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…Contributed by Ray FLynn
Rental properties can be vulnerable if you do not keep a regular eye on them. The last thing you want is to see your rental property fall victim to issues like burglary or vandalism. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to amp up the security when you can’t be there to monitor things as much as you would like.
Lighten Your Burden
When it comes to monitoring activity at a rental, little compares with an extra set of eyes. With that in mind, consider hiring a professional property management company to help alleviate your worries. On top of routine checks, a property manager can help you with other landlord responsibilities, such as maintenance, collecting rent, and screening applicants.
To find a top-notch property manager, Capterra suggests interviewing candidates carefully. Find out how many properties they manage, if they have any rentals of their own, whether they do routine inspections, and so forth. Since whomever you choose will represent you and your rental, being diligent is the best way to find a stellar professional. Note that agency fees can vary depending on the type of property and service you need, but they’re usually around 10 percent of your rental income. This doesn’t include maintenance or upkeep.
Invest in Improvements
On top of having an extra set of eyes keeping track of things at your rental, there are some basic physical improvements you can make to your property that will naturally enhance security. Updating the locks each time you take on new renters is a must when you’re managing properties. Changing out the locks is a job best left to a local highly-rated professional locksmith, which can be sourced using an online service directory like Angi — simply search for “locksmith near me” when you’re on the site. When narrowing down your search, be sure to confirm that they are licensed and insured, and that they warranty their work. Expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a residential locksmith to rekey a door.
Another great option is to install security doors. Security doors come in all shapes and sizes, from sliding glass doors to screen doors. The key is to purchase from a manufacturer who specializes in them, and don’t forget to measure to ensure a good fit.
Install a System
Some landlords install home security systems on their rental properties for both their own and their renters’ piece of mind. Systems vary widely, and you can find self-monitored options, professional monitoring, voice assistant capability, environmental sensors, and so forth, so read reviews before you make a decision. Some landlords have systems wired in, then leave it up to tenants whether to pay for subscription services. Consider your situation to determine your best choice.
Light up the Night
The Spruce explains how outdoor lighting can be a smart way to improve the security at your property, and options are widely varied. Consider installing lights on timers, motion-sensitive lights, or smart lights to eliminate the need to flip a switch each evening. If you have a dim area that lacks a fixture, you can even install solar-powered dusk-to-dawn lights to brighten things up. For outdoor lights, ensure you select lights that will stand up to weather variations, even if they are under awnings or a roof.
If your rental property’s landscaping is entirely based on aesthetics, consider viewing it through the eyes of a would-be thief. Shrubbery that would allow someone to lurk in the shadows, a tree permitting access to a second-story window, and even tall, ornamental plantings could become hiding places for scoundrels. Consider installing some spiky hedges in appropriate places as well. Thieves tend to look for easy targets, so the harder you make their task, the less apt your property is to become a victim.
When investing in your rental property’s security, you’ll want to keep track of any improvements as you may be able to claim them as deductions. Instead of keeping your receipts in a filing cabinet, keep digital records which the IRS now accepts when you file taxes.
There are several options available to rental property owners who need to boost security. Consider investing in an extra set of eyes that will lighten your workload and your worries, and address concerns with the property itself. Not only will enhancements ease your mind, they might even add value to your property when the time comes to sell.
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