For a landlord, there’s nothing worse than getting a phone call from police in the middle of the night telling you that there’s been a break-in on your rental property. For tenants, this experience can be jarring and traumatizing as well.
The safety and security of your rental property will be a big deciding factor for new tenants. If they see windows or doors with broken locks, then you will have a hard time signing good, long-term tenants who will take good care of your property.
Tenants won’t want to stay for very long in a property where they feel unsafe, but you don’t always have to break the bank installing the latest high-tech security system. Here’s how to make your tenants feel safer in your rental properties, no matter what your budget level is.
Change locks for every new tenant
The last thing any new tenant wants is for the previous tenant to return to the property, open the door using a copied key and ransack the place. It’s not unusual for tenants to copy their keys and give them to trusted friends and family members for emergencies, but if your relationship with your previous tenant ended badly, then there’s always the chance that the previous tenant or someone he or she knows could return and cause trouble for you.
To prevent this, change the locks on all your doors every time a new tenant signs the lease. This will give you both peace of mind. Your new tenant won’t have to worry about any other keys floating around out there, and you’ll feel confident that only a select number of people can enter your property.
While you’re at it, inspect all your doors and ensure the handles and locks work properly. Replace any cracked or broken glass panes, if applicable, and tighten the hinges if needed. If the door is looking a little worse for wear, replace it completely.
Inspect window locks and replace any broken locks
Most burglars want to make as little noise as possible, and busting through a glass window is an easy way to alert the whole house to an intruder. Still, thieves might just as well seize the opportunity if they spot an unlocked window or believe the window break won’t be loud enough to attract attention.
While you’re attending to your doors, check all of the windows on your rental property and make sure they can all lock properly. Pay special attention to those windows that are low to the ground or in an unused part of the house at night, such as the kitchen or mudroom. These areas are usually far enough away and deserted at night so that if the glass breaks, other members of the household won’t notice.
Inspect both the inside and outside of all your windows. If any of them need to be replaced, get it done before the next tenant moves in.
Most tenants can figure out how to lock and unlock their windows, but it never hurts to have someone show them how anyway. At Atlas Lane, our Property Asset Managers and HomePros teams work to educate all tenants about how their new home functions, including window and door locks.
Add motion-sensor outdoor lighting
The number one thing that most criminals look for when deciding which home to target is the ease of access. The harder you make it for a burglar to slip up to your home and break-in, the less likely that anyone will choose to mess with your property.
Having motion-sensor outdoor lighting around your property will deter a lot of crime. Not only does outdoor lighting shine a spotlight on the intruder, but it also alerts everyone in the house that something or someone is lurking outside. While it’s always possible that a raccoon or possum might set off the light, it will be a negligible annoyance that most tenants won’t worry about.
Add motion-sensor lighting to your back door and garage entrances, especially if the garage is detached. Since these areas are usually unoccupied at night, criminals tend to target them when they want to break into a home. A motion-sensor light will likely scare them off.
Don’t forget good lighting in the front of the home. Motion-sensor light probably won’t work well here, but you can set outdoor lights on a timer to go on and off, regardless of if your tenant is home. This will keep the home well-lit, and criminals will have a hard time determining who is home.
Install an alarm system
A good alarm system can put tenants at ease in their new home and help you get some restful sleep at night. Most systems connect to local police and fire stations, alerting them to a problem right away. If your property should be the target of a break-in, an alarm system might limit the damage and give the authorities a better chance of catching the culprit.
The biggest drawback, however, is that these systems can be expensive to install and difficult to use, especially for new tenants. Think of the cost as an investment in your rental property or as an insurance policy. In fact, having a system might save you money on your home insurance. You’ll feel less anxiety about your property’s safety, and your tenants will also feel secure in their new home.
While you may be able to master your new alarm system, it’s not always easy for new tenants to do the same. You don’t want a false alarm going off, and our Resident Expert and HomePros teams know this. Our teams master the ins and outs of your property, including your alarm system, and we’ll teach your new tenants how to work it effectively. If they ever have questions, they can come to us for a refresher course.
Tenants who feel unsafe in their rental properties will be looking to get out fast, and they won’t hesitate to break a lease agreement to protect themselves. The safer your property feels, the safer your tenants will feel in their lease.
Ready to get started with Atlas Lane? Learn more about how our HomePros help with tenant education here.