A break-in is probably one of the most dreaded scenario imaginable for any host in the vacation rental industry. In the US, there are an average of 2.5 million burglaries a year, with 66% being home break-ins.
As a host, not only do you need to prevent your guests from stealing, but also secure and protect your rental from burglary. If you are managing a long-distance rental property, you need to take even extra care, as you are not around to foresee the property.
How Can Hosts Protect Themselves Against Burglary?
The risk of burglary is particularly higher for vacation rental homes, as they are not used the whole time: the property may be empty between stays and during the low-season they can be vacant for a long period of time. This means that vacation rentals are a prime target for thieves.
Hosts need to implement safety measures to protect their rental against break-ins and not add themselves to the statistics. In this article we’re going to take a look at 9 effective measures to protect your vacation rental from intruders and thieves:
1. Install Light and Motion Detectors
It’s best to deter burglars right from the start so that they won’t even consider your vacation rental home as their next project. The majority of thieves operate at night time, as they can easily go unnoticed in the dark. By dressing in all black, they can camouflage too.
So how can you spot these unwanted chameleons? Prevent them from going anywhere near your rental at night by installing floodlights, light and motion detectors. As soon as any type of movement is sensed, the lights will turn on straight away and expose the robber.
These detectors aren’t limited to the exterior. You can also install wireless motion sensors inside the property. Once movement is registered, you’ll also get notified straight away on your cell phone. It’s especially useful for those managing their rentals remotely! Luckily these sensors don’t cost a fortune, you can get one for a low as $17.00.
2. Block Entre Points
Make it as difficult as possible for burglars to enter your rental property by blocking all the entry points. This includes simple measures such as burglar proofing your windows by adding break-proof glass, security locks such as pin locks and keyed locks, making it impossible for anyone to break or open the windows from the outside. Some of these tools include an alarm function too.
You should also remove items that could help burglars gain access to your home, such as garbage cans or ladders. These need to be safely locked away in a garage or garden shed.
3. Protect your Rental Online
Be sure to only advertise your vacation rental through trusted channels and never publicly provide the exact address online.
When listing photos of the property, it’s important to not reveal too much. Of course, you need to present your vacation rental authentically, but leave out features that could be used to clearly identify the location, such as the house number and street name.
The same applies for the booking procedure. Get to know your guests before you accept the booking and only let them know the exact address after receiving your payment. If you don’t use listing sites and are unable to read reviews written by previous hosts, you can still screen your guests prior to their arrival.
4. Fake your Presence
Burglars usually target vacant houses, as it’s less likely they’ll be caught. It’s especially easy for them to see which houses are vacant during winter when there isn’t any light in the house. Therefore it’s advisable to take measures that give the impression that someone is in the house.
With home automation systems, you can program the lighting and switch it on and off at different times. However, to avoid your strategy being noticed, the lights should not be activated every day according to the same pattern. In addition, you can implement smart home technology in your accommodation that not only control the lights, but also the radio or the TV. The majority of these can be managed from an app.
Thieves will avoid brightly lit buildings. Houses that have lighting give the impression that someone is at home and the danger of being caught is far too great.
5. Collaborate with Neighbors
Register your property with your local neighborhood watch scheme. If you have a good relationship with the neighbors in the area of your vacation rental, you can also ask them for help. They can keep an eye on your accommodation and inform the police straight away if there is any suspicious activity. Give your neighbors a schedule of your rental, when it’s occupied and when it’s empty. Your neighbors could also help fake your presence regularly by emptying the mailbox, mowing your lawn and shoveling snow.
6. Gate your Rental
Another measure to prevent burglars from getting anywhere near your vacation rental home in the first place is by surrounding it with a gate. Higher fences mean no one can easily jump over them. Once the fence is in place, install an electric lock on the gated door.
You can also opt for a natural version. A hedge around your property acts as a safe boundary too. It provides privacy and also looks pleasant. Whilst it may take a little longer to plant and grow, but the end result is worth it. The privacy screen will make it harder for intruders to analyze your vacation home and find out in advance how they can enter.
7. Inform your Guests
Inform your guests in detail about the security measures in your accommodation. Mention in your house rules that parties are forbidden and additional guests or friends are not allowed access. Ask them to check that all windows and doors are closed when leaving the rental.
Burglars recognize blindspots and strike faster than you might think. Smart locks can also be an additional measure of securing your property. If a guest forgets to lock the door when leaving the rental, the smart locks will lock it automatically.
8. Install Camera Surveillance System
Cameras are a major deterrent to crime. Installing a camera surveillance system outside will allow you to feel secure, knowing you have eyes on the property the whole time. In the event of a break-in, you’ll have a much better chance of catching the intruder.
Another practical tool is a smart doorbell. This latest invention is a doorbell with a camera installed that automatically notifies your smartphone and then connects you live to the camera. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to see the whole time who is at your front door, and even speak to them! So when a robber rings the doorbell to check if anyone is in, you’re already got them on camera and can ring the police straight away.
9. Have Insurance
In the event that a break-in does occur, despite these measures you’ve put in place, you should be covered provided that you have insurance. You need to make sure that not only you have the regular home insurance, but also a specific one for your vacation rental business. Remember that your current home insurance may not automatically cover your property for renting out to guests.
In any case, it’s important to research the different types of insurance out there to protect your belongings and vacation rental in the best possible way.
These measures will help you to protect your vacation rental property from burglary, especially when it’s vacant or if you manage the rental remotely. In order to track all the items and amenities in your home, download the vacation rental inventory checklist below!