I will be out of the country for a few months. How can I keep my apartment safe?

Gated Entrance A gated community helps ensure your apartment's safety while your out of town.

Leaving your Jacksonville apartment unattended while you go on your tour of duty can be stressful. You'll be running around, trying to pack and tie up loose ends before your extended leave. It's worth the extra time to run through a checklist of things you need to accomplish before you leave your apartment. While you'll need your own list of to do's , our checklist encompasses everything you want to gloss over to make sure you keep your apartment safe and don't come home to an empty apartment and astronomical utility bill.

In order to keep your apartment safe, you must turn off everything before you leave. No lights, fans, and electrical appliances should be left unchecked. If you left your lights on for 2 months straight for 24 hours a day, you are sure to be welcomed home by a utility bill as much as your rent for three months! Before you leave, check all the bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas and turn off all fans, lights, thermometers, and televisions. In addition, it would be wise to turn off and unplug all electrical appliances. Unplugging them is just one extra safety precaution that will only take a few minutes to complete. Fires can start easier than most would imagine. What would be worse than coming home to an over the top apartment utility bill would be coming home to no apartment at all.

It is monumentally important to lock everything in your apartment before you go on tour. Whether you are going on vacation or running to the grocery store, this is something you should always check before leaving your apartment. This may seem obvious, but it happens all too often to not mention. Lock all windows and doors into the house. Additionally, if you have a roommate that will be present while you are out of town, make sure you lock your room. While I'm sure you can trust your roomie, it is better safe than sorry. This removes liability from the both of you. Not to mention, if they leave the front door unlocked, at least your belongings will be safe. Something else to keep in mind is that spare key. Don't leave it under the mat; it's the first place an intruder will look to find your key. Leaving an extra key with a trusted neighbor, friend or the leasing office is a safe bet. Following these instructions will keep your belongings in and intruders out!

Nothing is worse than coming home to a filthy apartment, especially when you weren't even home to make a mess. In order to minimize the risk of little critters invading your home you should: clean out the fridge, refrigerate all produce (even bananas and potatoes), take out the trash, and wipe down all surfaces. Fruit flies and pests love fresh produce and sticky counters, especially in Florida. As long as you tidy up before you leave, you shouldn't come home to any unwelcomed guests.

Keeping your Jacksonville apartment safe should be a top priority. This makes you feel comfortable and alleviates some of the stress. Adding items to your long to do list before you go on tour can seem like a lot of extra work when you're already so pinched for time. But, when you come home to a clean and safe apartment you'll be thankful you took the extra steps.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentJax.com or any of our advertising partners.