Protecting your Philadelphia investment property from damage or vandalism is always a concern. Along with the safety concerns of your tenants, this type of destruction can be costly – especially if you’re unable to determine who is responsible for causing the problem and must cover the repairs yourself. To ensure you and your tenants are protected, here’s what you need to know about a security system for your rental property.
Large, Multi-Family Buildings
If your building is large and has enough tenants, a door attendant or concierge might make your life a lot easier. Basic door attendant services typically include calling residents to verify visitors, accepting packages and mail, and sometimes even assisting residents with tasks such as calling a ride share or taxi service. A full-service concierge goes even further by offering things such as dog walking, accepting large deliveries, making reservations, and more. While both levels of service will improve your building’s security, a full-service concierge will also add even more value to your rental, especially if your target market is busy professionals.
Managing hundreds of keys for a large building can be a nightmare. On top of that, keeping common areas secure can be nearly impossible. Instead, invest in a key fob system. This is not only simpler to manage, but also provides a bit more security, too. Keyless locks cannot be picked and will allow you to have more control over who has access to different areas of the property. You’ll also be able to see who is coming and going – and when – which can help you track down who may be responsible for damage or theft that occurs in common areas.
A strategic camera system is a vital component of any security system for a rental property. In the interior, all common areas should be monitored, including the lobby, hallways, elevators, amenities such as the gym, business center, decks, and parking lots and garages. It’s also critical to monitor the entire exterior of the building and pay particular attention to back and side entryways. Most modern camera systems allow for live viewing via a mobile device for quick access. It’s also critical to have on-site storage of footage with enough space to date back several days so you can refer back as necessary.
Small Multi-Family and Single-Family Buildings
Investing in a security system for apartments and single-family rentals will pay off in the long run. Not only will your tenants feel safer, but you’ll rest easy knowing you’re taking the right steps to protect your investment.
A complete security system from a company like ADT can be the right solution for many landlords. Not only do they offer around-the-clock monitoring, but they often can tie different services together to get several things off your plate at once. For example, you may be able to combine smoke and carbon monoxide detection, camera systems, and an alarm system for the rental property into a single service with one point of monitoring and contact.
There are other steps you can take to boost the security of smaller dwellings. Smart doorbells such as those offered by Nest or Ring capture footage of surrounding areas and entryways while also providing a forewarning to residents whenever a visitor has arrived. Additional camera systems that provide simple playback interfaces on smartphones are also available. Popular brands such as Simply Safe and Night Owl offer both wired and wireless networks that include cameras and doorbells that can all be operated and monitored from a smartphone.
Digital locks will also boost your security efforts while reducing the need to keep track of keys and change locks. Choose from systems that connect with a smartphone or use a fingerprint to allow access to a device like a fob or keyless systems. Another benefit of a keyless system is that it eliminates the hassle that may result from accidental lockouts. Plus, when a tenant moves out and a new one moves in, changing access to the unit is simple.
Lastly, having a dog on-premise can also boost your safety and security efforts. According to one report, barking dogs and camera systems are the best deterrent for burglars as they would prefer an easier target. If you are uncomfortable allowing pets, consider security systems that use a motion sensor and a speaker system to emulate dogs barking instead.
Smart Security Practices
The best security system for apartment buildings will work best when combined with a few best practices from you and your tenants. Landlords should make sure all door and window locks function properly and equip sliding doors – especially on the first floor – with an inside bar lock rather than a handle lock. Keep entryways, hallways, and other areas brightly lit at all times. Lastly, include background checks and check references during your screening process.
Tenants should be advised to keep windows closed and locked whenever they aren’t home. Main entry doors and doors to common areas like laundry rooms and pools should never be propped open. Don’t allow people to “piggyback” when entering the building; if they do not have a key of their own, do not let them in. If common area lights are burned out or other safety concerns are noted, make it easy for tenants to report such issues so they can be resolved promptly.
Getting the Right Security System for Your Rental Property
Finding the right combination of security services for your rental property means considering the needs of your tenants, the neighborhood, and your budget. Modern security systems and services such as door attendants and concierges will also add value to your properties and make filling vacancies, and meeting rent needs easier. The best place to start? Hire a property management company that can take care of all of this for you. By hiring someone like Bay Management Group, you can make sure you check off all the boxes and find the right balance for your investment while reducing the demand on your time for managing day-to-day needs. When you find a team like BMG that wants to work with you and your tenants, you can rest easy knowing you’re providing a safe environment and doing what is necessary to protect your investments.