

However, there are also a lot of homes in gated communities. Many conventional apartment buildings lack fundamental security features.

Apartments generally experience less crime in middle-class neighborhoods than in standalone homes.

This can be down to the availability of common areas where neighbors congregate, accessibility, and shape. Remember, single-family homes are more prone to security issues at all three entry points.

That said, installing a security system from a reputable home security provider will help you tackle this issue. In fact, you can even get one for your apartment to make it safer.

Things to Consider Before Moving into an Independent House

It would be best to look into a few things before moving into a new house or apartment. These include:

Check for Emergency Exits

In addition to keeping your flat safe from theft, security also involves making sure you can evacuate quickly in an emergency.

Look for designated fire escape routes. If your shortlisted apartment is located on the ground floor, ensure the windows are easy to open.

Check to see that the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are operational. A fire escape ladder should be properly stored so that burglars cannot get it from the ground.

Look For the History of Maintenance

Burnt-out light bulbs, peeling paint, and leaky faucets may seem like small annoyances that are simple to remedy, but they can also be warning signals of a negligent landlord.

After all, the last thing you need is a serious security problem, like a broken window or lock, and to wait weeks for a suitable repair.

As soon as you enter the apartment building or complex, assess the unit’s safety. Then take detailed notes identifying the symptoms of poor upkeep. Here are a few instances:

  • Worn out carpets
  • Peeling paint
  • Overgrown landscaping
  • Broken Fences

Since you aren’t yet a tenant, hold the landlord responsible by demanding to know if they intend to make the necessary repairs before you move in.

However, if you’re unsatisfied with the answer, you need to look elsewhere.

Check The Windows

Well-maintained windows are crucial to keeping your apartment safe and secure. If you’re on the ground floor, look for reliable, simple-to-use window locks.

Ensure that your windows are impenetrable from the outside. In fact, consider whether a burglar may enter your flat through a window.

Intruders can break a window to reach in and access a lock. So, keep an eye out for any nearby windows with door locks.

Furthermore, ask your landlord if you can put window security film on your windows for increased protection.

Check the Entrance

The entrances to your apartment and the building or complex serve as the first lines of defense in a renter’s security.

Therefore, verify that there are locks and other security measures at every entrance, including:

  • Remote unlocking
  • CCTV cameras
  • Keypad access
  • Chain lock
  • Peephole

Lastly, Ask the management how frequently the key codes and keys are changed. Ultimately, you don’t want to put yourself at risk of having a previous tenant enter your unit.

Check the Lights

Apartment complexes and buildings occasionally include dimly-lit areas. These are ideal hiding spots for intruders and burglars.

Therefore, proper illumination is crucial in apartment buildings. These include areas such as:

  • Mailrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Stairwells
  • Waste management rooms
  • Storage room
  • Parking lots
  • Hallways

If at all feasible, check it out at night with a friend to better understand how the lighting works in your shortlisted apartment building. Find out whether there are any lights with motion sensors as well.

Research Crime Rates

Your real estate agent couldn’t have said it any better: location matters! Hence, it’s a good idea to look into the area’s crime statistics and speak with locals before choosing an apartment.

Check out internet resources like SpotCrime to learn more about the crime trends in your community.

In fact, you can also speak with local business owners, the local sheriff, and the police to learn more about the crime rates in the area your apartment building is located.

This is crucial before signing on the dotted line!

Things to Do After Moving In

Here are a few things you need to do after you decide to move into an apartment you love:

Purchase a Safe

If someone can break into your apartment, that doesn’t mean they should be able to steal your belongings easily.

Here, an impenetrable house safe is an excellent deterrent for robbers, nosy roommates, and unreliable visitors.

Talk to your landlord about anchoring it to a wall or floor for optimum security and keep cash, jewels, guns, family heirlooms, vital documents, and other valuables inside it.

Install New Door Locks

Ideally, a deadbolt is already installed in your apartment, but if not, make sure to get one when you move in.

However, request that your landlord replace your door’s standard locks as well. You would want to ensure that you are the only person with access to your apartment.

However, you will never know whether someone else has a duplicate key or not. Typically, your landlord will have one, so that’s not a problem.

A different approach to ensure your apartment remains secure while you are inside it is installing several more door locks, such as a door reinforcement lock or a chain lock.

This will provide you with added security, especially if the old tenant decides to break into and enter your apartment.

Get a Home Security System

Many tenants mistakenly believe their apartment security system doesn’t go beyond a stack of cans in front of their door. This is because drilling holes in an apartment is strictly prohibited.

But this shouldn’t stop you from improving your apartment’s security. Double-sided tape can be used in wireless alarm systems to secure door and window sensors.

Moreover, these systems also provide you with 24/7 monitoring capabilities via your smartphone. So, get one for your new apartment today.

Apply For Renter’s Insurance

Accidents might still happen even with all the safety measures you take. So, it makes perfect sense to purchase renters’ insurance to protect yourself.

Your renter’s insurance plan will cover your personal property, like clothing, gadgets, and furniture. Unlike your landlord’s insurance, which only ensures the building you live in.

Additionally, it aids in paying obligations and medical expenses if a guest suffers an injury while in your flat. Ultimately, spending around $20 a month to secure your belongings is a worthwhile investment.

Wrapping Up

Various elements can help you determine how safe a place is. Neither houses nor apartments excel in every area.

However, houses appear to be the more sensible option in many aspects. This is down to their ability to withstand fire and ease of upkeep and evacuation.

In contrast, apartments present significantly greater difficulties for intruders and criminals. Furthermore, they can withstand tornadoes and hurricanes a lot better than houses.

So, the answer to the question of which is safer depends on which element of safety and security you value the most.

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