There’s no doubt that security is one of the biggest challenges when managing multiple rental properties. Protecting your assets, your renters, and your reputation all come into play. Identifying vulnerable entry points on your property and securing those with the right technology is good for business and the bottom line.
Whether you set up your own security features or have them professionally installed, you’ll find that there is an ever-increasing range of options to choose from. Smart-home technology is on the rise, making it easier to create custom systems that work seamlessly together with a number of smart home devices. Integrating smart products into your security installation can save you time and money, make property management easier and increase renter satisfaction. Here’s how to find a system that’s best for you.
Choosing a Smart Security System
As you plan your security system, there are some things to consider before adding smart technology to the mix. While the pros generally outweigh the cons, it is important to know what you’re getting into before making a large investment. Your security provider or local internet provider can also help you think through the best options for your situation.
- Remote management and control of devices, including doors, lights, outlets, garage doors, cameras and more on one platform
- Alerts for unusual activity sent quickly and automatically via text, email or phone
- Smart triggers, such as motion-detected video recordings or text messages when a doorbell rings in an unoccupied unit
- Available features to easily string commands together, for instance, every evening at 11 p.m. automatically arm the home, shut all lights, turn on the camera and adjust the thermostat
- Easy installation and replacement by professionals
- Easy setup due to the use of wireless technology
- Reliance on steady Wi-Fi, even when units are empty
- As with anything connected to the Internet, you need to be aware of security and privacy concerns
Creating a Security Plan
Once you’ve confirmed that smart security technology is right for your buildings, do a walk-through. If you’ve hired a local security monitoring company or signed on with a security service such as one provided by your local cable company, ask for a representative to help you identify vulnerable areas which may need monitoring or additional protection.
While each property will have different needs, there are some areas that typically require heightened monitoring and protection, including doorways, low windows, and low-visibility areas like alleys and parking garages.
Whether you’re managing a collection of vacation homes or a high-rise apartment building, door security is the easiest starting point. Especially in multi-unit buildings, entrances are a weak spot. Residents might let in people they don’t know; keys can be lost, stolen, or copied; and glass doors and locks can be broken. Here are ways to reduce those risks:
Security Cameras—With connected security cameras, video recordings can be triggered by motion or sound. A smart security camera can also send an alert to your smartphone when motion is detected. Additionally, security cameras by a front door can keep an eye on package deliveries and alert you and your residents to possible theft. Just be sure to keep tenant privacy in mind—only position cameras on exterior areas or common areas within the building, and inform tenants that cameras are on the premises.
Smart Locks—Smart deadbolt locks are easy to install and provide great benefits for both front entryways and individual apartment doors. With codes you can re-program at will, you’ll no longer need to worry about lost or stolen keys, or about recovering keys when tenants move out. Connect your smart locks to the Wi-Fi and you can also manage them remotely, including locking and unlocking them in emergency situations.
Smart Doorbells—Smart doorbell systems include a camera to not only alert residents to guests at the door but also allow them to see and communicate with the visitor safely. These can prevent renters from inadvertently allowing strangers through the door.
Low-level windows and those attached to fire escapes or other easily accessible areas will require more security than others, especially if they are partially hidden, such as in a garden apartment or on the side/rear of the building. Here’s how to keep them protected:
Window Sensors—Window sensors have long been common security system options, but smarter versions don’t necessarily need to trigger an alarm to alert an entire property. They can just as easily turn on lights in the vicinity or send text messages to the resident or landlord.
Vibration/Movement Sensors—A vibration sensor can trigger if a window is broken or jostled, even if it isn’t opened. Movement sensors in an area may trigger sounds or lights that scare off would-be intruders before they even have a chance to access the windows. These may provide added security, especially in secluded portions of a building.
Protecting Garages, Parking Lots, Alcoves and Alleys
There last major category shouldn’t bring any surprises. Dark spaces that are open to the public and have low lighting and minimal foot traffic leave these areas vulnerable.
Motion-sensitive lighting and/or motion detecting cameras can provide peace of mind as well as actual protection to residents at night. They may also decrease the appeal of the location for illegal activity.
When property ownership and management is your livelihood, there’s no room for cutting corners on security. Instead, make the most out of the incredible connected features have recently come to market. If you are new to the business or haven’t upgraded in a while, you may be pleasantly surprised by the options that are available to keep your properties and residents safe and secure.