Landlording & Rental Properties

Security Matters: Why Attracting Tenants Is About More Than Service

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Marketing, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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What’s the secret to attracting the best tenants? Many real estate agents and landlords think it’s all about services and amenities. Top tenants have the ability to focus on location, school quality, appliances, recent upgrades, and other features that tenants with lesser standing have to put on the back burner.

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But when it comes to recruiting top-quality residents, property quality isn’t the only thing that matters. How you run your business, especially in regards to factors like data security, is becoming increasingly important in light of recent high-profile data breaches.

What are potential tenants looking for when it comes to security? At each of the following three levels, they want to see your management procedures working to keep their data safe.

Related: 13 Proactive Ways to Increase Rent & Add Value to Your Rental Property

Screening Practices

Screening credit, checking references, and running background checks will be among the first interactions you’ll likely have with future tenants. While unsavory tenants might wish you’d skip this step, the best residents are glad you’re working to create a secure residential community. At the same time, they also want to know you’re observing the best screening practices.

Maintaining data security on the screening level typically means using an outside agency. Ask potential tenants to submit their information to a secure external site, not directly to you. It's important that you show all exchanges are on the up and up, especially if you're an independent landlord; that's why the screening industry exists.


In addition to the screening process, tenants form their opinions about a property – and the property manager – through simple communications like email. Sure, they like to see community-building efforts like an updated property Facebook page or Twitter account, but from a security standpoint, these aren't at the heart of the matter. Rather, security and communication converge around email.

With that in mind, make sure you’re putting forth a professional front in all your messages. Also keep in mind that there are serious risks to using email, especially if you’re asking for any sensitive information. Business email attacks are on the rise. It’s your job to protect your tenants from such attacks.

All property managers should employ advanced email encryption equipped with anti-phishing capabilities for professional emails. Though encryption practices may not be obvious to all tenants, those who are aware of the potential risks will notice your efforts.

Related: 12 Steps to Quickly Filling Your Rentals (& Keeping Them Full!)

Rent Collection

From a data perspective, financial exchanges are among the most sensitive aspects of property management, so it’s important that your rent collection practices are completely secure. Since more rent collection is done online now, tenants can’t rely on the fact that they’re writing a check when seeking assurance about the movement of funds. They need to see that you’re using an encrypted, vetted program for rent collection.

Most other industries are far ahead of real estate in adopting appropriate cybersecurity practices, so each landlord needs to do his or her due diligence in choosing programs for protecting tenants.

What will you choose to set your properties apart from the pack? It’s time to think beyond physical appeal and consider how you demonstrate responsibility through your digital presence. Share some of your strategies below!

Larry is an independent, full-time writer and consultant. His writing covers a broad range of topics including business, investment and technology. His contributions include
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