Finding out that your rental property has been burglarized creates so much discomfort one can hardly think clearly. But such an unpleasant circumstance doesn't have to become your worst nightmare if you have a well-prepared plan.
If you or your tenants become the victim of a break-in, here are a few immediate steps you need to take:
- Call the police.
Above all, contact the police and leave the rental as soon as possible. You never know if the thieves are still inside the house.
- Don't move anything.
Don't touch anything until the police arrive. By cleaning the mess and moving damaged belongings, you might throw away some evidence essential to the investigation. Leave the crime scene as it is.
- Find out if the neighbors saw or heard anything.
Ask your neighbors if they noticed any suspicious activity or unwelcome visitors near your house. Curious neighbors won't mind participating in the investigation. Keep in mind that any detail can be helpful.
- Don't panic.
Panicking over stolen electronics and jewelry isn't worth it at all. It's not the end of the world. You must remain calm and cool to deal with the unfortunate circumstances.
As prevention is better than cure, it's reasonable to install a good alarm system, solid core doors, and high-quality windows to improve the security of your rental properties. Proper landscaping can also maximize the security level of your home. Exterior lights, motion-activated LEDs, flowers, and a well-maintained lawn - these should be your secret weapon against intruders. Additionally, install a wireless security camera system and make sure the cameras are visible for anyone entering your house from the front and backyard. The presence of security cameras is a good theft deterrent. Thieves are usually looking for the easiest way to enter the property, and dealing with security cameras is too much for them. Common entry points are the back door and the garage. That's why you should consider installing an alarm system there.
If your rental has been broken into, reach out to your insurance company and estimate the value of stolen items. Renters insurance protects your tenants' personal belongings and liability, as well as reimbursing the cost of damaged or stolen items, so you don't have to worry about replacement costs.
Who's responsible for the damages and stolen possessions?
The question that bothers most landlords and tenants is who pays for the damage. As mentioned above, insurance covers all tenants' possessions that were stolen. But if we're referring to the damage of the property itself, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Sometimes residential lease agreements include clauses that spell out what happens in the event of a burglary.
- If the landlord's partial fault was proved (for instance, the lock or door wasn't properly fixed), the landlord will need to cover the damages.
- If the tenant didn't notify the landlord about what had happened or didn't provide the landlord with a police report, it's likely the renter will pay for the damages.
How would you personally deal with a home robbery? Any life hacks? Share your thoughts and ideas by leaving comments below. We'd love to hear what you think.