A lot of issues go into a tenant’s choice of rental property, but the great tenants–the ones who take care of their living space and are fiscally and socially responsible–are looking for a few things in particular. One of the biggest factors is safety.
Creating a safe environment for your renters attracts good tenants, and more importantly, means everyone you’re responsible for stays secure. Here’s how you can create that sort of space for your tenants.
Keep up with the neighbourhood
The first way to keep your tenants safe is by staying up-to-date on everything that’s happening in their neighborhood. If there’s a neighborhood watch, join it. If there’s not one, start one. Make sure your neighborhood watch is coordinating with local law enforcement to establish good practices.
Neighborhood watch strategies can include sponsoring cleanups of vacant lots, ensuring everyone knows what to look for and who to call if something looks wrong, and asking people who don’t often leave home to keep an eye on the whole neighborhood.
You should also keep up with the crimes in the neighborhood. Call the police or do some online research to find out where the crimes are happening and which crimes are most common.
You may start to notice patterns that will inform how you set up security systems or cameras. If something serious happens nearby, use your collated tenant contact info from resources like TurboTenant to let everyone know right away.
Maintain your property
Clean, well-manicured property with sensibly placed fixtures and lights doesn’t give thieves and other bad actors a place to hide.
On the other hand, overgrown bushes will allow everyone from petty thieves to peeping toms to watch your tenants through the windows, invading privacy or learning routines prior to planning a crime. Keep these trimmed and away from window sightlines.
If you have outdoor areas with locks, like garages, fences, or sheds, make sure these have sturdy locks and check them regularly to make sure they aren’t rusting away. If window or door locks on the main property need to be fixed, make sure you do it promptly.
Look at where you’re storing trash cans and recycling bins. Are you providing the perfect spot for thieves to a hideout? When you put up privacy fencing between units, double-check that you haven’t created an area where a stalker might be able to keep an eye on a victim.
And one of the simplest ways to deter thieves is simply to make sure you have plenty of well-placed lights across your property. Motion sensor lights in strategic places are always a good idea, and be sure there’s enough clear, bright light for tenants to walk from their cars to their property safely.
Consider security measures
Alarm systems can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee your tenants will even use them. Installing a full alarm system may not be worth the hassle or expense. However, these days you can get much simpler (and less expensive) systems that trigger a message to tenant’s phones if a door or window is breached.
You also have to tread the line carefully between secure and ugly. Bars on the windows can offer security and reassurance in one neighborhood but turn people away in another. Look at what’s standard in your area before making your decision.
Property cameras are another judgment call. Some people think they’re an invasion of privacy, but placement and usage are key. If you place them where they’re clearly a security measure and only use the footage when there’s been an incident, most people will be glad to have them.
Keeping your rental property safe is a legal responsibility, but it’s a moral one as well. More than that, it’s one of the best ways to attract and keep great tenants.