Along with the holiday cheer and festive spirits each winter, comes a few Grinches that seem to think the holidays are a good time to threaten the safety of your renters, their belongings and your property.
According to CNN, December is a peak month for burglaries as folks leave homes unattended during the holidays. A majority of theft takes place in the weeks closest to Christmas, when homes are sure to be full of gifts. In 2011, losses averaged $1,675 per break-in according to the FBI.
To help your renters stay safe and their belongings secure, be sure to pass along these safety tips to deter burglars from your rental property.
1. Keep the Lights On
Burglars prefer to rob homes that are unoccupied. You can give the appearance of being home by installing two or three light timers inside your home, and use timers to turn on a TV or radio while you’re out for the day or night. Outlet timers can be found on Amazon for under $20.
2. Don’t Let the Windows Slide
All accessible windows and glass patio doors that slide sideways should have a metal rod or solid wooden closet dowel inserted into the track. If your renter has moved this rod, remind them to put it back in its track.
3. Hide Your Tree and Presents
While it might be tempting to display your Christmas tree in front of a window-facing street, this is a tempting invitation to burglars who will be able to see the stack of presents underneath. Keeping trees and presents out of sight from windows is the most secure option.
4. Be Extra Neighborly
If you are going to be away for several days on vacation during the holidays, ask a neighbor to collect all newspapers left on your driveway, doorstep or doorknob while you are gone. This step will provide one less tip-off to thieves that you are out of town.
5. Keep Your Social Media Boring
Watch your social media updates and avoid mentioning travel plans or posting pictures of awesome presents. Location tags and hashtags like #blessed #thankful #spoiled can make you an easy target for burglars trolling Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
6. Be Careful of Your Trash
Do not place empty boxes from expensive gifts such as computers, stereo equipment, DVD players, etc., out on the street with your garbage after the holidays. This may indicate to burglars on the prowl that you have something worth stealing. Break down the boxes, cut them up, and conceal them in plastic garbage bags before placing them in your garbage cans.
7. Watch out For Scammers
Be careful who you open the door for this time of year. Burglars have been known to go door-to-door claiming to sell something or pretending to be a city utility worker, looking for houses with lots of gifts. If someone knocks on the door, step outside your house to talk to them and try not to let them get a glimpse inside.
8. Get Renters Insurance
Your renters may still not know the benefits of renters insurance, including the replacement of items stolen from their home or even their car. Remind your renters to get renters insurance to be prepared for a worst case scenario.
9. Keep Your Landlord in the Loop
If you notice any suspicious behavior let your landlord know. Your property manager or landlord will also benefit from knowing when you will be out of town, so they to can keep an eye on the property.
These tips are good for any time of year, not just the holidays. Remember, the safer the experience your renters have at your property, the more likely they will be to renew their lease. Demonstrating the value and emphasis you have for their safety and well-being is an important part of your landlord-tenant relationship.
If your renters do experience a break-in, here’s an article for what you need to do next – HELP! There’s Been a Break-In at My Rental Property.