Installing security systems across multiple rental units can help protect the safety of your real estate investments, as well as your residents. And as the technology improves, these systems can do so much more than help you monitor safety.
By Christy Matte (MultiHousingNews.com Article) — It’s no surprise that installing security systems across multiple rental units can help protect the safety of your real estate investments, as well as your residents. But as the technology improves, these systems can do so much more than help you monitor safety: They also offer the opportunity to save you time and money.
Internet-connected security systems and their accessories give you access to all your properties remotely and allow you to monitor and control devices easily from a central location. They are customizable, too: You can work with your internet service provider to design a custom security system that incorporates the ideal features for each of your property’s needs. When planning your system, here are some ideas for making the most out of your resources.
While you’ll probably want to leave security system management of your occupied units to your residents, there are quite a few benefits to having remote access to your empty locations. You can easily ensure that the security system is enabled, and you can monitor for suspicious activity to thwart break-ins before they happen. It also gives you a variety of options for real estate agents and contractors. You can assign them temporary codes, or you can simply disable the system for showings/repairs and enable it again once they leave, saving you from having to spend time letting people in and out.
If you have multi-unit properties, you may have issues with the illegal use of the dumpster, parking outside of approved areas, or even outright vandalism. Install exterior and hallway cameras on your properties to help you monitor for suspicious activity as well as give residents some peace of mind. Connected cameras can send you alerts for motion and capture footage when triggered, so you can immediately see issues as they occur. You can also double check on various logistical aspects of managing the property (think of how nice it would be to see your landscaper arriving as expected)!
Always be cautious when installing cameras that you are aware of your legal limitations and you’re not infringing on the privacy of your residents.
Are you covering utilities in your units? Monitor thermostat settings or even control them remotely to ensure a balance between creating a comfortable living environment and dealing with costly utility bills. And for empty units, you can use minimal heating and cooling when no one is there, adjusting as needed for the arrival of contractors and prospective residents.
Security system-triggered lighting can save you money in common areas like the laundry room or basement, where people may forget to turn lights on and off. Using motion detectors can turn on the lights for safety and turn them off when no one is around. With smart lighting, you can remotely adjust the brightness in hallways and out-of-the-way areas to save costs when most residents are at work or still in bed.
Tired of changing locks between renters or when keys are lost? Smart locks, which can integrate with your security system, eliminate these ongoing costs. If your renters move out or lose their keys, you can quickly and easily change the lock code from wherever you are. Likewise, you can assign real estate agents a code for use when showing the property and change it when the unit is rented. Temporary codes also allow for contractors to gain access as needed without compromising the security of your units.
Many smart security systems now have the option of adding sensors for water, open and closed doors, and more, which notify you, as well as any necessary emergency services. A water sensor can save you thousands of dollars in damage by helping you catch leaks in water heaters and washing machines before they get out of control. You can track windows in basement and attic spaces, as well as unoccupied units, for disturbance. With an internet-enabled system, these sensors can send alerts via text messages, and they can be monitored from your office so that you can maintain your properties remotely.
Tips for Security Systems in Rental Units
When designing your smart security system, keep the following advice in mind:
- Always inform residents about security measures on the property in advance and in writing.
- Make sure your residents have access to any controls they need from within their unit.
- Be thoughtful about privacy concerns, especially when dealing with cameras.
- Check your local laws around these types of installations to make sure you’re in compliance.
With a connected security system, you’ll spend less time driving around and more time focused on other areas of your job. Moreover, you can halt potentially expensive security and safety risks before they get out of control. And you can cover numerous properties or units without hiring a costly security guard or additional property managers to do so.
Your security company or cable/internet provider may be a good option to help you figure out which features will work best for your properties and will likely take care of installation to make sure it all works as intended. It’s essential that all the components are designed to communicate with each other seamlessly, so a professional installation with a central hub is likely to be your best bet.