As a landlord or property owner for a short term rental, you have a responsibility to make sure your guests have a safe place to stay while they’re traveling. You also want to make sure your guests are treating your property with respect and not causing any damages to your rental units.

Many property owners turn to home security systems to help keep an eye on their properties while maintaining their guests’ safety. If you’re looking for the best security system for your rental property, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about home security for your short-term rentals in this guide.

Understanding the Laws Regarding Security Cameras for Short Term Rental Properties

While installing a security camera on your rental property might sound like the answer to all of your safety worries, you might be wondering if it’s legal. The short answer is yes – landlords and property managers have the right to install security cameras to protect their rental units and guests.

3 Areas Where You’re Allowed to Install Security Cameras

  • Common areas 

  • Outside of rental properties 

  • Public places where there’s little expectation of privacy

Surveillance cameras can be used to help keep guests safe by catching package thieves or stopping an attempted break-in. They can also help you keep an eye on your property to ensure there are no trespassers, employees or guests breaking the rules, or other suspicious activity.

Guest Privacy Considerations

However, there are a few caveats to installing apartment security systems when it comes to guest privacy, even for short-term rentals. In general, you’re allowed to install home security cameras in common areas, outside of rental properties, and in public places where there’s little expectation of privacy. 

If you own a single-home rental property or house that’s been converted into different short term rental units, you can place security cameras around the outside of the home, including front yards, backyards, outside of garages, and along fence lines.

You cannot place security cameras anywhere that guests expect to be private. Typically, that means you’re not authorized to survey beyond the front door of your rental property. Some state laws may allow you to place home surveillance cameras in hallways, living rooms, or dining rooms, but it’s generally not good practice, as it can end up breaching federal privacy laws.

Brush Up on State Laws

While the above guidelines are accepted across the country, it’s always good practice to brush up on your state laws concerning privacy in rental units. For instance, some states may have laws requiring security cameras in common spaces to be visible, so your guests are aware they’re being monitored, especially if the footage is being recorded.

Protecting Rental Properties With Security Cameras

Now that you understand where you can place security cameras, you might be wondering how security cameras can help keep your rental properties safe. We’ll walk you through a few reasons why you might want to install apartment cameras.

5 Benefits of Security Cameras on Rental Properties

  • Review footage remotely

  • Deter and report crimes

  • Decrease chances of property damage

Review footage remotely

If you manage a rental property that also has employees or contractors who help maintain your units, security cameras can help ensure your employees and maintenance requests are in order. While you shouldn’t use cameras to spy on your employees, they can help you make important staffing decisions if you find an employee is repeatedly bending the rules or not following through on their job responsibilities.

For instance, you can monitor handymen and maintenance workers to ensure your equipment is being properly handled and doesn’t go missing. Setting security cameras up around doors to garages and supply rooms can ensure employees don’t attempt to take machinery or items that aren’t theirs.

You can also make sure office employees or any staff handling guest concerns are treating your guests with respect and carrying out their job duties efficiently.

Help deter and report crimes

Whether you own a multi-family house or single-family residence that you rent short-term, having a good security system to deter crime is an excellent way to attract new guests and gain positive reviews on sites like Airbnb. Having security feeds focused on entryways, parking lots, and garages can help guests feel more safe and secure in your rental property.

If a guest’s car is ever stolen from your property or damaged in a hit-and-run, you might be able to assist the police by providing footage of the person or vehicle involved. You can also help eliminate and crack down on vehicle and rental break-ins by posting security cameras in visible places around driveways, garages, and parking lots.

Decrease chances of property damage 

When you rent out a home or apartment, you never know how a guest or the public will treat that property. However, if your unit is vacant, you might be even more worried about neighbors or kids damaging or destroying parts of your property. 

Security cameras can help you protect your investment and make quick decisions if you feel like your rental property is being threatened. Neighborhood kids who see an empty home might sneak into your backyard, destroying your landscaping or fencing. Neighbors might also take advantage of open driveways or parking spots, which can create a problem once you have guests move in.

Keep an eye on your property at all times by placing security cameras in backyards, around property lines, and along garages to discourage property damage.

Additional Security Features to Consider

While security cameras offer a great way to keep an eye on your property and your guests, they’re not the only home security options available for property managers and landlords. There are a variety of other home security devices you might consider including in your rental properties.

6 Additional Home Security Features for Rental Properties

  • Doorbell camera

  • Smart locks

  • Smart thermostat

  • Smart garage door openers

  • Smart lights and outlets

  • Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Doorbell camera

Doorbell cameras are attractive to property managers and can provide peace of mind when guests are home or away. These home security devices allow you to view who is at their door before answering, helping to protect their safety. 

Many doorbell cameras even have two-way audio features that allow you to communicate with visitors on the other side of their door. They also allow you to view footage from anywhere, so you can keep an eye on packages you might have delivered to your rental property.

Smart locks

Smart locks are another feature that can help protect your Airbnb guests while boosting your property’s appeal to future guests. Smart locks allow your renters to lock and unlock their doors using a code or their home security app. 

Smart locks for rental properties can also offer security for families who are traveling. Many smart locks allow you to distribute codes to guests and wipe the codes once their visit has come to end.

Smart thermostat

A smart thermostat can be a great investment for property managers and landlords since these thermostats can be controlled remotely. Since you’ll be responsible for paying your short-term rental’s utilities you can manage the thermostat settings so that your guests are comfortable while your utility bills stay low.

Smart garage door openers

If your short term rental home has one or more garages, smart garage door openers can make it more convenient and safe for your guests to access their garages. These devices can be controlled by the app or linked to personal assistants so they can be controlled by voice commands. This allows guests to more easily open garage doors when their hands are full, like when they’re loading up their car for their trip back home.

These devices also allow you to close garage doors remotely, so garages can be secured even if you do not have guests currently staying in the home and want to make sure your garage is secured and safe.

Smart lights and outlets

Smart lights and outlets are popular smart devices and can be ideal for short term rentals, especially when it comes to preventing fires or other damage. Installing smart outlets and providing smart light bulbs can help improve utility bills and even allow you to turn off appliances after guests leave the home.

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

All property managers and landlords can keep their short term rentals safe by installing smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors are designed to more accurately detect smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide while decreasing false alarms, which can be agitating to your guests — and could lead to negative reviews on short term rental sites.

Many smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also allow you and your guests to turn them off with voice commands, which can come in handy if someone burns food while cooking, causing the alarm to sound. These devices can also offer you peace of mind as the property owner by alerting you if the alarms sound.

Let the Experts at ADT Help Secure Your Rental Property

ADT provides professional installation to make sure your security cameras are installed right, but you can also opt to install rental security cameras on your own with Blue by ADT’s DIY outdoor cameras.

When it comes to protecting your rental assets, trust the experts in home security. Reach out to ADT today to get started on building your custom rental security package.

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