What to Do if Your Apartment Has Been Robbed

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What to Do if Your Apartment Has Been Robbed

Staff Writer · Mar 11, 2010

Knowing what to do if your apartment is robbed can protect you against future theft, protect others in your community and ensure that you receive insurance payments. No one likes to think about this as a possibility, but all renters in all neighborhoods are vulnerable to burglars, though some much more than others. If your apartment has been robbed, this is what you do:

Call the Police

Don’t assume that it’s too late to catch the thief. Call the police immediately for a couple of reasons. First, the burglar could be at large in your apartment community still, and they may be armed. Second, the police can notify the media and other organizations to get the word out that there’s a burglar on the streets. When the police arrive, they’ll take a police report, which becomes public record.

Give a Detailed Police Report

You’ll want to be as detailed as possible when giving a police report. If the person who robbed your apartment is caught, you may choose to bring a civil action against them as well, and the police report is evidence. However, when your apartment is robbed, it’s usually by a thief that doesn’t have much to make it worthwhile pursuing them in court. Your best chance of getting money for your damages if you can’t get your things back is to file a renters insurance claim. The more detailed the police report, the easier it is to process your claim.

Take Pictures or Video

For insurance purposes, and for dealing with future issues regarding your security deposit, you should take pictures of any damage. For example, include photos or video footage of a broken window, door or other fixture. The landlord will do the same in order to file a claim with their property insurance company. If a dispute arises with your landlord when you go to move out, you’ll have pictures and a police report in your corner.

Notify the Landlord

After calling the police and taking photos, squeeze in a phone call to your landlord if your apartment has been robbed. They need to know that to warn other tenants, and to call a professional to change the locks and make repairs. They might even assist you with temporary housing until the police find the burglar or the matter comes to a close.

Ask for Early Termination

You want to feel safe in your apartment, and after you experience a robbery, you may never feel that way where you live. Many landlords are understanding, and will honor your request to mutually terminate the lease early. They are not required to do this, so approach it carefully, face to face, and as close as possible to the date the apartment was robbed. Never request this over the phone. Instead, ask to meet in person. It may also be good to wait a day or two to allow time for the landlord to process what happened, and obtain the facts they need to make a decision.

It’s devastating to come home and find that your apartment has been robbed. Use these suggestions to make the right choices in that situation.

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