Preventing Crime On Your Rental Property: 11 Safety Tips
by Lisa Wells
Whether you are a single-unit landlord or a multi-family housing manager, the safety of your residents should be a primary concern, as it is certainly a top concern for your residents and factors into their decision to renew their lease with you. Property managers who do not attend to safety concerns usually suffer high turnover rates and lose substantial profits.
Along with price, location, amenities and appearance, the perception of safety weighs heavily in a prospect’s decision. Families with children, elderly and female residents are especially sensitive to these factors.
If you are serious about preventing crime on your property, take the time to implement the following safety tips. These tips are a starting point for a general safety plan that should be written down and distributed to staff and residents.
11 Safety Tips for Property Management
1. Screen Your Tenants & Employees: The first step in implementing a safety plan is to thoroughly review residents by not only checking their credit report but by also doing a criminal background check. Property managers should be especially vigilant to not allow criminals with violent histories, sex offenders and convicted thieves and drug dealers into their properties. If property management does not take appropriate steps to review an applicant’s background BEFORE making a leasing decision, they will leave themselves open to potential lawsuits -- imagine the community impact and resulting implications if a sex offender violates another resident because the property manager did not screen them properly at the time of their rental application. And walk the talk!! It is a good risk management practice to check the backgrounds of employees as well as residents.
2. Know Your Neighbor: Helping your residents to be aware of their surroundings and neighbors is a great way to get the community to keep an eye out for each other. Encourage your residents to meet and know their neighbors – through social events sponsored by the neighborhood or property management group. You can use your community webpage to document and maintain a community watch program as well as an events calendar.
3. Identify Your Staff: Property staff should be always display an ID card. Residents and staff should always be on the look out for suspicious strangers and unusual activity. This includes unknown packages and unattended vehicles. Post signs to ban door-to-door solicitation and report such activity to the police.