makes good business sense. A relatively crime-free property is good for business. In some markets there is fierce competition among property owners to keep occupancy rates high while still attracting that good resident.
Good residents tend to abide by the law, pay the rent on time, sign long leases, make few demands on management, and maintain their apartments in better condition.
All of these attributes generate greater net-operating-income for the property owner.
Good residents have options about where to live and are making judgments about personal safety before signing a lease. More than ever, landlords must make a greater effort to provide a reasonably safe living environment to attract and retain residents.
Research shows that new residents are looking for housing that is conveniently located, clean, affordable, and safe.
A property that satisfies these criteria will sign up more rental prospects, receive more renewals and referrals from current residents, have less turnover, fewer maintenance problems, and less management headaches.
Experienced property managers agree that a property with a truly integrated security plan will retain a higher percentage of good residents. Your best residents will move out of a property where crime and disturbances are tolerated by management.
On high-crime properties, there is always a higher percentage of marginal residents living with constant fear of crime and contribute to the downward cycle of property deterioration.
No one wants to live in such a hostile environment!
The Wrong Approach
It is surprising to learn how many property owners and managers operate a large rental housing property without any real crime prevention training. After all, making a property reasonably safe is the responsibility of the landlord. Most managers attempt to learn on-the-job by making mistakes, wasting money, and risking injury to residents and other employees.
One consequence of feeble attempts to fight crime is that fear and distrust will increase among the residents. Without a doubt, unhappy residents will eventually move and will certainly not be the source of any new referrals. Fearful residents also become angry and blame the landlord for their substandard living conditions. As you might expect, angry residents make up a large class of plaintiffs that sue their property owner or property manager when they become victims of crime.
A common mistake that inexperienced property owners make is not implementing a comprehensive security plan. Instead they rely on a series of quick-fixes and temporary solutions like hiring a uniformed security patrol service every time there is a spike in crime just to make residents feel better. Security patrols work to some degree in the short-term, but without any other changes to the environment the crime problem will surely return within sixty-days when the security service is terminated. In the end, the quick-fix method is not cost-effective because it has to be repeated so often to the dismay of frustrated residents.
The Right Approach
Many landlords have not made a commitment to implement a comprehensive security plan for their property. The most common excuses I hear are that security services are unreliable and too expensive to implement fulltime. When I hear remarks like this I realize that the property manager has the wrong idea about how to incorporate security planning into the daily routine of property management.
Providing adequate security for rental housing is a learned process that attacks the very core of criminal activity and will not allow it to take root and grow on a property. A good security plan is designed to permanently integrate into the daily routine of property management. Once integrated, it is difficult for the untrained eye to identify the component parts of this security plan. By design, bad residents and criminal types will feel pressure from this plan. They will feel uncomfortable living or plying their anti-social trade in this highly attentive environment.
Ranger Guard and Investigations has been one of the leading private security companies in Houston since 2009. Contact us at 713-357-8225 for services that best fit your needs or fill out a form online.