Protecting Tenants From Crime
Because rental properties service a variety of different people, trying to manage the regular day to day issues along with keeping crime down can become tricky. So, how can an on-site manager limit responsibility for crime committed on the rental property?
According to NOLO Law for All, The following steps will not only limit the likelihood of crime, but also reduce the risk that the property owner will be found responsible, if a criminal assault or robbery does occur.
- Meet or exceed all state and local security laws that apply to the rental property, such as requirements for deadbolt locks on doors, good lighting, and window locks.
- Realistically assess the crime situation in and around the rental property and neighborhood and design a security system that provides reasonable protection for the tenants. Local police departments, insurance companies, and private security professionals can provide useful advice on security measures.
- Educate tenants about crime problems in the neighborhood, and describe the security measures provided and their limitations.
- Maintain the rental property and conduct regular inspections to spot and fix any security problems, such as broken locks or burned out exterior lights.
- Handle tenant complaints about dangerous situations, suspicious activities, or broken security items immediately. Failing to do this may saddle you with a higher level of legal liability should a tenant be injured by a criminal act after a relevant complaint is made.
- If additional security requires a rent hike, discuss the situation with your tenants. Many tenants will pay more for a safer place to live.
While some of these measures may be costly, the money spent today on effective crime-prevention measures may pale in comparison to the costs that may result from crime on the premises. Settlements paid by insurance companies for horrific crimes such as rape and assault are typically hundreds of thousands of dollars — and jury awards are even higher.