Whether you rent out long-term or Airbnb your property, you have a great opportunity to earn an extra income as a rental property owner. But with those perks come security concerns — you may not be able monitor your rental property as often as you would like, for instance. With the help of technology and a few other necessities, though, you can protect your home, prevent unauthorized property access, and feel more confident as a rental owner.
Before you take on new tenants, make sure you have these six necessities in place.
1. Landlord and Renters Insurance
Most home insurance policies cover only the policyholder and his or her family — not renters — meaning that you could be liable if an accident were to occur on your property. So, instead of relying on homeowners insurance to cover long-term renters, consider investing in landlord insurance, which will cover your property and items on the premises. For extra protection, you can also require long-term renters to provide proof of renters insurance.
If you rent out a portion of your property for short stays, such as through Airbnb, notify your insurer. Although Airbnb provides Host Protection Insurance, it may not be enough coverage. Ask your insurance provider if you can increase the coverage on a short-term basis whenever you have tenants.
2. Smart Locks
By choosing to rent out your property, you’re be giving lot of different people access to the leased space, which could put your property at risk. Smart locks can help you reduce these security risks in the long-term, while also helping tenants avoid locking themselves out.
With a smart lock, you can control property access remotely. Instead of physical keys, many smart locks use codes. Each user has a unique code, and you can easily track which codes have been used to open the door. When you have new renters, simply provide the new tenants with unique user codes and delete the previous residents’ codes — this saves you the time and money of having to hire a locksmith or replace the locks for each new tenant, and it eliminates the risk of lost keys.
Water can cause significant damage to a home, especially if you don’t notice a leak until it’s too late. Flood sensors are designed to stop that issue by monitoring water and moisture levels, alerting users of any threatening floods or extreme temperature changes.
Some smart sensors can also attempt to stop the source of the leak. Though this level of flood defense usually requires additional sensors and a more complex smart home network, it may be worth the investment if you live in a flood-prone area.
4. Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fires are a frightening reality — in 2014, a home structure fire occurred every 86 seconds. Most homes already have standard smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, but when you’re renting out your property, it’s worth investing in a smart sensor. Certain sensors work as two-in-one smoke and CO detectors, minimizing the investment you’ll have to make upfront.
The best smart detector feature for rental property owners is the mobile-app tie-in. If you’ve connected your detector to a Wi-Fi network, you can receive notifications about any dangers that trigger the sensors. After receiving an alert, you can immediately reach out to your tenants to assess the potential threat.
Fire extinguishers, particularly multi-purpose fire extinguishers, are extremely effective at putting out fires in the home. Having them visible and easily accessible throughout the property — and reminding your tenants where they’re located — can make a huge difference in the security of your rental space.
A general rule of thumb is to store multiple fire extinguishers in areas most prone to fires, including the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Don’t store them too far in the back of cabinets or closets, as residents should be able to reach an extinguisher within seconds of noticing a fire. It’s also important to keep rechargeable extinguishers charged and to replace disposable ones once they’ve expired.
As a rental property owner, you want to keep an eye on your property — even when you can’t be there in person. Connected security cameras let you see what’s going on at all times, right from your smartphone or other Wi-Fi enabled device. Some systems can even be programmed to send a text or alert if the camera detects suspicious movement.
Though you won’t have access to any interior cameras, outdoor security cameras are great for both long-term rentals and temporary Airbnb stays. They’ll help you monitor the property’s surroundings remotely and watch out for intruders.