How Can You Protect Your Tenants From Criminal Acts?
Maintaining a crime-free rental unit can be a daunting task. Sometimes, your obligation to protect tenants may even conflict with your obligation to respect tenants' privacy and autonomy.
For example, how do you know if the premises are safe unless you regularly check individual rental units and public areas? How do you know about your tenants’ activities unless you thoroughly research your tenants’ background and livelihood?
In order to effectively and reasonably protect your tenants while still maintaining their privacy, the following approach may be helpful:
Step 1: Meet or exceed basic legal requirements for safety devices, such as dead bolt locks, good lighting, and window locks.
Step 2: Keep your tenants informed about crime-prevention strategies. Make it clear that they are the ones responsible for their own protection.
Step 3: Provide adequate security measures based on an analysis of your property’s vulnerabilities.
Step 4: Don’t over-hype your security measures. It may give tenants a bad feeling about the neighborhood.
Step 5: Conduct regular property inspections to spot any problems. You can also ask your tenants for suggestions.
Step 6: Respond to your tenants’ suggestions and complaints in a timely manner.
Step 7: If an important component of your security systems breaks, be prepared to fix it immediately or provide appropriate alternative security on a temporary basis.
These steps not only limit the likelihood of criminal activity on your property, but also reduce the risk that you will be held liable for crime that takes place there.