Property Management Security: Top Tips for Securing Vacant Properties

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Property Management Security: Top Tips for Securing Vacant Properties

Reprinted from American Alarm

Whether you manage or own apartment buildings, condos, single-family homes, or commercial buildings, securing properties when they are vacant is as important as keeping them protected when they are occupied.

Vacant properties are vulnerable.

They may attract unwanted guests and become tempting for burglars. Even without personal property inside, appliances, AC components, and pipes can be stolen for money.

Some people take pleasure in vandalism, and vacant properties make the perfect target. Your property could end up covered in graffiti. Windows, doors, and walls can also be destroyed. Fire and water damage are additional concerns to think about.

Luckily, there are ways you can secure your vacant property to avoid these issues.

Simulate a human presence

Vacant property shouldn’t look like vacant property. Creating a human presence in and around the property can help deter people who want to squat or do damage.

Create a human presence by:

  • Stopping by the property on a regular basis to pick up mail, tidy up the yard, and pick up any debris or litter that may have accumulated
  • Keeping the blinds closed
  • Automating lights, inside and outside
  • Automating lawn sprinklers
  • Adding chairs to the front porch
  • Putting holiday decor on the front door at Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc.
  • Automating sounds, such as a radio

According to USSV Security on LinkedIn, empty commercial properties are twice as likely to be burglarized or vandalized compared to occupied properties, and an estimated 70% of vacant commercial properties experience unauthorized entry or squatting, so taking steps to secure vacant properties and make them look lived in makes a difference.

Install a security system

Security systems are an effective way to secure both residential and commercial properties. With a system in place, you can remotely monitor the property from wherever you are in real time, and you can look back at recordings in the event something occurs.

You also have the ability to remotely manage functions such as lighting with a smart home-capable security system, which is ideal for times you can’t visit the property.

Pair indoor security cameras with motion detectors to capture any activity within the property. You can configure outdoor cameras in the same way, with the added action of turning on a porch light if someone comes to the front door.

Video doorbells make a great addition to your security system. You can interact with anyone who comes to the vacant property’s front door from wherever you are.

Make use of access control

Changing locks and access codes is important once your property has been vacated since you don’t know whether previous tenants have shared these details. In addition to protecting your property, if you have a multifamily dwelling, changing locks and codes ensures the safety of the other residents and staff. An access control system makes managing these changes simple and efficient.

Changing locks can be a hassle if people move in and out frequently. Consider key cards, portable fobs, passcodes, and app-based digital keys to make changing access easier for everyone involved. If you have a lockbox on the door of your property to allow entry to specific people, make sure to change that code regularly, too.

Securing vacant properties means protecting your investment. Implementing the above tips will help you avoid paying for repairs, replacing appliances and other items, and the legal cost of evicting squatters.

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