Many factors play a role in how safe your home is -- the neighborhood, lighting, locked gates, security patrols, or dead-bolt locks on your front door. When it comes to rental housing, anti-crime policies adopted by property owners and managers play a large role. Such policies can be in the form of lease addendums, house rules, or a complex’s participation in a local “Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.”
Residents can look to lease addendums as an indication of the importance of safety and security at a property. Anti-crime lease addenda -- an additional agreement signed by the renter committing to a safe and crime-free lifestyle, with a list of specific activities -- are required at the discretion of a property manager or owner. They are increasingly common and are designed to help protect all residents, as well as the property owner’s liability. Your landlord also is likely to provide you with a set of “house rules” when you sign your lease. These rules help all residents in the community understand expectations and responsibilities regarding quiet times, guests, smoking, and more.
The goal of a Crime-Free Multi-Family Housing Program -- training for which is conducted by the Sheriff’s Department or other local law enforcement agencies -- is to keep illegal activity out of rental properties. The solution-based certification program has three central elements: enhanced physical security, tenant involvement and management training. The program may benefit both property managers and residents at communities with higher instances of reported crime. The managers will see fewer incidents of illegal activity and retain a higher caliber of residents; the tenants will have a greater sense of security and quality neighbors.
In San Diego, the program is voluntary and training is free. Calls for police service to crime-free certified properties drop significantly in the months following manager training, authorities say. SDCAA supports voluntary participation in crime-free programs. It’s an effective way to turn around properties with a troubled past.
If you’re the potential new tenant in search for an apartment in a transitional or urban neighborhood, anti-crime agreements, detailed house rules, and Crime-Free Multi-Family Housing certification may be good indications that a property takes safety and security seriously. For managers, these are additional marketing tools and ways to ensure high-quality properties and residents.
Owners and managers also can help make safety a priority and prevent crime through a strong resident screening product, such as InfoLink provided by SDCAA that includes a criminal database search.
At the end of the day, anti-crime policies help ensure that everyone feels safe in their home.