Home security for rental tenants
April 1, 2021
If you’re looking to upgrade home security in your own home, your biggest consideration will be budget, but what if you are renting the property? This article explores the topic of home security for rental tenants. We start by looking at who is responsible for security upgrades, before exploring some good security upgrade options that tenants can do themselves as well as measures landlords can take to make their tenants feel safer and ultimately raise the value of their property.
Who is responsible for home security?
In a competitive rental market, it makes sense for a landlord to provide adequate security that will make their property a more attractive proposal for prospective tenants. But when it comes to the question of who is responsible for home security there isn’t a clear directive.
Responsibilities of the landlord
According to the The Rental Housing Act and Unfair Practices Regulations, a landlord has a legal obligation to provide a property that is reasonably fit for the purpose for which it is being let. And this would include ensuring that the property is relatively secure. It is also important to consider that the property is the landlord’s asset, and so it makes sense for them to incur the costs to ensure the property is secure for their tenants.
Responsibilities of the tenant
While the onus is on the landlord to ensure that the property is secure, what this constitutes might be up to the views of the tenant. If a tenant feels as though a property is not secure enough they should make this clear and negotiate with the landlord prior to signing the lease. In most cases the landlord will comply with the tenants request within reason, however this begs the question, what are the tenants rights if the landlord refuses to cover the full costs of security upgrades?
Can a rental tenant get their own home security?
Under certain circumstances, a tenant may have the option of installing their own security upgrades. It is however essential that any changes made to the property are first communicated to the landlord or rental agent and written permission is given. This rule of thumb should apply to any security feature that requires installation or physical alteration of the building. In these cases the landlord may request that any upgrades are removed prior to the tenant moving out or are left in the building.
For example, if a tenant decides to install a lockable window or door latch like a LockLatch, MIniLatch or PetLatch, they will need to attach it with either rivets or one way screws, so they should make sure that the landlord is on board before installing this type of security measure.
What home security options are available for rental tenants?
Luckily, if you are a tenant who is feeling like your rented space isn’t safe enough there are some security upgrade options that are easy to install and uninstall, meaning that they can be easily removed when your lease is up and taken to your next property. Even though these are not permanent features, for many of them it is still important to get permission from your landlord just to be sure. If you are looking for more options why not read more here.
Wireless security devices can come in a variety of forms, but are usually small cameras that connect to your smartphone. There are a wide variety of options available from local retailers ranging from smaller sets to complete security solutions, so you can find one that fits your security needs and your budget. The best thing about these high tech devices is that they can be easily taken down and moved to your next property.
Removable locks also come in a variety of different styles to fit different types of doors. Options range from barricades and braces to deadbolts, which all add an extra layer of security to the home. Many of these types of locks will require some form of installation, so always remember to ask permission first.
Added window latches / locks
Window latches and locks function in a similar way to door locks by making it just a little bit more difficult to enter your property. While the style of the security measure is wholly dependent on the type of window you are trying to secure there are some options like LockLatch or MiniLatch, which are designed to fit onto any type of window. These versatile locks install in minutes, and allow you to keep the window secure while it is slightly ajar, to let fresh air in, but keep intruders out.
While it is still better to have your safe secured, an unmounted safe makes it just that little bit harder for a burglar to get hold of your valuables. Heavy safes are cumbersome to carry and move around and burglars are generally looking for an easy target. While it isn’t foolproof it adds a further layer of security.
Security door latches
Security door latches are similar to window latches in that they provide a way for you to secure your doors while keeping them slightly open. Devices such as LockLatch, PetLatch or MiniLatch feature adjustable C-304 stainless steel arms making them perfect for apartments with poor ventilation, where an open door can provide a steady flow of fresh air.
Solar lighting for the garden
If you have a garden then solar security lights are a great way to scare off potential home invaders before they can gain access to your property. These types of lights come with motion sensors so they can scare off burglars or just simply as a way to shed more light on the property. The best part is they won’t increase your electricity bill.
Security options for owners
If you are the owner of a rental property the temptation may be to try and reduce costs when it comes to providing security for your tenants, but this is actually a short-sighted approach. Crime is a daily reality in South Africa and improving the security of your property in a noticeable way can lead to happier tenants as well as increasing the rental value of the property itself.
Burglar bars are almost an essential security element in South Africa. The reason for this is that (depending on the style and quality) they are a really effective deterrent for preventing access onto your property. But these big security benefits don’t come without some drawbacks, burglar bars are ugly and can be costly to install. If these are barriers for you then a lockable window or door latch is a good alternative.
Wired alarm system
A wired alarm system is one security measure that really improves the rental value of a property and every landlord should consider installing one. While you will pay for the hardware and installation the security upside is huge, and if you are concerned about the costs of a corresponding armed response company you can often pass these costs onto your tenants or build them into the rental price.
Security gates are another great way to make a property more secure but come with the same drawbacks as burglar bars. They can be quite expensive if you consider the gate and installation and the body corporates of some apartment complexes may not allow them at all. In these instances, a lockable door latch like LockLatch or PetLatch provides a good way to secure your door from possible intruders.
An alarm system isn’t just there to make a noise if someone breaks in, but should be linked to an armed response or security company. Often just having the sign indicating armed response is a deterrent to an opportunistic thief. It will provide your tenants with even more peace of mind and a safe tenant is a happy tenant.