No one wants to feel unsafe in their own home. Renters rely on their landlords to keep the property as safe as possible. As a landlord, you want your tenants to know that security is a top priority for you. Here are nine ways to make your rental property more secure.
Lighting can be one of the easiest ways to prevent crime. You need to have the proper lighting installed inside of and outside of your property.
- Indoor Lights: You want to make sure all hallways and stairwells are brightly lit. These lights should always be on. Replace burnt out bulbs immediately.
- Outdoor Lights: This includes lighting in both the front and back of your property. It is up to you whether you want the lights to remain on or if you want them to be motion activated. You can do a mix of both. For example, the lights on the front porch can always be on, but the light that illuminates the driveway can be motion activated.
You want to make sure all entry and exit doors from the property and from the tenants’ apartments are properly secured.
- Door Construction: All entry and exit doors at your rental property should be made of a solid, heavy-duty material, such as steel or wood. You should try not to use doors with any type of glass which can be easily broken by criminals looking to gain access to the property.
- Deadbolt Locks: In addition to a standard lock, any entrance or exit door should be equipped with a deadbolt lock. This will make it more difficult for a criminal to break into the property.
- Chain Locks: In addition to the deadbolt locks, the doors that lead to the tenants’ apartments should have chain locks on them. This will allow the tenant to crack open the door and still have extra protection with the chain.
- Peepholes: For increased security, tenants’ doors should also have a peephole, which can allow them to see who is outside without having to open the door.
- Intercom System: If you own a multifamily property, you may want to consider having an intercom system installed. This will allow the tenant to communicate with someone at the front door without having to let them inside the building. The tenant can buzz people into the building whom he or she trusts.
Doors are not the only way criminals can enter a property. You must make sure all windows to the property are secure as well.
- Locks- All windows should have working locks. Even if the unit is on the third floor, it is important for locks to work so that no one can enter through the fire escape.
- Security Bars- You could consider adding security bars to windows on the first floor. This will obviously affect the aesthetic appeal of your property, so it is up to you if you think your tenants and prospective tenants would view this negatively or positively.
Thorough Tenant Screening
Crime in a rental property is not only committed by outsiders. Sometimes, the tenants are the ones who are performing criminal acts, such as robbery, assault or drug dealing. Performing background checks on all tenants can help you uncover if the individual has a criminal past. These checks can help you determine if the tenant is a threat to the safety and security of other tenants at the property.
For increased security, you can consider installing security cameras at your rental property. This option may make more sense if your rental property is a multi-family, so that more tenants will benefit from this additional cost. These cameras can be placed at the front entrance of the property, the back entrance of the property, in common areas, in stairwells, in hallways and anywhere else you deem necessary. You cannot place these cameras in tenants' apartments.
Remove Obstructions From Entrances
You want to make sure there are no places for crooks to hide around your property. Make sure there are no obstructions around the entrances to the property that could threaten tenants’ safety. This could include removing large shrubs which may surround the doorway and block the view from the street.
Post Emergency Numbers
You should post emergency numbers on the back of tenants’ doors and on a common area bulletin board. This allows easy access in case they need to make a quick call. Emergency numbers could include numbers of the local police department, fire department and, of course, your emergency contact number.
You can have a security alarm system, such as ADT, wired into all the apartments. The tenant can decide if he or she wants to actually pay the monthly fee and subscribe to the monitoring service.
This option only makes sense if you have a larger complex of properties, for example, 25 units or more. It would be pretty silly to hire a security guard to monitor a two unit property. Seeing the presence of a security guard could help deter criminal activities and increase the safety at your property.