As a property owner or landlord, it can be hard to determine whether the cost of an alarm system is worth the benefit it can provide for your renters. While it may seem more relevant to worry about your own belongings and allow your tenants to worry about their own, alarm systems for rental properties can prove to benefit you as a landlord just as much as your tenants. Consider these pros and cons of installing alarm systems for your rental properties.
It’s a selling point
Many times, landlords simply give the perception of safety to their tenants by adding outdoor lighting, a deadbolt and a peephole to their rental properties. However, a skilled burglar knows his or her way around a typical rental set up, and is not easily deterred by superficial safety precautions.
By providing an alarm system for rental properties, you give your renters significantly more peace of mind, and thereby increase the perceived value of your rental property. An alarm system can be a big selling point for certain prospective tenants and is likely to set your property apart from the rest by providing an added layer of protection. It also shows that you as their landlord are concerned for their safety and are going above and beyond what is required to protect their belongings while they are leasing your property.
The lease can cover the cost
While the upfront cost of an alarm system can seem daunting, you can pass this cost onto your tenants by including an alarm system clause in your lease. Be sure to be clear about who is paying for what, as installation, equipment and monitoring costs are all different elements. It may be wise to simply purchase and install the equipment and give your tenants the option to sign up for alarm system monitoring if they wish, so that you do not have any periods of time between renters when you are covering the monthly costs. On the other hand, you may want to be the owner of the contract to protect your investment while it is vacant. This cost can always be billed back to your renter when it is occupied, provided that you include this in your lease agreement. Most renters will be willing to pay a few extra dollars every month for the benefit of an alarm system.
It will attract safety-minded tenants
It’s always comforting to know that the person or people to whom you are renting your space prioritize the protection of their assets. If your tenants find value in securing their home and their belongings, it is likely that they will respect your property as well.
It can protect your investment long-term
In addition to providing security for you tenants and their belongings, an alarm system can also be used to protect your property as a whole. Features such as smoke, carbon monoxide, flood and humidity sensors can all be added to most alarm systems, alerting you whenever your property is being compromised. These capabilities can prevent a number of costly repairs or insurance claims, potentially saving you money, or even the loss of your property, in the long run.
In addition, even if your tenants never take advantage of the alarm system that you provide, the signage and window decals that come along with most alarm systems are significant deterrents for intruders in and of themselves.
Upfront and ongoing costs
While the upfront cost of an alarm system can be amortized over the term of your tenant’s lease, the immediate impact on your budget should be taken into account when purchasing an alarm system for rental properties. In addition, in the event of a false alarm, which is often outside of your control in a landlord-tenant situation, the police department will often charge a fee to the alarm system owner to prevent it from happening again in the future. While this can be billed back to your tenant, be sure to include the details in your lease to avoid a dispute.
Also, if you choose to sign up for an alarm system monitoring agreement while your property is between renters, you will be assuming this cost during its vacancy.
It might not be used
With the money and time that is invested into alarm systems for rental properties, it can be disappointing if a renter does not take advantage of the system. There’s no way to know whether your tenant is actually using your system, wasting time and money you spent installing it. This can lead to a false sense of security on your end, especially in regards to the added benefits of protecting your investment, as well as your tenant’s personal property. In reality, even though you and/or your tenant are paying for added protection, you may not be getting that protection at all if the alarm system is not properly used.
While you as a rental property owner or landlord have no obligation to provide an alarm system to your tenants, it can prove to be a valuable addition to your investment and can help to attract the type of tenants you would like to rent your space. With a carefully crafted lease, an alarm system does not have to become a significant cost and can even help prevent costly damages to your property over time.