Location, Location … Security: Renters Place High Value on Security

According to a new survey, over half of renters are willing to pay a higher rent for a connected security device or doorbell.

By Steve Hein


Although location has always been the mantra for the real estate and multifamily housing sectors, a new national survey of renters reveals that security is a key factor when choosing a rental home.

According to newly released findings from Assurant’s survey of renters across the country, 37% of respondents cite a desirable location as the most important feature when selecting a place to live. However, security comes in a strong second, ranking above proximity to work, schools, restaurants, and transportation, and even living in an environmentally friendly space. As property managers and landlords consider new ways to attract tenants, it is in their best interest to consider these preferences when promoting their properties to potential renters.

Security a Top Concern, But Not Enough Renters Take Basic Precautions

While most respondents believe that security is always important, 32% are especially concerned about security during the summer, possibly because their homes are left unoccupied when they vacation. Additionally, electronics, jewelry, and money are considered the most likely items to be stolen. Despite a majority of respondents indicating that they own these items, 25% say they lock up their valuables only on certain occasions, and 24% never take precautions to protect them. This is surprising, since 42% indicate that they were either a victim of theft or knew a victim of theft while renting. For those renters who fail to protect their personal property, renters insurance that includes personal property coverage is even more important. Replacement costs for expensive technology, including laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and virtual assistant devices can easily climb into the thousands of dollars and create financial hardship.

Close to half (45%) of the renters polled say the only safety precaution they take is locking the door, followed by 36% who rely on neighbors to keep an eye out for them. Video cameras, phone alerts, and alarm systems are installed in less than 25% of rentals.

Interestingly, over half (54%) of renters are willing to pay a higher rent if offered a connected security device/doorbell, presenting an opportunity for property managers and landlords in the multifamily housing space. Advances in technology have made connected security devices more affordable, so a modest investment in these features can result in a meaningful increase in the perceived value and desirability of multifamily properties and units.

Do I Really Need It?

It may surprise property managers to learn that renters are confused about who is responsible for damage caused in rental units. Nearly 30% of survey participants indicate that they either aren’t sure or think the landlord/property management company is always responsible. This presents an important and necessary opportunity for managers to educate new renters about their and their landlords’ responsibilities at the time of the lease signing to avoid such confusion.

For renters without insurance, almost a third say they never thought about renters insurance, while the remaining 70% have misconceptions about renters insurance, believing it is expensive or that their possessions aren’t valuable. Given these responses, it is likely property managers will find renters receptive to learning about the affordability of renters insurance even before the lease is signed.

As home sales drop and demand for rental units soar, it is extremely important that multifamily managers and owners continue to educate their tenants about renters insurance and other security options. Key to this is identifying risk management partners who have the ability and experience to help lower risks, improve efficiency, and drive ancillary income. Just as important is having a partner with the capability to customize solutions that address the unique risks inherent in the multifamily sector from the time before a resident moves in to after they move out.

Retrieved from: https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/apartment-trends/location-location-security-renters-place-high-value-on-security_o

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