Even though more tenants are working from home than ever before, your rental security system should continue to be top of mind. Especially if tenants—to prevent a little stir-craziness—decide to take a long roadtrip to get out of town for a little bit.
Normally, break-ins occur during the day when everyone is at work or at night when everyone is out for an evening on the town. However, with a larger remote workforce and nights-out canceled for the foreseeable future, the chances of finding an empty house are largely reduced. Yet, that doesn’t mean break-ins are.
About 41% of burglars claim that break-ins are mostly crimes of opportunity and 83% of burglars say they look to see if a home has an alarm system before making a decision about whether or not to break in. Because of this, not having a home security system on your rental increases the likelihood of it being robbed by 300% (Home Security Facts).
Importantly, because renters are more likely to be robbed than homeowners, you should also suggest or require your tenants to have renters insurance. Renters insurance can cover loss, damage, or theft of property in case a break-in does occur.
When it comes to outfitting your rental with security, make sure you research all the bells and whistles (literally and figuratively) that are cost-effective and efficient ways to secure your property.
Locks + Deadbolts
The front door is often considered the first line of defense when it comes to preventing break-ins. Whether it’s time for lock turnover or not, upgrading your rental’s locking system is often the first step to fortifying the fortress.
Importantly, don’t rely on the door handle lock to be the only safety measure on the front door. Having at least one deadbolt is critical to providing the proper security to the entire door frame.
Having a robust lock and deadbolt can help deter criminals and provide more peace of mind to renters but, unfortunately, a locked door won’t always stop a determined criminal.
Alarm systems can be useful in not only deterring criminals who manage to bust in a door but also alerting tenants to their presence. Depending on your budget and needs, alarm systems range from high-tech professional services or DIY-install magnetic sensor alarms that you can purchase from Wal-Mart for less than $10.
If you’re looking for something a little more tech-sophisticated, smart security systems like Google’s Nest Secure promise a “whole new kind of security” with features an alarm, keypad, motion sensor, monitoring from an app, easy arm/disarm system, and compatibility with Google Assistant built in.
SimpliSafe is another classic security system—ranked best overall for renters—with easy setup and the ability to self-monitor or pay for professional monitoring.
External Security Cameras
Installing security cameras is one of the most important ways you can update your rental’s security system.
Nowadays, security cameras are pretty standard fare when it comes to protecting your property or providing additional safety measures. They can be useful in deterring criminal behavior but also instrumental in providing proof of crime or even capturing the criminals, should a crime unfortunately occur.
It is important to note, however, that there are guidelines to follow when it comes to installing security cameras on a rental property to ensure that a tenant’s right to privacy is not infringed upon. Be sure to research your state’s policies regarding the installation of security cameras.
Smart Video Doorbells
There are several ways in which the smart amenity trend can also be helpful when it comes to upgrading your rental’s security system—and one way is with smart video doorbells. It’s a small thing, but especially in multifamily dwellings where there is one doorbell to ring them all, you’re not always sure if someone is buzzing for you or trying to deliver a package for the apartment below you. Video doorbells are excellent for being able to screen buzzer-ringers, without opening the door to potential danger.
Although it may seem silly, simply sticking a sign in the front yard, a “Smile, You’re On Camera” placard on the front door, or sticker in the windshield can be effective criminal deterrents. As mentioned earlier, 83% of burglars scope out a property to see if it has a security system to determine if they’ll break-in or not: Installing a few signs that call attention to your security set up could drastically reduce the chances of an opportunistic crime.
Security signage is generally affordable whether you purchase online or in-store—sites like Amazon have them priced at $10 for 2 signs.
Upgrade Your Rental Security System
When it comes to making safety and security upgrades to your rental, there are a lot of easy options out there that can be self-installed, cost-effective, and valuable when it comes to protecting your renters and rental property. If you’re looking to make security upgrades on an occupied unit, discuss with the tenant directly any safety concerns they may have before investing in a security system. Their insight can help you understand security issues or weaknesses the unit has that you may not be aware of.
If you’re looking to install a security system on a vacant unit, it might be worthwhile investing in an entire outfitted system—especially one that comes with a sign to stick in the front yard and full-coverage property insurance. As several landlords have unfortunately discovered, a locked door doesn’t always stop a determined criminal—but it does mean you’ll have to replace a busted door.