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8 Security Tips to Help Protect Your Rental Unit - And Your Tenants

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When you’re at home, you don’t want that gnawing feeling that your place can get broken into at any time. And as a landlord, your job involves a lot more than providing a roof and walls to your tenants. Your property should also be safe and secure, a place where your tenants can relax and feel at home.

Implementing security measures is a must for landlords. But don’t worry, it’s not all expensive gadgets and technology, there are a number of simple yet proactive measures that you can take that can help to promote safety and security at your rental. 

Why Should Landlords Secure Their Rental Units?

The FBI reports that, on average, over one million burglaries occur each year in the United States, with 62.8% of those occurring in residential properties. 

Not all property crimes are the same. But no matter what form it takes, you can be sure that the experience can be traumatizing, cause property damage, as well as cost time and money. 

As a landlord, it’s your job to provide a habitable home for your tenants. This doesn’t mean that you need to splash out on state of the art smart security systems, but it does mean taking reasonable steps to help make your rental safe. 

Here are the top reasons why you should secure your rental property:

  • For Tenant Safety and Satisfaction

Ensuring the safety and well-being of your tenants is not just a moral obligation but also a smart business move. Creating a safe living environment can foster tenant satisfaction and in some cases, may encourage them to renew their lease as well. When tenants feel secure, they may also be happy to recommend your rental unit to others when they leave, helping to lower your marketing and tenant turnover costs.

  • To Help Protect Your Property

After pouring your hard-earned cash into your investment, the last thing you want is to let it become a target. A property that isn’t secure is at a higher risk of theft, vandalism, and other forms of property damage. Securing your property means lower maintenance and repair costs, fewer insurance claims, and ultimately, higher profitability.

  • To Help Keep the Occupants Safe

Boosting your property’s safety features can help mitigate risks and reduce the chance of incidents such as break-ins or accidents.

You may have to shell out some cash at the beginning if you’re taking a proactive approach to secure your property. However, these costs will be much smaller than the costs that you could incur resulting from losses or injuries that happen at your rental due to a lack of security measures.

  • To Help to Lower Vacancy Rates

Security-conscious tenants actively seek rental units with adequate security measures in place. A safe and secure unit increases its appeal and may even help to reduce vacancies

  • To Boost Your Reputation 

Positive word-of-mouth spreads quickly, attracting qualified tenants and helping you stand out in a competitive rental market.

Want more tips on how to be a great landlord? Check out How to Be an Incredible Landlord: Tips for Success.

8 Tips on Protecting Your Rental Unit and Tenants

Here are eight ways that you can help to secure your rental units:

  1. Secure External Doors

Here’s a surprising statistic: 34% of burglars enter a home through the front door. A solid foundation for any security system begins with reliable locks, so make sure to invest in high-quality locks for all exterior doors of your rental unit.

Deadbolt locks enhance security by making it harder for intruders to pick or force their way in. Encourage your tenants to use the deadbolts regularly, and consider providing an extra set of keys for emergencies.

In addition to deadbolts, consider installing keyless entry systems. These systems eliminate the need for physical keys and provide an added layer of convenience and security. Keyless entry systems use access codes or key cards, which can be easily managed and changed when needed. This way, you can maintain control over who has access to the property, and tenants won’t have to worry about lost or duplicated keys.

  1. Consider Installing Security Cameras and Alarm Systems

When planning a break-in, 83% of burglars will look for signs of an alarm first. More than half said they would give up if they saw signs.

The presence of security cameras and alarms can significantly enhance the security of your rental unit. Visible cameras act as a deterrent, while hidden ones capture valuable evidence in case of an incident. 

The best places to put cameras are entry points, parking areas, and other vulnerable spots. This helps you monitor activity around your property and ward off potential criminals. When installing security cameras, make it clear that the cameras are for security purposes and explain how the footage will be used.

Remember that cameras should be placed outdoors, and installing indoor cameras without the tenants’ knowledge or consent is an invasion of privacy. However, you can educate them about the benefits of indoor cameras or security systems and let them decide if they are comfortable with indoor security cameras.

Burglar alarms are another valuable addition to your security system. Alarms alert tenants and neighbors in the event of a break-in, prompting swift action. Consider installing alarms on doors and windows. Regularly test the alarms to ensure they work well and be sure that tenants know how to arm and disarm the system.

