Landlords in most states have some degree of legal
responsibility to protect their tenants from crime. The best way that landlords
can avoid liability
for losses from crime is to prevent criminal acts in the first place. These
tips will help you do just that, and most don’t cost a lot of money. And keep
in mind, whatever you spend on effective crime-prevention measures will pale in
comparison to the costs (such as increased insurance premiums or high tenant
turnover) that could result from crime on the premises.
- Meet or exceed requirements for safety devices,
such as deadbolt locks, interior and exterior lighting, and window locks
imposed by state
and local housing law.
- Provide and maintain adequate security measures
based on an analysis of the vulnerability of your property and neighborhood. In
some cases, this may mean sturdy front and apartment door locks, good interior
and exterior lighting, and neat and compact landscaping that doesn’t obscure
entryways. Depending on the circumstances and your property, you may want to
install window bars or a security system. If your tenants will pay more rent if
you make the building safer, do so.
up management practices to make your tenants and property safer—for example, practice
strict key control in your rental property.
your manager and employees (if any) on how to avoid dangerous situations and
correct worrisome ones.
- Inspect the premises regularly to spot security
problems, and ask tenants for their suggestions. Get advice from experts as
well, such as local police departments.
- Quickly respond to tenants’ suggestions and
complaints about security. If an important component of your security systems
breaks, fix it on an emergency basis and provide appropriate alternative
- Be aware of threats to tenants’ security from
the manager or other tenants and handle safety and security problems quickly,
especially those involving drug dealing.
- Keep oral and written promises regarding
security measures—such as an advertisement promising garage parking or security
personnel—to a truthful minimum.
- Buy adequate liability insurance to protect you
from lawsuits related to crime on the property.
- Educate tenants about crime problems and
prevention strategies, and tenant liability for stolen property and other