As a landlord, you have a considerable responsibility for your rental property safety.
For a start, tenants want to feel safe and secure in their home and that is down to the landlord. Tenants will also want to know that you prioritise their safety, so that they stay in your rental property for the long-term. As well as protecting tenants, increasing the protection of your property also help you to attract future tenants, increase rental value and reduce the risk of vandalism and theft. Rental property safety is paramount, but how can you enhance the security of your properties as a landlord?
To help you maintain a great relationship with your tenant as well as increasing peace of mind for yourself, here are twelve rental property safety tips to keep your properties secure.
Twelve ways to increase rental property safety
1. Door security
One of the first things you should improve when renting your property is to check the safety of the external doors. You may choose to install new secure doors which are made out of solid, heavy-duty material, which will often lower your insurance premiums too. You should consider the locking mechanisms which can also lower premiums.
Other ways to improve door security will be deadbolt locks which make it much harder to break in. For peace of mind for 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.
2. Keep entrances clear
You should make sure that the entrance and pathways of your property are free from obstructions that could be helpful to criminals. Hedges and shrubs can be the ideal hiding place for thieves especially if they are concealed and block the view from the street. It is a good idea to keep shrubs and hedge to a minimum to make sure there are no hiding places for a burglar waiting for a prime opportunity or where they can monitor any habits of the tenants.
3. Add lighting
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 the 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 prevent crime. As well as lighting on the driveway, you should consider using lighting in the alleyway or back garden too.
4. Security cameras
While once very expensive, security cameras are now becoming cheaper to install in properties and can help to give you peace of mind and give your tenants added safety. Security cameras cannot be placed inside the property of the tenant but can be used in the entrance way, stairwells and back of the property to keep it safe. Cameras work well as a deterrent for thieves, even if they are not active.
5. Add window locks
Windows will often come equipped with a locking mechanism that means that cannot be opened from the outside. However, it usually is not difficult for a burglar to break the glass or use an open window to climb through or open another window. 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 can also install window sensors which will alert you if the window has been tampered with. However, for most properties window locks are an entirely appropriate security solution.
6. 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.
You can ask the property manager to conduct spot checks on tenants to make sure the property is in excellent condition. They can also visit the building while it is vacant to deter any burglars as they can see that people are actively monitoring and using the property.
7. 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.
8. Document everything
To increase property safety as a landlord, it is a good idea to document everything your property contains. It makes it a much more straightforward process for insurance claims as well as any 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.
Once you have documented everything, make sure to keep this list somewhere secure and not in the rental property itself where it can be manipulated.
9. Screen tenants
A risk to the safety and security of your property is the tenants that you choose. Fortunately, there are now lots 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 screenings. You can ask 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.
10. Conduct the necessary safety checks
It is essential for rental properties to 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 wise also 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 rental properties.
11. Regular maintenance
As well as completing all of the mandatory checks to ensure the safety of the property, such as the necessary gas safety check if your property uses gas, it is wise to conduct a regular maintenance assessment to make sure every aspect of your property is safe. This will include checking furniture to make sure it is suitable, it may also involve 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.
12. 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.
Find the right landlord insurance with Compare Insurance
At Compare Insurance, we scour the market on behalf of our customers to find the best, most comprehensive and cheapest insurance available. Firstly, our team of dedicated and experienced advisors will work hard to fully understand all of the requirements for insurance and make sure to discuss aspects you may not have considered.
While policies will come with up to £1 million public liability cover as standard, insurance plans can be completely flexible to suit your needs. You may wish to increase your excess amounts or have them as low as £100. We can also discuss your specific cover needs which could include loss of rent, glass and lock replacement as well as buildings cover.
If you would like to increase the safety and peace of mind for your rental properties then Compare Insurance can help you to find the right level of insurance that you need. Call the team for free now on 0333 344 3705 to find out more.