It’s a sad state of affairs that, most times, the security of a rental property is not on par with an owner-occupied property. The reason is straightforward. The landlord might be more concerned about the property’s security and safety rather than the tenants. It might seem cold-hearted, but that’s the way it usually is.
The tenants might not be willing to pay for additional security additions to a property. They might have to leave at a month’s notice. So between this conflict of interest, the security of a rental property might not get the attention that every property deserves.
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, the safety and security of a property and the people living within should be your prime concern.
Rental Property Security Tips for Landlords
Let’s look at how you should secure your rental property.
You can do nothing to protect your property from the outside if there is a threat from within. Make sure you screen your tenants before you allow them on your property. Especially if you have a multifamily or an apartment building, making sure all your tenants are good, law-abiding citizens will make the rental property safe for you and your other tenants.
If you rent a commercial property to a business entity with multiple people, you cannot run background checks on every one of them. You can make it clear in your contract that if any criminal activity task occurs on your property, as the landlord, you wouldn’t be liable for it.
Physical safety measures might make up the bulk of your rental property security. Deadbolts on all doors, security cameras on the entrances, and heavy-duty doors are just some things you can do to make your property more secure from intruders and miscreants.
When installing a security camera in a rental property, it’s essential to leave the inside alone. Even if you explain to your tenants it’s for their safety and gives them access to the feed; most people won’t like security cameras inside their homes or offices unless they have absolute control over them. It’s best to cover the perimeter; even that should be discreet.
A simple alarm system can also add a lot to a building or a home’s security. Also, make sure that there are enough lighting fixtures on the outside of the property. Proper illumination discourages shady characters from hanging around your property.
Having a proper boundary, sturdy outside doors, and grilled windows is also smart. These physical barriers will prevent anyone from entering the building and are usually a one-time investment. Security guards are also a good idea for large rental properties. You may decide on a fair split with your tenants about their salary.
It might seem like an added expense, but it’s a long-term investment in property security and will add to your property’s attraction.
Coordinating With Your Tenants
A lot of it will depend upon the tenants themselves. It would be best if you established a clear understanding with one another because it’s your property, and they’re living (or working) space. Proper security will benefit you both.
It’s best to keep an open mind about the cost of safety measures. If you can’t afford security cameras, but the tenants are able and willing to do so, you should cooperate and compensate them by deducting it from the rent.
It’s also imperative to review some basic security tactics with your tenants. They should know what to do in case of emergencies and crimes. Making sure your rental property is a safe space will be easier if you and your tenants are equally invested.
How Tenants Can Ensure Rental Property Security
Like landlords, the tenants bear a lot of responsibility for their property security. They will be the ones most affected by a crime on the property. There are some simple steps tenants can take to ensure the safety of a rental property.
Wire-free Security Cameras
Security cameras can be your eyes and ears even when you are asleep. You might only have to provide security inside if the landlord already has cameras outside the property. But you can still install security cameras outside (with the landlord’s permission).
It’s best if you go with wire-free security cameras. They can be installed with the least modification to the property, and you can easily take them down and reinstall them in your next rental property. You can get a decent pair of indoor and outdoor security cameras for under $120.
A lot of crimes are crimes of opportunity. A vandal or a thief might strike at your property if they feel it won’t pose much of a threat. It takes most of the physical security measures to deter that. But they premeditate some crimes. They take planning and surveillance. So it would be best if you learned to stay vigilant.
Keep an eye out for any unknown people hanging around your property or a vehicle repeatedly parked near your property for certain hours of the day. These are just two of the many good vigilance habits you can pick up, and they will help keep you and your family protected, no matter which rental property you are in.
Small Security Measures
If they strap you for cash or you don’t want to invest too much on a rental property, keep an eye out for cheap security-related devices that can be easily installed and taken out of your rental property when you move out. They can be key-chain alarms, proximity sensors, and even fake cameras. For most of them, you might not even require permission from the landlord.
Communicating With the Landlord
Keeping your landlord in the loop is crucial for your rental property’s security. It’s also vital that you are familiar with your rental contract and the security responsibilities of tenants and landlords in your state. For example, you might not even be allowed to install a deadbolt in your backdoor without informing your landlord, as it may bar them access to their property.
Similarly, you might ask them to remove the camera installed in the hallway and monitor your apartment door. Security and privacy have a way of butting heads in such scenarios, so you should have your priorities in order.
Safety and security is a fundamental human rights. Similarly, individuals, families, and businesses should take care of their end of security measures.
Every property should have adequate security. If it’s a rental, landlords and tenants should work together to secure the property.
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