Tips for Securing Your Rental Property
You’ve probably heard of the latest travel trend and you may have even tried it out for yourself. Vacation rentals and home exchanges – through platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and GuestToGuest – have revolutionized travel, and it looks like this trend is here to stay.
It was a bit slow to catch on, but now people all over the world are renting houses, apartments, even single bedrooms, and air mattresses directly from property owners. Likewise, regular people are hosting perfect strangers in exchange short-term rental fees or reciprocal accommodations. For some, hosting has even developed from being a second source of income to a full-time job.
One of the biggest challenges for anyone managing a vacation or short-term rental property, however, is security. What steps can you take to increase security on your rental property?
Extra Lock Security
Minimally, there are a few basics that every property should have, regardless of whether it’s a rental or owned property. Start with installing heavy-duty strike plates and deadbolt locks on all entry doors with at least a 1-inch bolt.
Exterior Property Maintenance
Make your rental property look lived in by keeping up with regular yard maintenance. Cutting the grass, raking leaves and shoveling snow are all part of regular upkeep. If you don’t have the time or live far away, hire help to maintain the property.
Consider installing lights around the exterior of the house or apartment. The front door should be well-lit for renters arriving after dark. Plus, lights with motion sensors can help deter break-ins, especially when installed on the back and sides of a rental property.
Locks for Windows & Sliding Doors
In addition to the simple locks that come standard on residential windows, you may want to install high-security window locks on a rental property. These can be installed on first-floor windows and any situated over a balcony or exterior stairway.
Similarly, sliding glass doors can be an easy point of entry for burglars in a vacation rental property. By installing special double bolt locks or security bars, you can increase security during periods when the place sits empty.
Stop the Mail
This detail is often overlooked, but it’s an important step to prevent identity theft. If you occasionally rent out your primary residence, be sure to stop your mail during those periods. Take a few minutes to put a temporary stop on the mail through the post office.
Upgrade to Smart Locks
Smart locks offer a lot of solutions for anyone managing short-term or vacation rental properties. They enable remote management features, which allow homeowners to control who can and cannot access the rental property while they’re away.
With smart locks, you don’t need to meet guests when they check in or check out. You can set access times for the duration of your guest’s stay. Then, when the renter checks out, simply cancel their access permission. The smartphone app shows timestamps for when a renter has accessed the lock to the property. No more need to manage extra copies of the keys or change the locks when they go missing.
Another neat benefit is that you can use it to remotely grant access for deliveries or service technicians while you’re away. Instead of driving to the property to let the cleaning service staff in or open the door for the plumber, simply change the setting on the smart lock application.
Provide a Safe
It makes a lot of sense to provide guests and renters with a safe for valuable items. The safe should be installed by fixing it it to the floor or into a wall so it’s not easily removed if a break-in occurs.
Install an Alarm System
Protect your rental property and your guests by installing a monitored security system. Unprofessional security cameras can be an invasion of your guests’ privacy, but a professionally installed system can be effective as a security measure. Plus, most security systems today can be integrated with your smart lock for extra convenience and protection.
Use Online Rental Platforms with Caution
Private vacation rentals and home exchanges can be a fun and more personal way to travel, but property owners should practice caution when relying on online platforms. For example, it’s great to post lots of pictures of your rental place, but people using the website shouldn’t be able to identify your house from them. Be careful not to show too many details of the exterior or the exact address. These details aren’t necessary for potential guests and could pose a security risk.
Most web-based vacation rental platforms provide handy tools for hosts as well. Take advantage of the possibility to check the profile of users booking the property. Read reviews written by other hosts and exchange messages to make sure that it’s a good fit. Some websites require renters to register, submit a copy of their official ID and have a verified credit card; these extra security measures can help protect you as a property owner.
Peace of mind can go a long way toward a positive experience, for both renter and host.
Watch this video for more ideas on how to shore up your rental.
Make Your Rental Property More Secure
For more information on how to properly secure your vacation rental, and for information on smart locks, contact Great Valley Lockshop today by calling 610-644-5334 or fill out an estimate request online.