If you rent out a residential home, the security of your property is probably one of your top concerns. You have to keep your investment safe from rowdy tenants, theft, vandalism, arson and a wide range of natural factors that could cause damage.

Chances are, most of your residential tenants are just as concerned (if not more so) with the safety and security of your property. If tenants don’t feel safe in your building, and if they don’t feel like their own belongings are protected at your investment property, they’re unlikely to renew a lease or recommend friends and family members rent from you in the future.

Security is important for everyone

It’s relatively easy to secure your rental property. Small improvements go a long way in improving the security of your property and the safety of your residents. If you coordinate and work with tenants, you can also encourage them to improve the safety of their space within your building, as well. Optimal safety at your investment property starts with your resident population.

Some provinces and municipalities require certain safety and security measures at all active rental properties. If you’re unsure about safety requirements in your jurisdiction, consult with fellow investors or a real estate attorney in your area.

If you have a safe, secure building with modern access control and a professional security system, you can use this as a marketing tool. Making small investments that improve the security of your property can help you command a premium on rental rates. Everyone wants to live somewhere that’s safe and secure!

Property improvements elevate security

You’d be surprised at the number of common-sense property improvements you can make at your rental asset, to instantly enhance security. Some of the most common, affordable and effective include:

Purchase locking windows: Some provinces and municipalities require you to install locking windows. Even if it’s not a legal necessity in your province, there are many benefits associated with locking windows you should not overlook. Even when broken, locking windows make it more difficult for would-be thieves to enter. Installing locking windows on your rental asset will help you keep your investment safer, as well as the tenants inside it.

Install outdoor lighting: Thieves and burglars love low lighting. If there are any areas of your property drenched in darkness in the evening, these areas are much more likely to attract unwanted attention. Installing outdoor flood lighting can help you ensure your property is less attractive to thieves and burglars, and provide your residents with a sense of safety and security.

Invest in access control: Even in nicer neighborhoods, your rental building should have a modern access control system you can depend on. There are a broad range of different access control systems available, depending on your specific needs. For instance, some may allow you to assign each tenant a different number, so you can carefully monitor potentially suspicious activity, and deter non-residents from gaining access to the building.

Purchase a security system: Another surefire way to elevate the security of your rental property is investing in a high-quality security system. Many people may scoff at the idea of installing a security system at their rental property. However, it’s often the most effective way to ensure your property is safe and secure. Most security systems connect to police departments, ensuring a rapid response to possible triggers.

Remove low-lying shrubbery: If there’s lots of low-lying shrubbery around entryways at your investment property, remove them. Thieves and burglars may be attracted to this shrubbery, as it provides excellent cover. Instead, consider planting a privacy shrub around the perimeter of your property along the fencing, and keep planted areas well-lit at all times. Keep high tree branches away from windows and ensure they’re well-trimmed, as well.

Working with tenants toward security

In addition to upgrades at the property, you can also encourage your tenants to make small behavioral changes to promote better security. Here are some of the things you can do to encourage better security practices among your tenant population:

Pay for renter’s insurance: One of the most significant things your residents can do to protect their own assets is pay for renter’s insurance. If the worst were to happen and something of theirs was stolen while they live at your property, the insurance policy would cover the cost of replacing that item. It’s often advisable to require renter’s insurance as part of your lease agreement.

Get to know the neighbors: Arrange events to encourage your residents to get to know each other. If they’re familiar with the other residents at the property, they’ll be more likely to identify suspicious persons at the building. Additionally, they’ll be more likely to collaborate with each other to keep the building safer. A close-knit community is one that looks out for itself!

Consider interior cameras and alarms: While it would be an invasion of privacy for you to install cameras or alarms inside the units of your renters, you can encourage them to install internal security systems of their own volition. There are many types of smart security systems specially designed for apartment dwellers that may suit your resident population.

Go over protocol: When signing the lease, make sure your renters are familiar with safety and security policies outlined within it. This may include things like not duplicating keys or allowing non-tenants inside by themselves. It can also include making them aware of emergency and non-emergency numbers to report suspicious activity. Arm your tenants with information to keep them safer.

Working with your tenants, as well as making small capital improvements, can dramatically improve the safety and security of your rental property. A safer apartment building is more desirable and attractive to prospective renters.

If you’re looking for a surefire way to safeguard your tenants and reap the best possible returns on your real estate investment, consider ways you can elevate the safety of your rental asset. A little goes a long way!