A house is by far one of the most valuable assets that we will ever own or rent. Though most residents understand that home security is essential, most people forget to take steps for properties that they own, but rent out to others. Although a majority of the contents within a home will belong to your tenants – and therefore be their responsibility, you will have an obligation to defend the fabric of the building, as well as appliances or furnishings that you have supplied yourself.
Though it may be an uncomfortable thing to think about, rental properties – just like any other residence – are subject to criminal interference, natural disaster, and other security risks. It only makes sense to install the correct alarms and appliances for the sake of protecting your investment, and your tenants. The following are just some of the security matters worth considering as a landlord.
1. Theft Security
Perhaps the primary threat that most people think about when considering ways to protect a home or property, is the concept of theft or burglary. According to research, burglars infiltrated around 242,400 homes in 2013, and 722,800 households experienced some form of malicious damage to property. The first, and most obvious ways to stay safe against burglars is to use the correct security measures, such as:
- Locks for all windows and doors
- Functioning security systems
- Caution when giving out key copies
- Storage of valuables in locked safes
- A suitable landlord insurance policy for goods and property
- Ensuring mail does not gather outside a tenants home during their absence
Landlords who choose to invest in a technological monitoring option will find that many security measures are available. These systems connect you to a security company, who can contact you whenever an alarm triggers within, or around a property.
2. Fire Security and Alarms
Although a significant part of landlord security relates to keeping buildings locked, and property protected, it’s also important to keep your investment secure in the event of disasters such as fire. According to the Fire Administration Service, landlords should equip all hallways, and sleeping rooms within a building with alarms or smoke detectors at minimum. It is also crucial to provide comprehensive and clear evacuation plans that you can post throughout your buildings and properties, to ensure that tenants know what to do in the case of an emergency.
As a landlord, you should make sure to check your fire safety systems, and invest in annual maintenance by qualified personnel. You may find that you often need to clean out smoke detectors, replace batteries, and check fire extinguishers to maximize property safety. If you are the landlord of an apartment complex, rather than a house or bungalow, remember to check and maintain sprinkler systems too – as this is part of your responsibility as the property owner.
3. Electrical, Heating, and Ventilation Safety
Another significant property threat comes in the form of electrical risks. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, electrical issues contribute to over 50,000 fires every year. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to have wiring and electrical systems installed correctly, and you should also take steps to have your systems checked at least once every ten years by a qualified electrician. Another good tip for encouraging safety is to encourage your tenants to practice caution when using electrical equipment. This could mean advising them against the use of overloaded circuits, malfunctioning appliances, and extension cords.
What’s more, remember that ventilation and heating units require service on a regular basis to continue operating. Make sure that dust and grease are not covering your motors, and monitor air vents for consistent airflow.
Keep Yourself Safe
For legal, moral, and investment reasons, it’s crucial to take all necessary steps in keeping your tenant safe as a landlord – however this doesn’t mean you should neglect your personal safety. Landlords should never share their home address with tenants, and should meet potential renters in public before showing them around the property. Similarly, it’s a good idea to utilize a thorough screening process when it comes to taking on new tenants – including credit and background checks.
What do you consider the most important safety measures a landlord can take when caring for themselves, their tenants, and their property? Let us know in the comments.