Seattle is routinely ranked one of the safest large cities in the nation, but no neighborhood is immune from criminal activity. The best way to manage the risk of crime is to prevent it, and you can protect your rental property and your tenants by ensuring your home is not an easy target for criminals.
Make sure there is adequate lighting inside and outside. You want to have bright lights near any doorways, outdoor spaces and garages. When your home is well-lit, there is a far lower chance that someone is going to approach it at night. Motion lights are also a popular way to protect your home. A light will turn on anytime movement is detected close to the home.
Access to your property should be restricted to only the people who belong there. Change your locks after every tenant moves out and be careful about who gets a copy of your key. During any inspection, you should check the locks on the doors and windows to make sure they work properly. Invest in a good security system. This does not necessarily mean you need to have an alarm system installed, although that can be a good idea too. Use deadbolts and install solid doors instead of hollow models. Security hinges on doors that swing outward can help your tenants avoid any forced entries from outside. Make sure any screen doors have locks on the top and bottom of the door.
Get involved in your local Block Watch program, and encourage your tenants to do the same. This will help them feel involved in the community and it will give you an extra line of defense for your property. This will be especially useful when the property is vacant. If you’re between tenants or it’s empty so you can make repairs or upgrades, you want to make sure some eyes and ears in the neighborhood are paying attention. Encourage your tenants to report any suspicious activity that is witnessed in the neighborhood or around your property.
Remember that tenant screening is a great first step in protecting your property from crime. A criminal background check should be done on any applicant who wants to live in your house, and you’ll have to set some consistent standards on what you will tolerate and what you will not.
Protecting your investment should be any landlord’s biggest priority, as well as ensuring your tenants are safe and secure. If you have any questions about keeping your home safe and free from criminal mayhem, contact us at Dave Poletti & Associates, and we’ll share some additional thoughts with you.