Does it make sense to install security as a landlord?

4 Replies

We are getting ready to rent out our first property which is a 3 unit and we're thinking it would be a good idea for the property to have a security system in place.  It's right on the edge of the very desirable location of the neighborhood and a portion of the neighborhood that hasn't completely transitioned yet.  Does is makes sense for use as a landlord to have a security system installed to monitor each of the 3 units or is this something we should leave up to the tenants? 

I can see this cutting both ways. People that are used to having security systems feel exposed without them. People who aren't used to them will see it as a sign that the neighborhood is dangerous and may be put off.

Also, are you talking about a stand alone system that just sounds an alarm, or a monitored system that will require a monthly fee? If the latter, would you be paying for it, or the tenant? What would the upfront costs/ongoing costs actually be?

I wouldn't do if for a couple of reasons

1) I have found that these extras add cost the the landlord but don't add rent. Sometimes it makes it easier to rent but not always.

2) provide questions in the tenants mind of why is a security system needed unless it is normal in the neighborhood.

3) undo liability for the landlord. I am very careful not illusion anything and writing things on an as that could get me in trouble. For example is you write "safe" and they get robbed you open yourself up to being sued.. We have 2 houses in a gated community. I write nothing beyond Iin a gated communtjy 

Just my thoughts

Sometimes a tenant will want to install their own security system for their unit and the landlord will want to install a security & surveillance system for the outside premises, especially in the case of a multiplex.

Seems it would be a good idea to establish a policy as to how you would handle security system requests from tenants.  Check out www.simplisafe.com as an option for your tenants.  Otherwise, figure out what the installation of other systems might entail before letting an outside company drill holes and attach devices to your property.

As the owner of the property, I would take reasonable steps to make sure the property is secure.  Outdoor lighting, landscaping trimmed back, good door locks and window locks, fencing, etc.  If there is a real need, add surveillance cameras.  Let your tenants and the neighbors know you value safety, give them your contact information and ask them to call you at the first sign of trouble. Establish a good relationship with local law enforcement.

If you do have one installed shop around for the monitoring fees. Don't limit yourself to the "big" guys either. I used to work for a smaller custom home theater/low voltage installation company that charged considerably lower rates and actually used the same monitoring companies that the larger alarm companies use. You will likely get better service too.  Also, don't overlook the ability to tie in water, smoke/fire, and carbon monoxide sensors into the monitoring if you have a system installed. In fact, check with your insurance agent. You may even get a discount.

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