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For Landlords and Managers: Top Ways to Keep Your Tenants and Buildings Safe

cctv-1144371_640Your rental property may be one of the most important assets in your financial portfolio. As a landlord, keeping your property and tenants safe should be your first priority. Below is a checklist of security measures you can take to secure your building.

Perform a Security Audit

Before making any improvements to the security features of your property, you should conduct a thorough security audit. Tour the interior and exterior of the property and and answer the following questions:

  • Are there any areas that are at risk of vandalism, forced entry or other criminal activity?
  • Are there any dark hiding places?
  • Does the property look well-maintained?
  • If you had no keys, how long would it take you to get into the property?

Inspect the property a few times a year, and make security changes and repairs as needed.

Secure the Property

The following are specific security steps you can take to is deter intruders.

General security:

  • Check fences and gates for gaps.
  • Store any tools or gardening equipment.
  • Maintain shrubbery, and make sure trees are pruned regularly.
  • Store any exterior items that could be used by a burglar to gain entry to cause damage to the building, such as picnic tables, chairs, planks of wood, decorating elements, etc.
  • Coat drainpipes with anti-climb paint.
  • Ensure the front door is visible and well-lit.
  • Consider installing a high-definition camera surveillance system, such as the one offered by Mammoth Surveillance Camera Systems. In a 2013 study on the effectiveness of outdoor camera and other surveillance equipment in preventing break-ins, the Alarm Industry Research Educational Foundation found that 60% of the 422 incarcerated burglars they surveyed would be deterred by the presence of an alarm system.

Interior:

  • Fit blinds for the windows, or hang curtains. Ask tenants to open and close the window coverings regularly.
  • Install a key box. Ask tenants to keep it locked, and request that no keys be left around exterior doors.
  • Install and ask your tenants to use timer lights.
  • Install a safety door for your tenants.
  • Ask your tenants not to keep valuable items where they can be easily seen.
  • Photograph your property and its contents.
  • Consider additional security features on the ground level of the building, such as window locks or bars.

Exterior:

  • Install double-glazed doors and windows with locks. Not only are double-glazed windows and doors more secure, they can help reduce your energy bill by up to 12%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Install a five-lever mortice or rim automatic deadbolt on the front door.
  • Fit metal strips or reinforcements around the front door.
  • Make sure exterior doors ad frames are secure.
  • Install a chain or hydraulic arm on the front door.
  • Install a peep hole in the front door.
  • Ask your tenants to keep personal items out of reach of the mail slot, if one is installed in the front door.
  • Install rack bolts and a mortice sash lock on the back door. If the door is glazed, fit laminated glass on it from the inside.
  • Ensure pet access doors are locked when not in use or if there are no animals living in the house.
  • Ask tenants not to leave spare keys outside.

Fire prevention:

  • Install government-approved smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check all electrical wiring to make sure it meets fire regulations.
  • Have the property inspected regularly to make sure you’re not violating any fire codes. Each tenant should have two methods of exiting the unit in the event of a fire.
  • Make sure your tenants have a fire plan in place. Tenants should have your phone number as well as phone numbers for the police, the fire department, their utility companies, and the poison control centre.

Regular & Preventive Property Maintenance Tips

The following tips will help you attract quality tenants and keep your building crime-free over the long term.

  • Keep corridors and other common areas clean. Tenants expect shared spaces to be well maintained.
  • Be consistent with trash removal. You want your site to look it’s best at all times. There are many “valet” trash removal services that provide discreet trash pick-ups on a pre-arranged schedule.
  • Repair and replace appliances. Old, appliances pose a safety and damage risk.
  • Consider hiring a property maintenance company. Hiring professional staff is a good idea if you own or manage multiple properties.

A secure, well-maintained property is less likely to be targeted by burglars, vandals, and undesirable tenants. Take the time to complete the above security checklist, and invest money in making your property more secure.

Eugene has been working in the computer networking & security field since 2007. He has designed thousands of security camera systems across many verticals. Eugene has experience with companies ranging from the fortune 500 to small boutiques. Eugene currently resides in Connecticut and can deploy a surveillance camera system anywhere in the United States from the CT office.

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