How to Make Your Tenants Feel Safe in Your Single-Family Investment Home

April 7, 2023 TCSMgmt

How to Make Your Tenants Feel Safe in Your Single-Family Investment Home

Safety will always need to be a priority when you’re renting out a home to tenants. The property itself has to be in good condition and free of any issues that could cause harm or lead to accidents. Your tenants also need to stay safe inside the property. 

When it’s vacant, your investment could be especially vulnerable. There’s no one in place to report maintenance issues, and it might be a target for vandals or criminals. 

As professional property managers in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Cherry Hill, and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we think about safety a lot. This is an especially urgent concern for single-family rental homes. In a multi-family property, there are always other tenants around who will be quick to notice someone unfamiliar or something suspicious happening at the property. In a single-family home, your tenants are basically on their own.

Here are some important ways to keep your single-family investment property safe when it’s occupied by tenants. 

Change the Locks before Tenants Move In

 It’s hard for tenants to feel safe when other people have a copy of their keys. 

Change the locks on your doors every time a new tenant is preparing to move in. This should be part of your turnover process. Re-keying the property protects your new tenants, and it also protects your property. You’ll collect keys from departing tenants, but you never know how many copies were made and who those keys were handed out to. 

Get new keys or install smart locks or a digital keypad, which allows you to change the combination between tenants. You want to limit who has access to the property. Only you and your tenants should have the keys or access codes.

Peepholes, Bolting Locks, and Sliders for Screen Doors

While we’re on the topic of keys and limiting access to anyone who may try to enter the rental property, consider upgrading the locking mechanisms at your rental property. This will keep tenants safer. It may impact your insurance rates as well. 

Does your front door have a peephole? This can make tenants feel extra safe by providing a way for them to see who is at the door before they open it. Any exterior door will ideally have a peephole for tenant safety. 

If your doors do not currently have peepholes and you’re not interested in installing them, there’s another option. You can upgrade the technology at your investment property and install a video doorbell. These are growing in popularity, especially among neighborhoods with single-family homes. 

Most residents will love this feature. The video doorbell records who is outside, and tenants can use their phones or computers to check and see who is ringing the bell or dropping off a package or knocking on the door. Even if they’re not at home, tenants will know who is at the door. This can be helpful for tracking package delivery as well.  

Bolt locks will go a long way towards helping tenants feel safe. You can secure your external doors easily with bolts. This protects your tenants at night, when all residents are inside the house and sleeping. You can buy larger screws for bolt locks which will deter potential burglars who might try to break through the bolt and open the door. 

In addition to bolts, you’ll need a way for tenants to feel safe about their sliding doors, screen doors, or patio doors. Look for something that slides into place to keep the door from being opened from the outside. You can also find a multi-point locking system so that the door can only be locked from the inside and not the outside. 

Install Smoke Detectors Properly

A safe single-family rental home has working smoke detectors that are strategically placed throughout the property. 

There are legal requirements to pay attention to when it comes to smoke detectors and tenant safety in a rental home. 

    • In Pennsylvania, a rental property must have at least one working smoke detector on each floor of the property, including the basement and attic. The minimum one smoke detector is in addition to any smoke detectors legally required near bedrooms. A smoke detector must also be installed within 15 feet of every bedroom in a rental property. 
    • In New Jersey, your single-family home must include a smoke alarm on every level of the home. Including the basement and the attic. The state also requires that they’re no more than 10 feet outside of each separate sleeping area.

Carbon monoxide detectors are also necessary to keep tenants safe. In New Jersey, they must be within 10 feet of sleeping areas in every home or guest house that contains a fuel- burning appliance or has an attached garage. In Pennsylvania, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed by landlords in any rental home that has an attached garage, fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance, or fireplace.

Provide an Exterior that’s Well-Lit 

lightingGood lighting outside of your single-family home will also keep tenants safe. For example, you need enough lighting outside your property so tenants can safely get from the driveway to the front door, or even from the street to the front door. If you have a garage, make sure the garage has lights on inside of it and on the outside. 

Keep a bright porch light so tenants aren’t surprised by knocks on the door at night. Studies have shown that well-lit homes are less likely to be victimized by criminals. Think about installing motion lights, especially on garages, sheds, or other outbuildings. 

Keeping tenants safe is a priority for all rental property owners, and we’d love to tell you more about how we help our owners provide a secure residential environment in single-family homes. Contact us at TCS Management.

TCS Management is a full service property management company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also serving Harrisburg, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, Wilmington, Delaware and the surrounding areas. We focus on single-family and multifamily residential property management of homes, condos, townhomes, and apartment buildings.

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