One of the most grueling and frightening challenges that comes with being a landlord for a rental property is setting up the security. Whether you’re in charge of a single unit or an entire building, keeping your tenants and their belongings safe and sound isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are several ways you can make sure your home and rental properties are fit to withstand any security challenges that come their way.
1. Recognize Winter Threats
During winter, there are some specific security issues that can put you and your tenants at risk. For starters, people often travel during the winter to escape the cold and to visit loved ones during the holidays. Consequently, criminals often watch for vacant homes during the winter. It’s always a good idea to warn your tenants of these threats so they can take extra precautions.
2. Put Simple Security Measures in Place
Every unit should be equipped with security measures to prevent petty crimes. Strong locks will discourage those trying to break into a property, and it’s always wise to make sure the locks are changed often, particularly in between tenants. It doesn’t cost much to change the locks, but it’s a very important part of keeping your tenants and property safe. It’s also a good idea to use multiple locking methods, like a deadbolt that prevents someone from breaking the door down. Also, frequently check the window locking mechanisms to be sure they’re working properly.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed and checked often to ensure that tenants are safe. Each unit should also have a fire extinguisher that’s inspected monthly.
In addition, installing a security system, surveillance cameras, and even hiring a security guard for larger buildings can help to discourage crime and keep tenants safe. The safer your property is, the more tenants you’ll attract.
3. Update the Security System
You might already have a security system up and running, but it may be time to give it an upgrade. Nowadays, smart home security systems connect all of your security components to create a better experience.
“Your security system should be linked to your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, lighting controls and motion detectors,” Michael Pope, owner of Audio Video Interiors, tells HGTV. According to Pope, connecting these devices to the internet and to each other is the future of technology, and makes it easy for landlords and tenants to keep an eye on their properties.
4. Make It Look Like You’re Always Home
Going on vacation is always fun, but you shouldn’t have to worry about your property while you’re away. As a landlord, help your tenants by making it look like they’re always home. This process involves simple things like collecting tenant mail, shoveling the snow in front of the property, collecting piled up newspapers, and leaving a different light on every night to give the appearance that someone is home.
This only works if the tenant notifies the landlord of their absence first. Stress to your tenants the importance of keeping you in the loop about their vacations so you can take steps to protect your property and their valuables.
5. Automate Your Lighting System
Everything about home security is becoming automated nowadays. Automated lights are a great security feature because exterior lights that illuminate the yard deter crime, since criminals can’t utilize the cover of darkness. In addition, these lighting systems can usually be operated remotely, which means you have control over the interior and exterior lights, even when you’re away. In other words, you have the power to make it look like you’re home, even when you’re not.
According to Carley Knobloch of HGTV, it’s wise to invest in this smart home technology. “Putting some smart light bulbs in street-facing lamps or installing smart curtains lets you control them all via app while you’re away,” Knobloch suggests. “DIY home automation is affordable and easy to install. Put them on a random schedule to make it look like someone’s always home.”
6. Set Up a Lobby Checkpoint in Large Buildings
If you’re in charge of a large building, you face some unique security concerns. It’s difficult to keep track of who’s the tenant and who doesn’t belong. Setting up a checkpoint in the lobby or outside the building makes it easy to distinguish between friend and foe. This checkpoint could be an intercom system and buzzer that requires a tenant to grant visitors admission if they don’t have a key, or it could be a doorman or security station. This checkpoint may sound expensive to develop and maintain, but it’ll be well worth the peace of mind for your tenants.
7. Hire Some Extra Hands
The more people you have roaming your hallways, the more protected your building will be. These extra hands might include a security team to patrol the halls or the outside of the building, or might be a few trustworthy tenants offered a stipend to act as a hall monitor of sorts.
You might also use a community neighborhood watch system in which neighbors keep an eye out for suspicious activity and alerts the authorities if they see anything. There are now systems available that can connect residents who are all part of a watch system. When someone in the community sees something suspicious, they can send out a text alert to everyone, alerting them to be on guard.
8. Go Over Safety and Security Concerns with Tenants
There’s no better way to keep your properties secure than by alerting your tenants of any security concerns. When you open up a constant stream of communication, tenants will feel safer knowing that you’re doing as much as you can to protect them from intruders and other security concerns. Even if you have few resources, you can give your tenants the peace of mind of knowing that someone is keeping an eye on the property.
Let Green Residential Take Care of the Security for You
There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being a landlord, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Green Residential can take care of the security aspect and more, and remove some of your stress. We’ve been serving the Houston area for over 30 years, and we can serve you too. For more information about the services we provide, contact us today!