As a property manager, it is important to keep your property safe. Residents need to feel secure when they are at home and managing an unsafe property can open the door to liabilities. While you can’t be expected to install state-of-the-art security systems in every unit, there are a few things you can do to increase security on your property.
Have an Organized Watch System
Organize a property watch system with current tenants. It can be strictly voluntary, but have tenants get together with your on-site property manager or landlord to report issues, monitor activity and keep everyone safe.
Hire Professional Inspectors
Safety doesn’t just mean protecting people from burglary, it also means protecting against fire, flood and mold. Hire professional inspectors to review your property on an annual basis. Have all smoke alarms tested, walls inspected for signs of mold or mildew and make sure your property is up to code. Also instill rules regarding barbecues, especially open flames and consider having a fire extinguisher installed in every unit.
Change Locks Between Tenants
Changing the locks after an old tenant has vacated the unit can help reduce any burglary or unauthorized access in the future. When a new resident moves in, you can give them added peace of mind in knowing that the locks are brand new on their unit. If a tenant loses his or her key, have the unit’s locks changed and if a break in does occur in a community area (such as the fitness center or club house) have those locks changed immediately.
Screen New Tenants
If you don’t screen prospective tenants carefully, you could be opening the door to liability issues. Always screen prospective tenants for past criminal activity as well as credit history. You can list the criteria in your lease agreement to give residents a little peace of mind. Some rejection criteria could include sexual assault, drug-related crimes, arson or malicious crimes.
Handle Safety-Related Repairs Quickly
There’s no need to spend all of your reserve on repairs and upgrades, but you do need to set aside funds in your budget for handling safety-related repairs. This could include repairing broken gates, fixing stairwells and railings, replacing bulbs in the parking lot area or updating security cameras.
The safer tenants feel in your community, the more likely they are to renew their lease. If your property is located in a high-crime area, you need to take extra precautions to keep your tenants safe. This might include installing and using security cameras, hiring an on-site security service, etc. The more steps you take to make tenants feel safe while at home, the better it is for your resident retention and liability.