Safety in Grand Rapids: Ensure Your Property is Protected

Jun 30, 2023 | Owner Education, Property Management Education

How safe is your Grand Rapids rental property? 

You want to make sure tenants are safe and secure when they’re living in your home. You’ll want to make sure that everything locks, it’s easy to see who is outside, and all the safety features are in place, such as smoke detectors. 

You’ll have to think about safety when your property is vacant, too. A vacant property comes with a number of dangers, including burglary, vandalism, and unnoticed maintenance issues

Keeping your property safe requires attention to detail and a lot of preventative pre-planning. 

Here’s how we recommend you protect your Grand Rapids rental property.

Safety for Vacant Properties 

The obvious problem with a vacant home is that it’s not earning you any money. Losing even a month of rental income can cause some cash flow problems. But, a vacant home is also vulnerable. You’re in danger of vandalism and crime. If you’re willing to think about worst case scenarios, squatters could take up residence. A slow leak might be causing problems under a sink, and before you know it, there’s an expensive plumbing disaster at your vacant property. 

How can you keep that home safe while no one is living in it? 

  • Conduct Inspections. Check in from time to time to make sure everything is working and look for potential trouble spots such as leaks, appliances, electrical systems, and security. Are the doors and windows locking? Is the smoke alarm working? If you can get into your rental home at least once or twice a week, you can ensure there’s nothing terrible going on. You can also check for potentially damaging maintenance issues.
  • Install security devices. A video or security camera and/or an alarm system is a good way to protect your Grand Rapids property when it’s vacant. There’s a lot of great technology right now that provides cameras so you always know who is coming and going from your property. With systems like the Ring doorbell, you can see who is approaching your property. You can record the video of who is coming and going and you can even stream it if you want to check in on things in real time. 

Always check in with your insurance agent, too. There might be additional coverage available to you when your property is vacant. 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Grand Rapids Rental Homes

When your property is occupied, you’re thinking about the safety of the home and more importantly, your tenants. 

Michigan law has some requirements for smoke detectors. It says that smoke alarms shall be installed in the following locations:

  1. In each sleeping room;
  2. Outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms;
  3. On each additional story of the dwelling, including basements and habitable attics but

not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. 

In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level. 

Carbon monoxide detectors will also keep your tenant and your property protected. 

Keep Fire Extinguishers in Grand Rapids Rental Property

Do you know how many residential fires occur every year? According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 350,000 fires inside of homes annually. Having a residential extinguisher that’s easy to grab and simple to use can save you and your tenants a lot of money in property damage. It can also make your tenants feel safer. 

Having a fire extinguisher on hand in your property is a good idea, even though it’s not required by Michigan law. When minor fires can be quickly put out by your tenant, you’ll save a lot of money in damages and repairs. You should provide at least one fire extinguisher in your rental property, and it should be in a location that’s easily accessible. Make sure your tenants know where to find it and how to use it. 

Look for a portable fire extinguisher that isn’t too heavy or cumbersome. You’ll need to have it serviced and maintained, and most fire departments will do this for free. Include it in your annual preventative maintenance plan. 

Install Property Locks on Doors and Windows 

Protect your property with adequate locks, peepholes on exterior doors, and any extra security features you’re willing to provide. Video doorbells, for example, are gaining in popularity among tenants. Your residents might like the idea of seeing who is at the front door just by looking at their phones. If you want to upgrade your rental property security with the latest technology, go ahead and install a video doorbell. Your tenants can download an app which will send them footage of anyone at the front door. This can be helpful for tracking package delivery and it will let them know who is outside their home. 

If you’re not ready to install the technology, simple peepholes can help. You don’t want your tenants opening the door to just anyone. They’ll appreciate knowing who is outside, so make sure your exterior doors have peepholes. 

Bolt locks are also an important way to secure your external doors. This protects your tenants at night, when all residents are inside the house and sleeping. You can buy larger screws for bolt locks which will deter potential burglars who might try to break through the bolt and open the door. 

Adequate Exterior Lighting 

You need enough lighting outside your property so tenants can safely get from cars to their front doors.

Make sure there’s a porch light and plenty of lighting around any parking areas, whether it’s a garage or a parking lot or a driveway. Motion lights are also a smart investment. 

Talk to Property ManagerThese are a few important ways that you can keep your Grand Rapids rental property safe. If you’d like some detailed advice that’s customized to your unique rental property, please contact us at Short South Realty Group. We’d love to tell you more.