Apartment and Condo Community crime rates are on the rise, as developments without adequate security measures, and properly researched tenants are falling victim to on-property offenses. Simple safety measures and precautions can be taken to ensure that your neighbors and residents are safer in their homes, and that your Property Managers have all of the information needed when making leasing decisions.
Some items to consider are: does your property have security cameras? If not, is the area outside well-lit? If the entrance is not gated, and there is not money in the budget to do so, how are the individual locks kept up-to-date? Do managers hold community meetings to provide information on how residents can protect themselves and their families? Using your community to help report suspicious activity, and follow their instincts can be greatly beneficial. Make sure your property is working with a Crime Free Program (http://www.crime-free-association.org/) and that your managers communicate with Police Departments in their area.
Other items to be aware of:
- Watch out for gross inconsistencies in their application
- Watch out for Friday afternoon applicants who say they must move in that very weekend
- Create a Guest Visitation Policy
- Maintain the community’s common areas
- Know your residents
- House Rules - i.e.: curfew, laundry room and pool operating hours
Community meetings to educate the residents prove extremely beneficial in bringing awareness to the families affected by on-property crime. Communication is key, as well as being properly informed. Certain screening services also work closely with local Police Departments to issue alerts in neighborhoods, and send out Amber and Silver Alerts to Property Managers.
The International Crime Free Association’s Multi-Housing Division was created in 1992 in an effort to prevent crime on properties. Local Police Officers work together with Property Managers and Owners to help educate on proper crime prevention techniques; such as how to properly screen applicants, design changes that can discourage crime, and offer manager and community awareness training. In most cases Police Officers are more likely to recommend renting from a property that has completed and implemented the program, as they know it is more likely to be a safe alternative.
Even if your property is located in what you deem to be a safe neighborhood, it only takes one bad egg to commit a crime that can ruin the reputation of your community. Many crimes committed may not even be from the tenants themselves, but from unauthorized guests or roommates. Proxy renters are also an issue, as they are renters with excellent credit whose name is used on the lease, application and documents, but who rent on behalf of someone who does not want their name on a lease, such as drug dealers, sex offenders and sex traffickers. Remember that any process put in place should be applied across the board with every applicant, not just the ones that you think might be problematic.
After protecting the safety of everyone involved in your property, other issues to consider that are the outcome of on-property crimes are: decline in property values, the costs of from a bad resident (repair, eviction) and the loss of valued residents. Remember - communication, education, and shared information are all key aspects of making your investment property as safe as possible for everyone who lives and works there. There are socially responsible companies out there who want to help protect communities, and your investments.
| The Rent Rite Directory ® (RRD) first launched as a free Incident Reporting website in 2010, by Joe Killinger and George Pino (founders of Learning Links Centers, a Real Estate Investment company). The site is nationwide and accessible to landlords, property managers, and brokers for an up to date database that keeps everyone informed about tenants who commit lease violations, skips, and even proxy renters (those who sign leases on behalf of tenants that would not otherwise be qualified to rent i.e.: drug dealers, sex offenders). The RRD has since introduced Tenant Screening services, to support the free version of the site, which compile the information from the Incident Reporting database with National Credit and Criminal Reports. |
The Rent Rite Directory® also invests a substantial amount of time working with local Police Departments issuing Amber and Silver Alerts to their communities with their Neighborhood Email Alert System. The RRD educates at Crime Watch Meetings to effectively prepare Property Managers, Brokers, and Landlords on how to screen for quality residents, in an effort to help eliminate crime within their communities, and has been recognized by the Community Development Department of the city of San Bernardino, and by the International Crime Free Association. The website has been overwhelmingly received, with clients in 20 states and 148 metros, in just under two years.