Protecting Your Rental Investment
Rental properties present a unique challenge for law enforcement. The typical block watch approach to residents in single-family homes is not easily adapted to rental communities. In single-family homes, owners generally have a large cash investment in the purchase of their home. This motivates owners to a greater concern about crime in their neighborhoods. With rising crime rates, come lower property values.
An owner of a single-family home might also be looking at long-term residency. Typically, homeowners have a thirty-year mortgage for their property. Home is where they come to each day and perhaps raise a family. There tends to be a lot of pride in ownership of their property. When crime problems begin to appear, owners are likely to organize block watch activities to protect the long-term interest of their family.
In rental properties, the communities tend to be much more transient. Most often, residents sign a year lease for rental property. This allows for an occupant to move very easily if they feel crime has reached a level they will not tolerate. It is easier to move away from crime than to confront it.
v With these challenges and more, facing the residents of Gladstone, the Gladstone Department of Public Safety is using and applying the concept of the GLADSTONE SAFE RESIDENCE PROGRAM to rental properties throughout the city. The program’s concept was to take a multi-faceted approach to crime prevention. It is a unique coalition of police, property managers, and residents. The program is an on-going program, with a three-phase approach to addressing the challenges facing rental properties.
The first phase of the program is to educate and assist the landlord with the screening process of a potential tenant. Landlords are asked to screen a potential tenant using financial, criminal, and rental history.
The second phase of the program is to have a tenant sign a Lease Addendum. By signing this addendum the tenant agrees not to participate in criminal activity or allow criminal activity in their residence.
The third phase of the program is cooperation between the landlord and the police. Each time a police officer is called to a property of a SAFE RESIDENCE participant, the landlord or their property manager will be notified with a report on the incident. The property manager contacts the tenant and advises them they have violated their lease agreement. The property manager has the option to either start the eviction process or notify the tenant that any further violation will result in eviction.
To date, every apartment complex in Gladstone is participating in the Safe Residence Program. Involvement in this program has resulted in fewer crimes and calls for service within the city limits of Gladstone.
For more information on the Safe Residence Program, or becoming a Safe Residence participant please contact a Neighborhood Services Officer at 816-436-3550.
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