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How to Keep a Rental Property Secure

Posted by Mike Jordan on September 29, 2017
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Investing in real estate is a rewarding experience, often quite profitable. It gives you the ability to reap a monthly cash revenue with little to no action on your part and gives you the keys to a future financial freedom. However, rental property investing comes with its fair share of complications. One in particular stands high above the rest is burglary.

According to the Department of Justice, burglaries are a bigger risk for properties which are utilized as rentals than they are for homes considered occupied by the homeowner. When rental properties are vacant they are often target for burglaries.

“Households living in rental properties experienced higher rates of burglary when no one was home and while the residence was occupied than those who owned or were in the process of buying their homes,” stated the report listed on the Department of Justice’s website.

While the direct cause of this is yet to be determined, it is an enormous concern that investment property owners need to be aware of. Investment properties which display a trend of home invasion or burglary begin to lose value and can be hard to rent out, so it is vital to place a high urgency on securing your rental property, whether occupied or vacant.

Here’s a few tips on securing your rental investment property!

Main Entry Security

When you take ownership of a property and when change tenants, you should always change the locks. This helps to avoid any previous owners and/or tenants from having access to the property.

While swapping out the locking mechanisms, take the opportunity to select a high quality, highly rated model. When it comes to the deadbolt, opt to go with a double-cylinder deadbolt.

Barriers are another great way to help secure the main entrances of the property. According to FBI data, over seventy percent of break-ins are carried out by entering through the front door. Standard door frames are often vulnerable when excessive stress is placed on them, making it easy to kick in or ram in. Adding a barrier, such as a metal door bar lock which slides horizontally across the middle of the door, can help reduce this stress and make the door stronger. Selecting heavier doors and door frames during the rehabbing of the property can also help prevent any entry through the main entrances of the home.

Nobody’s Home

When the property is vacant, it is an open call to thieves and vandals. On the same note, even if the property is rented it can be a target of home invasion or burglary when the tenants appear to be gone for some time.

A large and inexpensive deterrent to this rampant crime is make the home appear as if the residents are home, even if they are not. A car parked in the driveway, lights on inside, or an audible radio or television can help discourage burglars from pursuing your property as their target. Other similar practices include ensuring mail and newspapers are collected on a regular basis.

If your tenant is going to be away from the property for a prolonged period of time, encourage them to take these same steps to help limit the attraction the house poses to criminals.

Limit Concealment Options

When casing houses, burglars look for houses that offer potential cover, such as bushes, trees, or other concealing features. Keeping the property adequately landscaped not only provides an eye-catching appeal to potential tenants, but helps to minimize the chance that a burglar will be able to use the surrounding landscaping to hide during the raid.

Try to keep bushes, trees, and any large-scale lawn features a respectable distance away from the house. The more open space you have surrounding the home, the less likely it is that a burglar will risk being seen crossing the property.

If you feel you must have bushes or shrubbery near the house, ensure they are trimmed and keep them below three feet to avoid any concealment uses. Below windows, opt for low but dense thorny plants. Adding motion-activated lights to the property will also help deter any criminal activity.

Window Security

When it comes to window security, it seems pretty standard. Most homes are fitted with windows that have internal locking mechanism that can only be opened from the inside. However, these latches are simple and, often, a burglar will break the glass and reach in to unlock.

You can install additional locking mechanism on the windows that are visible to the outside. Those with thumbscrews are often preferred as they take some time to undo and can be hard to utilize from an outside angle. Other options include adding window sensors that will sound an alarm if a window is meddled with.

Security System

Installing a security system is a great tool in deterring any burglary of your property. There are a variety of options available on the market today, allowing you to select a system that works with your budget and needs. Whether you opt to have a well-known, large company install your system or you decide to go with a DIY unit, most systems today are able to be connected to a remote access, such as a smart phone or tablet.

Not only are security systems a great theft-deterrent, but they’re a selling point for tenants.

As burglaries are heightened in properties utilized as rental units, securing a property—whether occupied or vacant—should be a vital point of focus for any property owner throughout the life of the investment. Limiting the allure of the property to any potential burglars is never fool-proof, but with these simple tips can be achievable.

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