Vacant lots, buildings, facilities, or even houses are always prime targets for vandalism and theft. A vacant property can be a liability. Aside from not being able to convert into an income generating asset, it could attract the attention of malicious elements – especially since there’s no one to watch over the vacant property.
There are all sorts of circumstances why rental property is vacant and unattended. The landlord may be out of the country temporarily or has moved to a different location. The property could be vacant but still be out on the market. If that’s the case, it should be ready to show to prospective clients. So how do you keep your vacant property free of vandalism and safe from theft while you look for prospective buyers or tenants?
If for some reason, your property has been sitting vacant for a relatively long time, you should look into securing your rental property. Here are a few ways to keep your empty property secure.
Tenants come and go, and rental property can be empty for a time while it is in between tenants. Make sure your property is ready for when that time comes. To prepare for this tenuous period, make sure you have safety features installed in and around your property. Adding this layer of security not only helps mitigate threats of theft and vandalism but can also help your future tenants feel more secure in renting out or buying the property.
○ A fence or gate – not only keeps your property safe but also shields the inside of your property away from curious eyes. It also adds character to the property given the right design.
○ Security cameras – installing an outdoor cam can add a layer of security to your property. You can use it to remotely check the activities going on at street level or beyond the fence or gate. If strategically placed, the presence of a security cam could also deter would-be thieves since you have faces on record.
○ Smart lights – if you have the budget, you can install smart lighting inside your property. These lights have motion sensors and can detect the presence of people. Plus you can program these from a mobile app to turn on and off at certain times of the day to look like someone is at home. This can also be a useful feature that your future tenants might be able to take advantage of. It not only deters burglars but can also save your tenants a few bucks on energy costs.
○ Locks and bolts – locks are a must for any kind of property, vacant or otherwise. It is best to install locks in all points of ingress. We put locks in obvious places like doors and windows but most of us forget to install locks through backyard gates, garage doors, basement windows, or even window type AC vents. Don’t make it easy for would-be thieves to enter your property, install deadbolts in main entrance points.
A very important note though: you can put sophisticated locks and deadbolts all you like but if you forget to actually lock the door (or window), it won’t work. Case in point: you can lock the garage door but forget to lock the door from the garage to the house. Burglars can just break in very easily by hooking your garage door string (the rope/pulley that lifts your garage door) through a coat hanger and then walk in through the unlocked door connecting your garage to your house without any effort at all.
○ An alarm system – this may be an expensive option so you have to mull over it first, but if you can afford it, install an alarm system. Some would be burglars are often deterred with just the sight of the “protected by (alarm company) decal alone. Hearing an actual alarm is enough to make them flee for their lives.
Make sure that your property is well maintained. Any sign of neglect would be an invitation for vandals and burglars since they could easily take it to mean that there is no one home to take care of the property. Arrange for regular lawn maintenance: mowing, trimming, hedging – and for other seasonal work as well. Also, schedule periodic inspections. This will not only catch items for repair but can also let you know which areas of the house need fortifying if it were to be left vacant. Most landlords would find that they need to secure the backyards and second-floor windows as those are often overlooked. Don’t leave areas that need repair unattended. These damaged areas could be easily spotted by shady characters as a sign that the property is vacant or can easily be leveraged as a way into the property.
If you or an associate can’t visit the property regularly, have someone you trust to do it for you. Enlisting the help of a property management company can afford you these benefits:
1. A trusted property management company can help you find the right tenants, therefore, minimizing the period in which your property sits vacant and susceptible to vandalism and theft.
2. A trusted property management company can ensure that your property is well maintained and repaired when it gets damaged by natural occurrences. Strong winds and storms can break windows which can serve as an ingress by burglars into your property. A trusted property management company can make sure your property does not fall into disrepair.
3. A trusted property management company can be your presence on the ground. They can connect you with contractors, arrange for representatives to attend property related meetings for you, and just be the local presence on your behalf.
Davis Property Management has long had deep roots in the area and is the best choice to be your local representative. We’re happy to help you manage your rental property. With our help, your vacant rental property doesn’t have to stay that way for long. Schedule a consultation with us today and find out how we can help you secure your property and help you attract quality tenants.