As a landlord, taking steps to improve security on your properties will help tenants, contribute to neighborhood safety and, ultimately, improve your property values. There are several inexpensive, low-tech measures you can take to improve your rental home's security. In addition, many landlords are opting to install security systems in their rentals to further protect their tenants and the property.
Simple Security Measures
Many of the basic steps you take to ensure your own home is safe are also key for your rental properties. ForDummies.com offers some great, practical tips for beefing up rental property security. They include making sure all the windows and doors have secure, operable locks, installing good exterior lighting to deter crime, and making sure bushes are trimmed to eliminate hiding spots for criminals.
Security Technologies for Property Safety
Security systems in rental properties have become more common as costs have come down and new features such as wireless products have emerged. Landlords often opt to install systems when upgrading units, especially if the neighborhood has had issues with break-ins.
Figuring out whether to use wireless or hard-wired systems and choosing among the myriad of available options requires analyzing the needs of your property and tenants. Consumer Technology site CNET recently ran reviews of the latest in do-it-yourself security systems. Major companies that offer professional installation and monitoring are also widely reviewed on the internet. Just be sure to choose a trustworthy, independent source or check with other landlords in the area. Many security systems also come with home monitoring and sophisticated apps that allow tenants to view their property, lock doors, or turn lights on from afar, although often at additional cost.
Because security systems tend to make properties more attractive to tenants, landlords may be able to factor the cost of the unit and any monthly fee into the rent. Other times, landlords may install the system and leave it to the tenant to activate it and pay associated fees.
Security and Property Management
Even with top-of-the-line security systems, there is no substitute for in-person, regular monitoring of your property and its surroundings. Perform frequent examinations of the property and the surrounding neighborhood to look for potential problems, both when you have tenants and when it is vacant. In addition, cultivate good relationships with neighbors so they will contact you if there are security issues that require your attention.
Property management companies can help by monitoring on your behalf and using their expert eyes to spot potential problems and solutions. Professional managers with local expertise would also be familiar with crime trends and the best measures to combat common local problems. They also have experience working with various security systems and installers, which enables them to advise you on the pros and cons of each and help you determine the most cost-effective solution for your property.