Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Efficiency Apartments For Rent

December 11, 2012

Sharon asks…

I’m moving to a 1st floor apartment with 6 windows. How do I secure it?

The neighborhood is not great and I have some expensive things. Its an efficiency apartment with a small back yard. 2 windows are in my bedroom, 4 are in the kitchen facing the alley and back yard. The windows are in pretty good shape and have screens and can be locked.

The door to the back yard is pretty flimsy as well. I feel confident securing the front door as its an inner door to a shared house. Only I have access to the backyard but the fences are very low (low enough for a tall person to step over.

Basically, I want to have some peace of mind when I go to work. I rent this apartment so I dont know how many modifications I can make.

Any ideas are appreciated.

Administrator answers:

You can put an inexpensive alarm on each window and door. It’s wireless and magnetic. When the window or door is opened, it breaks the magnet seal & an audible alarm goes off. Lowe’s and Home Depot sell these. Here’s a link to show what I’m describing — but I bought mine in a 6-pack.


They also sell some metal locking mechanisms that twist close and prevent the window from sliding open – but they don’t fit on all windows.

A way to prevent the windows from being opened from the outside is to cut a broom handle or other stout stick to fit between the top of the window and the middle seam. Wedge the stick so it sits on top of the lower part of the window that opens. This is the same idea as a broom handle in a sliding patio door except it’s vertical.

If you have expensive things, it would be worth it to invest in a storm door that goes on the outside of the back entry door. You may have to leave it when you move, but it would be worth it to me. Some storm doors are fairly inexpensive and sell for about $125 and up. Be sure to get a LOCKING door handle OR put a storm door dead bolt on the inside — yes they make these so don’t let the idiots at Home Depot tell you they don’t. You might have to look around for one.

The dead bolt should be installed about eye level. The most safety is achieved by installing two dead bolts on the door — one up high and one somewhere below the door handle – knee level or thereabouts. Mine have keys so they can be locked from the outside as I’m leaving.

It’s difficult to kick in a wood door that has a locked storm door in front of it.

Also, buy a sign that says you are protected by a monitored alarm system.

And, an outside light that points away from the house and has is activated by movement is a good idea. That way, if someone approaches from the outside, the light comes on.

Finally, make friends with your neighbors and tell them about your window alarms and to please call 911 if they hear it go off.

And, finally GET RENTER’S INSURANCE! If you have jewelry, be sure that the policy covers the entire value rather than just $500 and be sure that the policy covers losses caused by theft as well as fire, etc. Or, put all your really valuable stuff in a safe deposit box until you move into a more secure dwelling.

Steven asks…

“Efficiency for rent”?

I’m looking a for a sudio/1 bdrm. apartment, and came across an “efficiencyfor rent. What exactly is an efficiency?

Administrator answers:

Same thing as a studio.

Carol asks…

Why are landlords charging such outrageous rent for crap???

I’ve been looking at apartments & houses for rent, and they’re ridiculous. For example, this one house is $675/month and it’s a pig pin. Trashy, no door knobs, roaches, etc. and is soooooo small that it looks like an efficiency apt.
And there’s a house near where I live that was cut in half (made into an apt. duplex). It’s also very small. Each apt. is a tiny one bedroom that cost $825/month.

Administrator answers:

I know! Rent is crazy expensive these days. Around my neck of the woods, units that were $400 per month a couple years ago are $650 today. But, regardless of other factors involved, it’s mainly the fault of renters.

Sandy asks…

Is it wise to buy an evaporative cooler? Please read the detail. Thanks?

Let me give you some more detail about my situation.
I rented an efficiency apartment in an apartment building. The rent is 375$ per month, which literally covers everything including electricity. I am a college student and this is a great deal for me. The problem is the landlord doesn’t allow air conditioner. I guess it’s because if everyone in this building installs an air conditioner. The electricity bill will go crazy. I lives in Wisconsin with humidity of 80% in the summer. Some people told me that evaporative/swamp cooler ONLY works for DRY places like Arizona. For me, It might cool the room a little bit. But, it might not be a good idea to use evaporative cooler because my area is already very humid. I am not sure if I should trust them.

But without something that can cool the air, it is really hot in the summer. So should I buy a portable evaporative cooler??

Thanks! Your help is much appreciated!

Administrator answers:

I live in AZ where it is very dry except during the June-Sept months. Evaporative coolers work well when the DEW POINT is below 55 degrees. Actually, they work better when the dew point is below 50 deg. It’s not really the humidity that determines the effectiveness of the evap cooler, but humidity is related to the dew point.

According to a web site, during Jul-Aug, your dew points are will above the 50/55 limits. So an evap cooler is useless at this time. A fan would be just as effective.

Using an evap cooler in an already hot and humid climate will be more like living in a tropical jungle. You’ll be pumping more hot, humid air into your environment.

Donna asks…

Sons, one is easy to get along with, the other is not. Here is my problem…?

My 29 year old married his pregnant girlfriend. She’s due in September. He’s been living in an efficiency apartment paying very low rent. The landlady wants them to move because the place is small, it is an upstairs garage apartment and she does not want a baby there.

My son thinks he can find an apartment in this price range. His new wife can’t keep a job. He makes about $10 an hour. He’s been employed for 10 plus years at this place.

He’s temperamental, argumentive and hateful. We don’t get along that well for long periods of time.

I let his younger brother and his wife live with us for no more than two months until they could afford the deposit and rent on a house 60 miles away. They paid us rent and bought groceries and we get along. Also, they would drive 60 miles each day and back to work. (San Antonio). They’re out now.

I’m afraid the other son (and wife) will expect to live with us, but he is so different. How can I tell him NO! Unsure how to handle this situation??

Administrator answers:

This is a no win situation. You let the other one stay with so you can’t just say no. Just stick by the same terms that you did with your other son.

I know that it is hard but remember that you are going to have another grandchild. Do it for that future baby. Give them 2 months to save up their cash and make them pay you rent. It’s only fair.

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