As a landlord, you have a considerable responsibility for your rental property safety, especially during the seasonal period.
Tenants want to feel safe and secure in their home and that is down to the landlord. As well as protecting your tenants, increasing the protection of your property will also help for future tenants, increasing the value and reducing the risk of vandalism and theft. Rental property safety is paramount, but how can you as a landlord enhance the security of your properties?
Today we are providing 12 tips to keep your properties secure.
One of the first things to check when renting your property is the safety of the external doors. You may choose to install new secure doors which are made from solid, heavy-duty material, which will often lower your insurance premiums too. You should also consider the locking mechanisms which can also lower premiums.
Other ways to improve door security will be by using deadbolt locks, making it harder to break into the property. For peace of mind for the tenants you can consider adding chain locks and peepholes. If you rent out a building with lots of apartments, an intercom security system may be well worth the investment.
Keep Entrances Clear
You should ensure that the entrance or pathways to your property are free from obstructions that could be helpful to criminals. Hedges and shrubs can be the ideal hiding spot for thieves, especially if they are concealed and block the view from the street.
It is a good idea to keep shrubs and hedges to a minimum to make sure that there are no hiding places for a burglar waiting for a prime opportunity or where they can monitor any habits for the tenants.
Outdoor lights can be incredibly handy for illuminating the way and making it easier to find your keys as well as enhance the safety of your property. You can opt for a front porch light that illuminates the exterior or a motion sensor light that comes on when people arrive at your building.
Lighting can help to make tenants feel safe and is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to deter crime. As well as lighting on the driveway, you should consider using lighting in an alleyway or back garden too.
While security cameras were once very expensive, they are now becoming cheaper to install in properties and can help provide you and your tenants with peace of mind. Security cameras cannot be placed inside the property but can be used in the entrance way, stairwells, and the back of the property to keep it safe. Cameras work well to prevent crimes, even if they are not active.
Add Window Locks
Windows will often come equipped with a locking mechanism that means it cannot be opened from the outside. However, it usually is not difficult for a burglar to break the glass or use and open window to climb inside. It may be wise to have a reminder in the property to ensure that tenants close windows before they leave, but you can also install locks on windows which can help to deter anyone who is considering breaking and entering.
For increased security, you may also install window sensors which alerts you if the window has been tampered with. However, for most properties window locks are an entirely appropriate security solution.
Use a Property Manager
If your property is left vacant or you want peace of mind that your tenants are maintaining the safety and upkeep of the property, then you may consider hiring a property manager. If you do not live locally to your rental property, then a property manager can help with a wide range of issues such as maintenance, sorting out any problems and maintaining the security.
At Boxall Brown & Jones we offer a full property management service. You can ask us to conduct spot checks on tenants to make sure the property is in good condition; we can also visit the premises while it is vacant to deter any burglars as they can see that people are actively monitoring and using the property.
Install a Security System
Having a security system in your property is an added benefit for tenants and may be the difference between a tenant choosing your property over another one. Security systems can be used to sound an alarm when there has been unauthorised access or use motion sensors to detect movement. There are many different security systems available, and it is essential to select the right one for your property type.
With a security system, you can have a master code and allow tenants to have their own secret assess code. When you have new tenants, make sure they are fully briefed about the security system so that it can be as effective as possible.
To increase property safety as a landlord, it is recommended that you document everything that the property contains. This makes it a much more straightforward process for insurance claims, as well as disputes with tenants regarding breakages. It is worthwhile taking a photograph of each item to show its condition as well as noting the manufacturer and model of the product.
Once you have documented everything, make sure to keep the list somewhere secure and not in the rental property itself where it can be manipulated.
A risk to the safety and security of your property is the tenants that you choose. Fortunately, there are now plenty of ways that you can screen tenants such as tenant screening services on the internet or use a property management service or letting agency to conduct the screenings. You can ask your tenants for references from employers as well as character references. Remember, your gut instinct is usually correct, but you will often need a viable reason to refuse a tenant application.
Conduct the Necessary Safety Checks
As a landlord, it is essential that rental properties adhere to the critical safety checks for their property. This will include an annual gas safety check as well as regular portable appliance testing. It is also wise to check or remind tenants to check fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they are all working as they should. A letting agency can send reminders to make sure that you stay up to date with all the legal requirements regarding the safety of your rental property.
In addition to the mandatory checks to ensure the safety of your property, including the necessary gas safety checks, it is wise to conduct a regular maintenance assessment to ensure every aspect of your property is safe. This will include checking furniture to make sure it is suitable; it may also include checking the wiring and cleaning out the fireplace (if applicable) to keep every aspect as safe as possible and to minimise the risk of accidents.
Having the Right Insurance
An essential way to ensure you keep your property safe and reduce the risk of unforeseen costs is to make sure that you take out the right landlord insurance policy for your needs. The appropriate insurance should protect you as the landlord as well as protect your assets of the property and any furnishings within the property. With this you should consider liability insurance as well as cover for buildings and furnishings. Having the right level of insurance will give you considerable peace of mind and by following the tips above, you may be able to reduce your premiums too.
At Boxall Brown & Jones our priority is to take the stress out of properties. If you are a landlord that requires local advice or property management, get in contact with the experts today on 01332 384438 or email e[email protected].