Apart from providing the roof over your tenants’ heads, your rental property should keep them secured along with their belongings. As a landlord, you need to introduce a set of effective measures that will protect your renters from unlawful entries, robberies, and other events that might compromise their safety. By protecting your rental property, not only do you improve your tenants’ experience but also allow yourself to raise the rent at the end of the current lease period.
Recognize its weak spots
Walk outside and take a tour of your rental property with a burglar’s eyes. Think of what the most logical point of entry would be. Perhaps the roof window which is often left open for ventilation? Or the bushes that have grown too thick and tall, providing intruders a perfect cover from the street? As you see a vulnerable spot, try to eliminate it by, for example, replacing the glass panel door with a full hardwood or metal door, using shatterproof glass for the ground floor windows, and repairing or upgrading the fence with deterrence features. Make sure, however, that whatever you do is legal in your jurisdiction.
Secure the main entrance
While most run-of-the-mill entrance doors are delivered with single-cylinder deadbolts installed, you should upgrade to a double-cylinder deadbolt for improved security. In this case, if a burglar manages to break the door glass pane, the double-deadbolt prevents them from reaching through and opening the door. In addition, you can counsel your tenants to use door jammers when they’re inside, for additional protection. In case you have to evict a tenant, make sure the keys are returned, but also to get the locks rekeyed in case they’ve made a copy.
Use security decals
If you’re not willing to invest in an expensive security system in a property where you don’t even live, you can still deter intruders by posting decals and stickers for alarm systems or reputable security companies. A study from the University of North Carolina Department of Criminal Justice shows that 60 percent of burglars are dissuaded by the presence of an alarm. For a price of less than $10, you can have an effective deterrent which most burglars aren’t willing to test.
Get an insurance policy
Effective as they may be, the security measures described here can’t guarantee to protect your tenants’ property. If you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the people paying their rent dutifully every month are fully covered in case of a break-in, you should get a home insurance policy. Try to find a package that combines a home and contents insurance, as that way you’re protecting both your tenants’ belongings, and covering for any damage done to your rental property as a result of forceful entry.
Hire a property manager
Keeping a watchful eye on your rental property and tenants is difficult if you live far away, or have a busy schedule. Having a property manager visit your rental in the work hours can dissuade burglars who might be monitoring the house. Property managers, however, have many other roles, like screening potential tenants, maintaining the location, collecting the rent, and performing all those time-consuming tasks associated with renting out a residential property.
Don’t show off
Blinds and curtains that are open day and night not only compromise your tenants’ privacy but also give potential burglars a clear display of the valuables contained inside. In a non-lease period, keep the blinds and curtains down, and when you get tenants signed, advise them to do the same. When criminals can’t see through your window, they can never be sure whether anyone’s at home, especially in the afternoon when most burglaries occur.
Upgrade exterior lighting
While no burglar wants to find himself in the spotlight with a wrecking bar in his hands, that single 40W bulb in a beautiful lantern-shaped fixture doesn’t pose much of a deterrence. Augment your aesthetic outdoor lighting options with a few motion-actuated floodlights aimed at strategic spots – the entrance from the street, garage door, backdoor, far end of the backyard, and any outdoor structure a trespasser might use for concealment. Some of them are solar-powered, so you don’t need to hire an electrician to wire them to the building’s switchboard, while they keep on working even in the case of a power blackout.
Renting your residential property can be a lucrative real estate investment. However, in order to avoid security issues and ensure a steady flow of rents for years to come, you need to invest in keeping your rental safe from unlawful entry, as well. The security measures listed here can also make your rental property more attractive to potential tenants.
This article has been contributed by Tracey Clayton.