By Christy Matte
You’ve got contractors showing up at one property in half an hour, tenants locked out of another across town, and complaints of a suspicious person lurking outside the door of a third. This could be a landlord’s worst nightmare, or it could be just another day at the office. But with smart security technology, you could solve all these problems at once—provide a temporary door code for contractors, unlock the door for your forgetful tenants, and take a peek at your security camera to see that … uh oh, the contractors are at the wrong building!
Smart security technology—devices which you can control remotely—can help you manage locations from afar, saving you time and money while also increasing a sense of security for you and your residents. Here’s how to make it work for your properties.
Getting Started with Smart Home Technology
Unless you feel confident in installing cameras and sensors, you’ll want to consult with a professional to get your system set up. While there is plenty of security technology available that is easy to install and manage, tackling it all for multiple properties is challenging. Work with a home security provider or your internet service provider to ensure that your systems play nicely together and can easily be managed from one central device.
Choosing Devices for Your Properties
The following devices are components you might consider for your properties.
Emergency alarms – Get immediate alerts via text message if smoke and CO2 alarms are triggered so you can follow up with tenants or emergency services.
Locks – Smart locks use touchpads rather than keys for entry, making locked-out tenants and lost-key woes a thing of the past. In addition, codes can be added or deleted remotely, as tenants come and go. You can issue temporary codes to contractors or simply unlock doors from afar.
Doorbells – Smart doorbells are typically tied to small security cameras, allowing residents (or you, in the case of an empty apartment) to know who is at a door. They can even send text messages when pressed. Your contractors can alert you to their presence just by ringing the doorbell and a quick glance will allow you to confirm it’s them.
Security cameras – While on-property security cameras are nothing new, being able to control and monitor them from afar is a major benefit. Better still, they can send text messages for unexpected motion, such as in the hallway of an unoccupied residence. Just be sure cameras are only positioned at exterior or common areas, and inform tenants that they’re on the premises.
Lights – It’s unlikely that you’ll want to manage your lights manually, but there may be occasions where it comes in handy. Perhaps you’ve got a new tenant arriving late at night, or you’ll be stopping by yourself and don’t want to fumble around a dark hallway. Alternatively, if a contractor leaves a light on unnecessarily, you can switch it off without making the drive.
Sensors – A variety of sensors are available to protect your properties. There are the familiar window and door sensors, but there are also sensors for water leaks, as well as humidity, heat, and even air quality. All of these can alert you to threats to your property and your tenant’s health and safety.
Considering Your Tenants
As much as smart home technology can help make your job easier, it’s important to install it thoughtfully in residential settings. While remotely managing devices may save you time when your property is vacant, but some monitoring and controls may feel creepy for renters. Turn over controls of in-residence devices to the renters where possible and avoid devices that could explicitly “spy” on them within their homes, such as cameras and smart speakers. Leave those types of devices for tenants to choose – or not – in their own spaces.
Likewise, inform tenants of things like security cameras, smart doorbells, and other related devices in public areas. If they have the potential of being recorded via image or voice, they should know.
Smart security technology is a way to streamline management of your real estate properties, while also providing value and a feeling of enhanced safety for tenants. It allows you to virtually be in multiple places at the same time without going anywhere at all.
Christy Matte is a mom of two and a Boston-based writer who covers home security for Xfinity Home. She is also a die-hard techie who blogs at QuirkyFusion.com.