Whether you’re new to owning investment rental properties in Chicago, or you’ve been involved with it for many years, one issue that keeps evolving is the topic of security—how to keep both your tenants and the property itself safe. That can mean keeping it safe from intruders as well as protecting yourself from liability from tenants, and when you’re a landlord or property owner, it’s important to maintain secure buildings. Not only does it make your life easier, but it can save you money over time, particularly if you don’t have to replace or repair things that are damaged, stolen, or broken. As a property management company in Chicago, we at Lofty see the different ways that landlords and investors protect their properties, and we’re happy to pass the most helpful tips we’ve seen on to you.
Check Crime Stats Before Buying
Perhaps the biggest and easiest bit of advice to give is that before you commit to purchasing a property, check out the crime stats around it. What you do with the information will be up to you, but knowing what’s common around the area will inform you on how to protect tenants from potential problems. For instance, a slightly higher crime rate may be encouragement to set up security cameras/alarms, motion-sensor lights, or other security-increasing products.
Don’t be scared off by any crime appearing on a crime report though—the fact is that crime is unfortunately everywhere, but knowing about it will allow you to ensure your tenants and property is better protected.
Install Fixtures that Increase Safety and Security
Along that line, the biggest way to increase safety and security at your buildings is by installing various security measures:
- Call boxes at the front door to allow guests to be buzzed in, rather than unlocked main doors that lead to locked apartment doors—this weakness in security is one too big to overlook, so if you’re not interested in a call box, at least make sure that the main entryway door is locked at all times.
- Security cameras should be installed near entryways, bike racks, fire escapes (especially if they go all the way to the ground level and are easily accessed), and parking lots. These areas should be well lit, as well.
- Motion sensing lights can be installed around entrances and other points on the property that need additional security, as well as parts of the bulding’s interior that aren’t frequented as often, like basement laundry rooms or storage areas.
- Window bars can be installed on ground level windows for additional security. These can be decorative, as well—no need to worry about unsightly additions to your property.
- Intercom systems can help prevent people who are strangers from being let in by well-meaning neighbors. This way, visitors can contact the party they’re visiting and gain access, but people with nefarious motives won’t be able to gain access—be sure to stress to tenants not to allow entry to unexpected visitors or strangers.
- Alarm systems that will go off in the event of unauthorized entry, as well as visible signage detailing these systems’ presence can help prevent criminal activity.
Protect Yourself: Make Sure the Property is Well-Maintained
Beyond installing things that keep tenants safe, a way that you can ensure you are protected is by making sure that the property is well maintained and safe to patronize.
Check on things like whether doors and windows lock properly, whether staircases are safe, and whether common areas are secure—making sure of these things can help prevent you from being liable for issues like injuries, break-ins, or theft. If your investment property in Chicago is well-protected from crime and other safety issues, you’re set. Talking to your property management company can shed some light on the various ways you can increase security to protect both your tenants and yourself.
Use a Property Management Company in Chicago to Help Protect Your Building
One more way you can protect your property is by working with a Chicago property management company. Beyond simply advising you on ways to make your buildings more secure, they can dispatch any necessary contractors or response teams if a problem ever does arise.
Property managers will be able to offer their own tips for safety and security based on where your building is located, as well—different parts of the city may require different security measures. For instance, if you’re used to dealing with securing outdoor parking lots, but purchase a building in a part of the city that offers underground or covered parking, there may be steps to take that you might not think of. Property management companies have experience dealing with a wide range of property types, and will be able to offer you advice based on the specific property you have bought.
Getting Help from a Property Manager
Whether you’re gearing up to buy a new investment property, you just did, or you have a list of buildings you want some assistance with, a Chicago property management company can be a great help. At Lofty, our goal is to ensure that our investors and clients live the lives they deserve, and that means taking care of the everyday aspects of property ownership as well as bigger tasks like updating security at newly-acquired properties. From helping you find great tenants to contracting out installation of security systems and beyond, we’re dedicated to making sure you enjoy owning investment properties.
Contact us today to learn more about the ways we help investors in Chicago.
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