Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by Lilly Miller
Regardless if renting properties is your primary source of income or a side one, your rental is an important financial asset. This means that keeping it secure is no trivial task but an undertaking that should be taken seriously and approached strategically.
Otherwise, it’s not just your belongings and your tenants that could be in jeopardy, it is your reputation as well since the word that you are not taking your tenants’ safety seriously could get around easily. This could result in reputable tenants avoiding your rental and you having to lower your rent in order to attract any tenants. Having in mind the importance of your rental’s safety, here are a couple of recommendations for you to consider:
1. Get an insurance policy
When an accident happens, although we couldn’t have predicted it, we are usually left wondering whether we could have done more to prepare ourselves. Instead of dreading an accident, it is better to think in advance and take out an insurance policy to have peace of mind. However, you need to read the small print to know exactly what is covered by the policy or you can be unpleasantly surprised in case something suddenly happens. When it comes to causes of property destruction, a typical policy usually covers fire, tornado or hurricane, hail or theft, while floor damage and earthquake are separate policies.
2. Install a home security system
A home security system is an addition which will also delight your tenants since they would feel their belongings are more protected when they are not at home. These systems don’t only provide protection against theft but can also include carbon monoxide detectors and remote surveillance. Based on your budget and needs, you can opt for basic packages offering single-service theft monitoring, mid-range packages which allow mobile access and include notifications or complete packages which also encompass 24/7 monitoring by a person. Providing that your rental isn’t a luxury apartment, perhaps one of the first two options should suit your needs best but both will greatly contribute to your safety measures.
3. Improve door and window security
If your rental has doors which could be opened with just a slight push of the shoulder, then you need to work on improving that as soon as possible. Thieves rarely barge into random houses, but instead, they observe the tenants’ habits as well as the state of the points of entry. First and foremost, you should remove any tree branches that might reach the window to make sure no thief can climb them. The next step is to install sturdy entry doors which will increase the overall feeling of safety, and also improve insulation. Burglars’ activities depend on quick and silent entries and exits but with these improved doors, they will not manage any of these things.
4. Add external lighting
If the neighborhood is not illuminated enough, you yourself can improve the situation around your rental to prevent your tenants from having to walk and park in the dark. Ample outdoor lighting will deter any unwanted visitors as well. Even if a house is empty, burglars won’t be so enthusiastic about approaching a well-lit house for fear of being noticed by neighbors. Additionally, if you install motion-sensor lights, you will ensure that no unexpected visitor comes near the rental because if they get caught lurking around the house, they will have some serious explaining to do. Your tenants don't have to worry about their safety because if they hear anything rustling outside, they would also be able to see what is going on and react in time if need be.
5. Screen prospective tenants
Property owners most often worry about burglars, fire, and earthquakes but they often forget to look closer to home — at the tenants. No matter how good a judge of the character you might be, some people have spent years perfecting their skills as con artists, so you might find yourself wondering how such a nice couple could have eloped with your valuables. Screen your tenants before you decide to rent them your property to ensure they are reliable and that they had no prior issues with paying their dues. Through different software, you can learn about their credit reports and whether they have any criminal background. Also, if you rent more than one property, it would be useful to create a database of applicants, just so you know you covered everything about everybody.
Play it safe for peace of mind
Since your rental is an important item of your financial interest, its safety cannot be disregarded. Your strategy and approach will depend on your budget and wishes but taking care of it is obligatory both in terms of your tenants’ and your own benefit.
Adding external lighting and installing strong doors will make any burglar change their mind while a security system will bring peace of mind to you and your tenants alike. However, don’t forget that not all tenants are reliable so thorough research unto their history is necessary to make sure you are not dealing with a criminal. It is also advisable to be prepared for any sudden accidents which means that an insurance policy is a prudent addition.
Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. She loves everything about home decor, art history, and baking, and she shares a home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.