Owning a vacation rental at the beach or on the lake can be a great investment. Not only do owners get an income from rent, but they also gain a lot of tax benefits to offset the cost of purchasing and maintaining the property. On top of that, they get a vacation home to visit whenever they want.
Despite these benefits, there are some risks involved in owning and maintaining a vacation rental. One of the biggest challenges is keeping the property secure, especially during the off-season or between tenants. The following are a few tips for keeping your rental secure year-round.
Most property crimes are crimes of opportunity. Burglars are looking for places that are easy to get into and out of without being seen. To make your property less of a target, consider two factors: landscaping and lighting.
If trees and bushes hide the entrance, consider thinning them out or cutting them down altogether. In addition, make sure the grass is cut regularly. An overgrown lawn draws attention to the fact that a rental property is most likely empty and may not be secured.
There are several ways to use lighting to make a property more secure. Timer-controlled lights or smart lights make an empty house or apartment look occupied. Outdoor lighting increases visibility around entry points, and motion-censored lights can illuminate other areas of the property as needed.
Use Security Cameras
Monitored security cameras also help protect a property. Security cameras can catch trespassers and would-be burglars on film, and whoever is monitoring the feed can contact the police immediately. Security cameras need light or night-vision capability, and they should focus on entryways and any areas of low visibility.
Indoor cameras are also useful for monitoring an empty property, but tenants may see them as an invasion of privacy. For tenants’ safety, consider installing a doorbell camera.
Rekey Locks As Necessary
There are two ways to change the locks on a rental property. One option is to replace the old lock with a brand new one. A less costly and less time-consuming option is to rekey the lock. A locksmith rekeys a lock by altering the arrangement of pins inside the lock to fit a new key. The original key will no longer open a rekeyed lock.
It’s always a good idea to rekey a lock after someone loses a key. In addition, many vacation rental property owners have locks rekeyed between tenants, after renovations, or after a change in maintenance staff. Rekeying a lock is a quick and effective security solution when a lock is in good condition. If the lock is old and outdated, replacement may be a better option.
Replace And Upgrade Old Locks
The internal mechanism of a lock will wear down over time due to the constant friction of the key. Eventually, the key will no longer turn easily. When it’s time to replace a lock, you can increase the security of your property by upgrading to a more secure type of lock. A locksmith can change house locks and make sure you get the best locks for your budget and your needs.
A simple door-knob lock offers the lowest level of security. Nowadays, knob locks on exterior doors are rare, but some older homes may still have them. If your rental property was built before deadbolts became standard, make sure to add deadbolts to every exterior door. While some deadbolts can be broken into with the right tools, they are resistant to most common lock-picking methods. Also, a deadbolt prevents an intruder from simply kicking a door open.
Another type of lock to consider is a keyless lock that opens with a code or a fingerprint scan. Smart locks, which can be controlled via a mobile app, have additional security features like the ability to change the entry code at any time.
Make Sure Glass Doors And Windows Are Secure
Glass doors and windows are points of vulnerability, so it’s important to make them as secure as possible. If a door is locked but there is a window nearby, a burglar may break the window rather than take the time to pick the lock.
One good deterrent is shatter-proof film. This film binds to the glass and holds it in place when the glass breaks. Though a determined burglar can eventually breach the film, it will take time and increase the risk of detection.
Just like windows, sliding glass doors benefit from shatter-proof film, but they also need strong locks. Most sliding doors come with a mortise lock, which is not as secure as a deadbolt. If your vacation rental property has a sliding glass door, add a deadbolt lock and a rod that lies between the sliding door and the door frame.
Other Security Tips
The following are a few more tips for maximizing the security of your vacation rental.
- “For Rent” signs in the window or yard indicate that a property is empty to passersby. Instead of using signs, advertise the rental on a secure online platform.
- When posting photos on a website, take care not to show the house number or address.
- Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property and notify you or the police if anything looks amiss. Alternatively, consider hiring a property manager.
- Consider investing in a monitored home security system.
- Keep the curtains and blinds closed when the rental property is empty.
- Make an inventory of all your possessions and review your insurance policy to make sure you have sufficient coverage.
Work With A Trusted Locksmith
Whether you need to repair, rekey, or replace a lock, a professional locksmith is your best resource for keeping your vacation home safe year round. An experienced locksmith who knows the area well can advise you about the best locks for your needs and discuss the pros and cons of various security measures. Knowing your vacation home is secure when you’re not there can ease your mind and increase your enjoyment of the property.