The following tips are from landlords across the nation discussed on our popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum. Read on to discover ideas for preventing break-ins to your vacant rentals.
Install Motion lights, fake security signs, and a hundred dollar camera system from Amazon.
One of the handyman who does work for me (been with me for 10+ years) is willing to stay in my empty units during rehab. I just provide him with a bed, a TV and few other things. Perhaps you can find a similar person.
Talk to several of the neighbors, adults who have lived there awhile, know the area and have a good idea of what’s going on.
Keep it well locked, and rotate the lighting.
Put an (extra) car in the driveway.
Get yourself 2 radios. Dial them into the same talk radio channel and put one at the front door and one at the back.
Go to Goodwill and find 2 pairs of size 14″ or bigger work boots. Put a pair outside on each porch with a couple of spent shotgun shells.
We use a portable monitored alarm system from Lasershield that uses an integrated cell phone. They run a few hundred and $25 a month.
One of the speakers on the bonus CDs from the recent MrLandlord.com Convention suggested installing an alarm system, even if it isn’t monitored, and then pretend to adjust it and set the alarm off several times when neighbors are around. His reasoning was that most break-ins are perpetrated by locals and “announcing” the presence of the alarm system reduces the likelihood they’ll target that property.
Put curtains and blinds then install a couple of lights on timers so the house looks as someone lives in. Be sure all newspapers are picked up as the house would be like someone is living there.
I have lights on timers. A radio playing. Blinds so no one can look in. In bad areas with vacant properties I have a under carpet switch or on a door a motion sensor wired to a 150 db alarm inside the house that cause a normal person to go deaf — they run away and neighbors call the police and me.
I place large dog food bowls, dog house in back, few PBR empties for decoration, maybe a bottle for cigarette butts at the vacant rental.
I purchased a game cam which is a camera and motion detector. I set it to take pictures of the AC unit and / or driveway. So far I have not been hit when it was installed. It lets me see the people who have been in the yard. It moves house to house without a monthly charge.
Mostly keep the place from looking abandoned. Cut the grass, keep it clean and nice, porch lights on, blinds and lights inside, etc.