When a tenant asks to install a security system, your first instinct is probably a firm "no way!" Old-style wired systems tear up the walls and many require a multi-year contract. But look at it from the tenant's perspective. Burglary accounts for almost a quarter of all property crimes in the US each year and rental properties often have higher crime rates than owner-occupied units. Landlords can be held liable for crimes against their tenants, so a security system can help protect you as well.
A wireless security system is a solution that works for both of you. Here's why.
Easy, damage-free installation
Many wireless systems use "peel and stick" installation for the sensors. The sensors stick to walls, windows, and doors without damaging paint or the structure. Some systems are controlled via a smart phone app, so there's not even a bulky control panel that has to be screwed into the wall.
Renters love these types of systems because there's no long-term contract and they can take it with them when they move. Wireless systems are portable and leave no damage behind.
Protect the value of your property
A security system protects both your tenant's belongings and your property by deterring burglars. Thieves aren't careful when they enter a property. Broken windows and/or jimmied doors cost money to repair. However, over 80% of burglars say that a visible security system, sign, or sticker will send them looking for an easier target.
While crime is scary, your house or apartment is even more likely to suffer damage from fire or water. Sure, the property has smoke detectors, but someone has to be home to hear them. A wireless security system is always on and always listening. It can sound the alarm before a small incident turns into a big, costly problem.
Reduce neighborhood crime statistics
A number of Web sites list crime statistics by neighborhood, and the online property search site Trulia.com even incorporates crime statistics into each listing.
You'll have a much harder time attracting high-quality tenants if your rental is in a high-crime area. Security systems deter burglars and can help lower crime rates.
Decrease the "hassle factor"
Scheduling repairs or maintenance inside a tenant-occupied unit can get complicated if you're trying to juggle multiple schedules: the repair person's, the tenant's, and yours. A wireless system equipped with RFID locks allows the tenant to set up a single use entry code or even unlock the door via the smart phone app. Nobody needs to be there to lock and unlock the door. It saves time all around and reduces the number of extra keys that might get into the wrong hands.
The security system can also log "events" so that there's a record of each time a door or window was opened or closed. It's a great way to prove to a tenant (or a judge) that you did indeed respond to a complaint and send someone in to address a problem at the rental.
Finally, what's the biggest hassle in managing rental property? Finding good tenants! A happy tenant who feels safe and secure is less likely to look for a new place.
When to say "yes" to a security system
When a tenant broaches the subject of a security system, turn your "no way" answer into "you bet," provided the system meets these criteria:
- Nothing is permanently installed - like a control panel.
- There's no damage to the paint or structure.
- A battery back-up in case of power failure.
- Tenant is responsible for all costs to purchase and maintain the system.
Wireless security systems can be a win/win for both landlords and tenants. After all, what could be better than a system that protects your property from crime and damage and yet doesn't cost you a dime?
Alan Wu is the Director of Sales and Marketing for GetSafe.com, a wireless home security company. Alan is a San Francisco Bay Area native and is a die-hard Golden State Warriors fan – even when they’re not winning.