If you own a vacation rental home, it’s likely one of your most valuable assets. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize that asset.
So, how can you protect this prized asset — your vacation rental home — when no one’s home? Read on to learn tips from experts for keeping your vacation rental safe and sound.
One of the primary enemies of an unoccupied vacation rental home is, of course, a thief. In all likelihood, would-be burglars have cased the neighborhood and picked out the easiest targets.
Travel safety and personal security expert Philip Farina, CEO of Farina and Associates, recommends visualizing an onion when you’re pondering security for your vacation rental home.
“If your rental property was at the center of that onion, a criminal would have to peel back many layers before they could reach the center. Each layer represents something, one thing, that you change or add to protect yourself better,” says Farina, a certified protection professional and certified lodging security director.
“Criminals often weigh their risk of committing the crime — such as getting caught, being injured, getting arrested or worse — against the potential reward they will reap if they can accomplish it,” Farina says.
As such, you should aim to make it as tough as possible for a thief to break into your vacation rental home. Farina says you want to make criminals feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in your neighborhood, or at least at your home, and force them to move on to a different target.
Sage Singleton, a safety expert at SafeWise, which publishes reviews and advice about home security, recommends conducting an annual assessment to detect safety and security weaknesses at your vacation rental home — and then fixing those deficiencies before you become the victim of a break-in.
Investing in “smart home” technology for your vacation rental home is one of the smartest security steps you can take. High on the list should be “smart” locks and a “smart” doorbell.
“Smart” locks allow keyless entry into a home. Rather than gaining access with a physical key, a renter (or any other visitor) opens a door by punching in a code that you’ve given to guests.
For its property management customers, TurnKey Vacation Rentals uses keyless technology known as ResortLock. Inside a ResortLock is a computer chip that runs a complex algorithm. The algorithm computes a unique code for a set period of time — without the need for an internet connection or cables.
With keyless entry, “a guest never gets ahold of a physical key, and you can change the code after every new visitor,” says Brian Gow, president of Scheel Window & Door in the Ottawa, Canada, area. “For rental spaces, it’s much safer knowing guests can’t find a way to make a copy [of a key] and come back for nefarious reasons.”
Another security tool for your vacation rental home is a video doorbell. Among the top sellers of these devices is a Santa Monica, California-based startup called Ring.
Ring’s chief inventor and CEO, Jamie Siminoff, says his company’s video doorbell calls a user’s smartphone when the doorbell is pushed, enabling a homeowner to remotely see and speak with a front-door visitor from anywhere in the world.
“With Ring, vacation homeowners can keep an eye on guests as they enter and leave the home, and keep it secure during the off-season or when no one’s there,” Siminoff says. “It’s common for burglars to knock or ring the doorbell to make sure nobody’s home before breaking in. With Ring, users can give the impression they’re home, even when they’re not, to prevent a break-in.”
Homeowners can add long-term renters to their Ring account so the renters can monitor the home from their mobile devices as well, Siminoff says. Plus, Ring is compatible with a number of “smart” locks.
“Smart home” technology isn’t limited to “smart” locks and “smart” doorbells.
Other wireless “smart home” products let the owner of a vacation rental home monitor the property via cameras, turn lights on and off remotely via smartphone, and keep tabs on flood sensors and water valves to help prevent structural damage, says Mitchell Klein, executive director of the Fremont, California-based Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol for home automation.
For burglars, the exterior of your home can be a huge tip-off that the property is ripe for a break-in. Security expert Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, suggests taking these steps to make your vacation rental home less attractive to a would-be thief:
In a flash, your vacation rental home could go up in flames. According to Gow, Siciliano and Kidde Fire Safety, a maker of smoke and carbon dioxide alarms, you can reduce fire risks by:
Tried-and-true safety and security measures have been around a long time for one simple reason — they work. Follow these commonsense tips from Farina, Siciliano and Turnkey Vacation Rentals to safeguard your home: