7 Tips To Keep Tenants Safe From Becoming Victims Of Crime

By on April 24, 2017

It’s really not your fault if the neighborhood a particular rental property has an above average crime rate. And there’s only so much you can do to keep the peace.

Even though you are almost powerless in stopping crime, and seldom have to bare full liability for tenant injuries and losses due to crime, a responsible landlord should do his utmost best to help keep his tenants safe from unpredictable events.

Even if you suffer little to no financial losses, an injured tenant can give you a whole lot of problems and issues to mull over.

Prevention should be your top priority when it comes to managing crime in the area.

Here are some tips to deal with this issues in a reasonable manner in order to protect your tenants.

1) Enforce legal requirements for safety devices

Some states have housing codes that have not just a guideline concerning safety devices like locks and lighting, they have it written in law.

While these things might not be effectively enforced by law enforcement officers, you should be meeting them by default when you are in the business of property letting.

And if you truly care about the safety of your tenants, you should not just meet these requirements, but exceed them as well.

If there are no legal requirements locally, take the initiative. Minor safety implementations can achieve big impact.

For example, strong looking padlocks and deadbolts alone can often deter burglars from breaking in.

2) Take tenant feedback seriously

A lot of corporations welcome their customers to submit suggestions and general feedback via emails, phone calls, suggestion boxes, etc. And then these submissions are discarded without anyone ever reading them or ends up in the office storage room for years.

You should not attempt the same approach. Especially when you have a manageable operation.

Landlords might know more about a house than tenants. But tenants will know more about living in it than landlords. And feedback concerning safety from crime should always be taken seriously instead of just water cooler talk.

For example, if a tenant sees a situation serious enough to inform you about a badly lit area in the backyard, inspect the place for yourself. It’s inexpensive to install outdoor lighting. You should have done it long ago anyway.

3) Enforce stricter operation controls

You might not have a lot of management standard operating procedures to follow if you are only managing a house or two. And even if you do have systems in place, seldom would you follow it.

You would inevitably start writing up more comprehensive processes and procedures to maintain standards as you start to build up that real estate portfolio.

For example, the management of camera feeds, master keys, key cards, etc.

4) Provide general tips of crime prevention

There’s a reason why airlines include evacuation booklets in their aircrafts and hotels include a list of important phone numbers beside the phone. This is so that people can refer to them in times of emergencies.

Although most people would feel that they cannot be unlucky enough to run into these life and death situations, these information can be of critical importance in times of need.

You don’t need to leave a gun in the house for tenants. But you might want to include posters, information booklets, or survival guides in the house that informs of crime prevention tips and strategies.

5) Be honest with the level of security available

In an effort to close a deal, many agents and landlords can often hype up features of a house. And the level of security is often something that is overstated.

Condominiums for example often have guards on the entrance. If you own a rental unit in a condominium, don’t make it sound like you have a team of special forces guarding the vicinity.

Tenants might lower their guard if they have the impression of high safety when in fact it’s not as competent as they imagined. And if someone gets in trouble due a miscommunication of available security, you could be liable for damages should something bad happen.

Let’s put it this way. If you sell flip flops and claim that your products can allow users to walk on flaming charcoal, who do you think is responsible if a customer gets burnt when wearing them for a fire walk?

6) Do the basics well

Common neighborhood crimes can be deterred with little effort. So don’t get complacent and do the basics well.

This means not to leave faulty locks unfixed, replace broken outdoor lighting, testing the alarms at least once every 6 months, etc. Repairs and maintenance of security devices can save you from potential major problems in future.

Going back to point #2, take tenant feedback seriously. If a tenant finds something concerning enough to inform you of it, do make an effort to investigate and fix whatever is needed.

7) Buy liability insurance

Even if you do your utmost best to ensure the safety of you tenants, shit can happen. And even if you have covered every gap of negligence, a capable lawyer can still make a case against you.

In this case, liability insurance can be you last ditch layer of protection. After all, adequate liability insurance should be something you fitted into the budget in the first place.

The 7 suggestions above can greatly reduce the likelihood of your tenants becoming victims of crime. It can also reduce the risk of being found negligent by the law in the event of crime. And over all, it is you job as a responsible landlord to keep your tenants safe after all.



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