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Just for Property Managers

By Amber

Installing an alarm system for your rental property can act as a value-add for incoming residents and make current renters extremely happy. Read on for more reasons why residents will be pleased to see a security alarm on the list of your property’s amenities.

A sense of security

Most residents would welcome the chance to add a little extra peace of mind to their daily routine. A rental property with a security system shows that the landlord cares about the safety of his or her residents — a gesture you get credit for, even if you’re not the one who installed the system! Keep in mind that a pre-installed system may be a must to attract conscientious residents who care to protect their personal belongings, if your property is located in a busy area.

How to manage the cost

Hard-wired alarm systems are the most economical and stable, though the cost and effectiveness of wireless systems continues to improve. You can cover the cost of installing the alarm system by offsetting it in your rental price.

Allowing your residents to activate the system with their own alarm contract will keep you from having to absorb any post-installation costs, though maintaining the system (via normal wear and tear) will probably fall under landlord maintenance requirements, unless you state otherwise in your lease agreement.

Alarm contracts can go from as short as month-to-month to as long as five years, though for most residents, the shortest term makes the most sense. If you decide to install a system, look for a reputable company that will allow month-to-month contracts for your residents.

If your resident wants to install

Some landlords are reluctant to give permission for a resident to install a security system on their property. There are ways to protect yourself while benefiting from a system your resident pays for, however. To start, be sure to have your resident fill out an alarm system installation policy and permission form. The form makes the resident responsible for the professionalism of the installation and removes landlord liability for property damage from an improper installation or if an injury occurs during installation.

This form also formalizes the resident’s obligation to furnish the landlord with the security code and states that the system will either be properly removed at the end of the resident’s lease or that arrangements will be made for the owner to keep the system. If you plan to keep the system, be sure to specify it in writing.

As landlord, you can also require that you be present for the installation so that you can make sure there is no damage to your property in the process.

Installing an alarm system for your property can feel like an unnecessary expense up-front. Like other improvements, however, the cost of installation can be rolled into your lease structure, while this amenity can help you secure the quality clients you’re looking for in the future.

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