If security alarms are not something you have the money to invest in now, consider adding alarm stickers or signs on your property to act as a potential deterrent.

  1. Secure Windows and Sliding Doors

Windows and sliding doors are common entry points for intruders. Installing window locks, security films, or window bars can strengthen the security of windows.

Window locks add an extra layer of protection by making it harder for intruders to open the windows. Security film, a material applied to the windows to make them more resistant to shattering, makes it difficult for burglars to gain access. Window bars are more visually prominent, but they offer a high level of security and block entry. They may be an option for properties with entry points that could be accessed easily, such as ground-level windows along a high-traffic street.

Sliding doors should have a reliable locking mechanism and a bar or rod in the track to prevent forced entry. Regularly inspect the condition of windows and doors, and promptly repair or replace any damaged or broken parts. Additionally, consider reinforcing door glass panels with impact-resistant materials or laminated glass. These measures can make it more difficult for intruders to break into your rental unit and add a layer of protection. 

  1. Use Controlled Access Systems

Controlled access systems can effectively restrict unauthorized entry into your rental unit. This includes using keyless entry systems, intercoms, or access cards. These systems not only enhance security but also offer convenience to your tenants by eliminating the need for physical keys. Keyless entry systems use access codes or key cards, which can be easily changed when needed.

Intercom systems are beneficial for multi-family buildings. They allow tenants to verify visitors before granting them access. Additionally, intercom systems provide an extra layer of security by allowing tenants to communicate with each other and report any suspicious activity.

  1. Install Adequate Lighting

Proper lighting is a simple yet effective way to ward off potential criminals. Ensure that the areas surrounding your rental unit are well-lit to reduce the likelihood of break-ins. Install motion-activated lights near entrances, walkways, and parking areas. Any suspicious activity will trigger the lights, alerting both tenants and neighbors as well as helping to deter burglars. 

  1. Maintain the Landscaping

Trees provide shade and curb appeal to your property, but next to windows, they could present a risk. Unkept bushes and shrubs around the home can also act as hiding spots for intruders.

Enhance your property’s security by ensuring the outdoor areas and gardens are well-kept and properly landscaped. Trim trees and bushes near windows and entrances to eliminate potential hiding spots for intruders. 

In addition, regularly inspect and repair fences, gates, and other physical barriers to ensure they are in good condition as broken fences and gates provide easy access to your property and compromise security. A neat and tidy property shows that the property is well cared for and active, dissuading criminals.

Related: The Importance of Regular Property Inspections: Identifying and Preventing Issues

  1. Encourage a Sense of Community

When it comes to security, the power of the community should never be underestimated. Neighbors serve as an additional layer of protection by providing an extra set of eyes and ears around the area.

Strong communities where neighbors look out for one another and promptly report any suspicious activities can deter criminals and make the neighborhood a less appealing target. 

Engaged neighbors can discuss potential security concerns, share information, and implement neighborhood watch programs. Landlords can strengthen this sense of community by organizing events where neighbors can get to know each other.

  1. Create a Security Protocol

A security protocol may sound over-the-top, but when it comes to security, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Your security protocol doesn’t have to be complicated. It may include things like:

  • Encouraging tenants to always lock all the doors and windows when they’re not home.

  • Giving your tenants a list of emergency and non-emergency numbers to contact in case of incidents or to report suspicious activities.

  • Not allowing tenants to duplicate keys without your knowledge.

  • Scheduling inspection and maintenance of the lighting, landscaping, locks, and alarm systems.

  • Encouraging tenants to swiftly report maintenance issues that affect security, such as broken lights, damaged fences, or malfunctioning locks.

  • Changing the locks whenever a tenant moves out to prevent unauthorized access.

Putting security measures in place provides peace of mind not only to your tenants but also to yourself as a landlord. Knowing that you’ve taken proactive steps to protect your rental unit and tenants alleviates stress and allows you to focus on other responsibilities. The good news is that you don’t have to do everything alone, if you’re struggling to find the time to do everything, you can work with a property management professional to ease your load, freeing up your time and energy to focus on other things. 

Are you looking to outsource your property management? Save time and ensure that your focus is on tasks that will grow your portfolio or make a difference to your bottom line. Learn more about hiring a property manager and outsourcing all of your tasks as a landlord. Or, get started right away with the Renters Warehouse Free Rental Price Analysis.

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