Do you have, or are you thinking of purchasing, income property? With housing prices still relatively low, buying a property to rent for a few years is a smart idea. Calculate a competitive rent that includes your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and estimated monthly repair costs and, while you may not make a monthly profit, in five years, you can sell the house for more than you paid, and it hasn’t cost a dime. Charge a little more, and you’ll even have some spending money each month. Sound pretty good, doesn’t it? Well … maybe. The fact is, there are plenty of security issues to consider when thinking of purchasing a rental property.
A potential buyer should consider the crime rate in the surrounding area. Not only is a home in a high-crime area going to be harder to rent, the rent will be lower and the odds of your rental property being the scene of some future crime are pretty high.
Most people buying rental property envision the house being constantly occupied, but statistics show that for DIY landlords, it can take from two to four months to rent a home. During that time, your property is sitting empty and easy prey for criminals who can strip the home of copper wiring and steal water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and any other appliance they can get out the door.
The first thing a smart landlord will want to do is to consider a home security system to protect the property from burglars, vandals, and squatters. And since the electricity may be turned off while the home is empty, security devices should all be battery operated and wireless.
Protect the Outside
- Outside cameras with night vision will not only deter crime, but can detect criminals before they get inside. Via phone or tablet, landlords can see what’s happening on the property in real time and get alerts with smart clip capture, while continuous recording saves it all.
- Glass break detectors are also a good idea, alerting the owner to everything from an intruder to little Howard across the street who just hit a baseball through your picture window. In the event of glass breakage, the landlord is notified and a central monitoring station can dispatch police.
- Smart door locks are also helpful, letting owners remotely check the door lock status and receive immediate notification of security issues via email or text.
Protect the Inside
- Smoke detectors and heat sensors that can dispatch the fire department are crucial. Vacant building fires are a huge problem, resulting in $710 million in property damage each year. Half of the fires occurring in vacant buildings are intentionally set. The rest are usually the result of careless squatters using candles or building fires on which to cook.
- FireFighter is a sensor that works with existing smoke and fire detectors by hearing the smoke alarm and notifying the monitoring station. The monitoring station will then notify the landlord and fire department.
- Indoor wireless IP cameras on a camera stand, one in each room, can be monitored on a phone or tablet. Landlords will want the security that a good indoor camera offers, including night vision and two-way audio, but it should be a camera that will be easy to remove when the property is rented.
- Motion sensors will notify landlord of any movement. With an incredible range, one sensor in each room will protect the entire home.
After It’s Rented
A security system is an amenity that renters love because it makes them feel safe in new surroundings. There is, however, a fine line between tenants feeling safe and tenants feeling like they are the ones being surveilled.
Landlords are within their rights to keep outdoor cameras and detectors active. Usually, tenants appreciate the added security of having night-vision cameras trained on entryways, driveways, and hidden areas where burglars could lurk unseen.
Tenants who view this as a violation of their privacy may feel that way because they have a lot of guests who pop in and out all through the night, they have a lot of parties that spill out onto the front lawn and driveway, or they have a lot of old junk cars parked around the property.
The rental property is still owned by the landlord, and the landlord has every reason to want to protect the property from damage by criminals or tenants.
When it comes to the protecting the inside of the home, an alarm system provides tenants with peace of mind, and makes your rental attractive to potential tenants. When it comes to installing a security system inside a rental, property owners have a couple of options.
Legally, both landlord and tenant must agree to the use of indoor surveillance cameras, and no tenant is going to agree to being spied upon in the sanctity of their domicile.
Landlords can provide tenant-controlled surveillance to renters; however, the downside is that if an emergency should arise that demands that a landlord enter a residence, and the tenant hasn’t provided the landlord with the correct security code to disable the system, the police could soon be at the door.
Additionally, providing security to forgetful or careless tenants could be costly. Today’s security systems almost never malfunction and send a false alarm on their own. But people sometimes forget to disarm their system upon entering their home or improperly secure windows or doors, causing a false alarm. If a landlord is shown as the system’s owner, it could mean every time a tenant causes a false alarm, the landlord will have to pay increasingly hefty fines.
Keeping Everyone Safe and Happy
Property owners can keep their tenants happy by putting renters in charge of their own security inside the property. Landlords can have the equipment—indoor cameras, motion and glass sensors, smart door locks—ready to install once tenants agree to keep the landlord up to date on the entry code in case of an emergency.
Landlords have a right to safeguard their property and tenants have a right to safeguard their loved ones and belongings. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a happy medium that keeps everyone safe and happy.
If you own a rental property, are thinking of investing in one, or are renting a home, contact Connect Security. We have almost unlimited options to satisfy landlords and tenants alike.