BY TREY DULING
If you are planning on renting out your vacation home property in Orlando or any other major city, the safety and security of your guests should be planned for.
Not only will you be able to attract more guests if your property can boast various security measures, but your guests will feel and be safer during their stay.
Even if your vacation home is in a very safe neighborhood, there are some common sense security precautions that you should take.
17 Guest Security & Safety Tips for Your Vacation Home Rental Property
1. Your front and rear doors should be solid wood or steel, with high-quality doorknobs and locks — as well as a deadbolt on the interior side. If the door is flanked by decorative glass panels, make sure they are shatter proof. Choose front and rear doors with peepholes and sturdy door chains.
2. All windows should have locks and be easy to open and close in case the guest needs to exit the house in an emergency, such as a fire. Impact-resistant windows in heavy-duty frames are nice to have during the hurricane season! Window protection film can also help prevent glass from shattering.
3. Install LED lighting along sidewalks, your garage, and the front and rear doors. Ideally, these lights should turn on automatically at dusk and turn off at dawn.
4. Have interior lights on timers so that they come on as dusk falls (at varying times) over the course of seven days. Make sure guests know that the lights are on timers so they won’t be surprised to come home to a fully lit house.
5. Install visible security cameras by front and back entrances and the garage. These will deter burglars and may also record any accidents, such as someone tripping and falling, as they come up the stairs to the front door. (Note that interior cameras are illegal.)
These visible security cameras must be working cameras! Dummy cameras do not do you or your guests any good. If the home is burglarized while it’s being rented, you may well be sued if the cameras were fake and thus did not capture images of the thieves.
6. If you have a garage, install an automatic garage door opener and make this available to your guests. Inside the garage, hang a tennis ball or some other item a few feet from the back wall to aid people in pulling in and out safely!
7. Install a security alarm. Investigate the best system for your property, as you’ll want your guests to be able to use it easily and not set off an alarm accidentally. Make sure they know any necessary passwords (and change these for each guest).
8. Consider installing a safe — and describe this in your home description. Obviously you want to emphasize that the home is in a good neighborhood, but offering a safe for the convenience of guests might attract those who like to bring jewelry with them on their travels.
Leave information about all the security features in your guest information notebook for your visitors.
Guest Safety Tips
9. Install smoke detectors in every bedroom and on every floor and, of course, in the kitchen of your vacation rental home.
If your home was built before 1991, the building code does not require that you have a smoke detector in every bedroom — but it’s just a good idea to have them!
Change the batteries on a regular basis.
Make sure instructions for how to turn off an inadvertent smoke alarm are in your guest information notebook. Every smoke detector is a little bit different, and it can be very frustrating for people trying to turn one off if they don’t know how it works.
10. Supply a fully-charged fire extinguisher for the garage and the kitchen, and again, make sure instructions for how to use it are in the guest information notebook.
11. It is also law in most states that a carbon monoxide detector be on every floor. Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so it will rise. Place detectors high up near the ceiling, not near the floor.
12. If you have a swimming pool, make sure it has an automatic cover and all necessary safety equipment such as a life preserver and floats for little children.
Make sure you post CPR instructions in a visible place by the pool, as well as emergency phone numbers. Put up a sign saying “No lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk” just to protect yourself.
13. A list of instructions — such as “Supervise children at all times” and “No running on pool deck” the same kinds of instructions you see at municipal pools — is also a good idea.
Also remember to have the pool cleaned on a regular basis.
14. Install home automation. Guests can forget to turn off the water in the kitchen sink. By installing motion-activated faucets, you can prevent guests from forgetting this important detail and potentially flooding your kitchen.
Motion-activated faucets can also save water.
If lights are motion activated as soon as someone enters any room, from the garage to the bathroom to the bedroom to the living room and kitchen, this will prevent frustration from people trying to find the light-switch in the middle of the night.
15. Place non-slip stickers in all bathtubs and showers. Have plenty of handles as well so people can grab onto one if they do start to fall.
16. Install a new HVAC system. If your HVAC system is over 10 years old, consider installing a new system. The latest systems are energy efficient and can not only keep a home more comfortable, but also save on energy costs.
17. Place instructions for water heaters/HVAC right next to them.
You don’t want your guests to have to try to raise or lower the temperature on your water heater. Place signs with large print right next to it forbidding this practice and giving the phone number of a handyman/caretaker who will make any adjustments if they so desire.
By following these procedures, your guests will enjoy greater safety and security and you will have greater peace of mind.