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9 steps toward a more secure rental property

It's important for landlords in Georgia to make sure that their rental properties are secure for tenants. This is all part of the landlord's duty of care. The following nine steps can also be seen as ways to prevent tenants from getting injured and filing a claim.

The first step is to maintain indoor and outdoor lighting. Hallways and stairwells should be lit, and outdoor lights should be motion-activated. These will keep would-be burglars away. Second, landlords should have secure doors installed, preferably made from steel or wood and fitted with peepholes, chain locks and deadbolts. Owners of multifamily properties could consider an intercom system. Third, windows should come with locks and security bars.

The next two steps are to install security cameras and wire an alarm system. Again, these are ideal for multifamily properties. However, landlords cannot put cameras into the apartment rooms themselves. Next, landlords should make sure there are no obstructions around the property where thieves might be able to hide. On properties of 25 units or more, it would be a good idea to post security guards.

Eighth, landlords should give tenants the number of the local police and fire departments as well as their own emergency contact information. Lastly, having tenants undergo a background check is important. Sometimes it's the tenants who commit criminal acts on the property.

If a tenant suffers injuries and loss of property because inadequate security allowed a burglar to come in, they may be able to claim that the landlord failed to uphold the duty of care. Under premises liability law, the victim could be compensated. A lawyer who understands these laws could assist by negotiating a fair settlement.

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