10 Ways to Keep Your Rental Properties Safe and Secure
Published on: Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
If you’ve ever been involved in a neighborhood crime watch effort, you know that common sense and a commitment to safety can go a long way. These same principles apply when thinking about your rental properties, and there are several safety precautions that can protect your property and your tenants from crime.
With that in mind, here are our top safety and security tips that rental property investors should consider:
- Provide ample lighting. For single-family properties, consider motion-activated LED floodlights on the corners of the house. For apartment complexes, make sure front doors, sidewalks and parking lots are well-lit.
- Trim back bushes and trees. All front windows and doors should be visible from the street or parking lot and trees and shrubbery in the backyard should be well-trimmed and away from the property. Don’t give burglars a place to hide.
- Install durable exterior doors with deadbolts. Exterior doors should be made of steel or solid wood that cannot be kicked in easily. Deadbolt locks should extend into the frame at least one inch and include reinforced strike plates.
- Discourage break-ins through sliding-glass doors by placing a wooden dowel in the bottom track or by installing a security bar to keep the door from being forced open. Install an anti-theft device on the latch to prevent prying of the lock. Consider positioning keyed locks at the top and bottom of the door.
- Prevent break-ins through windows with a through-the-frame pin for windows that lift vertically or a dowel for windows that slide horizontally.
- Educate your tenants. Provide literature to each new tenant on how they can avoid becoming a crime victim as well as potential insurance options they might evaluate for additional protection.
- Consider offering a monitored alarm system for an additional monthly fee.
- Check state and city housing codes. Some cities may have ordinances that require property owners to provide specific safety measures. If a crime does occur, a property owner could be liable if he or she failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.
- Fix security breaches immediately. Consider these to be emergency repairs that cannot wait.
- Protect your investment. NOLO, which publishes do-it-yourself legal guides, suggests that property owners make sure their liability insurance policy is adequate to protect against lawsuits stemming from crime and suggests that landlord written promises about security measures be kept to a “truthful minimum.”