Accessory dwelling units can be used to house a family member who may like a bit of independence or alternatively, can be rented out to tenants. Just like with any residential structure, you need to be mindful of security. Here are some ideas that can help you boost the security of your dwelling unit:
- Install Light Sensors
- Have Strong Locks
- Invest in Secure Windows
- Keep your Key Safe
- Rent out the Unit
- Install Cameras
1. Install Light Sensors
Lighting features can act as security features when used appropriately. Since most people want complete discretion when stealing, having lights outside the ADU will be a significant threat to them. Install motion-sensor lights, and many a thief mightn’t dare come close to your property. Even if they manage to get close to the unit, the lights will come on as a surprise, and they may consider taking off before committing any crime.
If there is no one living in the ADU at the time of an attempted burglary then the sensors may prove futile. If the ADU is vacant then be mindful of where your bedroom is in the main unit of the house when installing these sensors. If your bedroom isn’t at the back of the house then you mightn’t see the lights flash on when you are fast as sleep. A solution to consider is to install additional lights that are connected to your accessory dwelling unit sensor around the house. This means that you will be able to see from a front facing bedroom when your sensors have been triggered. You may even consider having the ADU sensor lights a different shade of color from your main house sensors to avoid confusion. This will also make you act more quickly as you’ll know instantly that someone has hopped your backyard fence or evaded the other main house sensor and is going for your ADU.
2. Have Strong Locks
Sometimes all you need is a simple lock and key to keep your accessory dwelling unit and your entire property safe. However, making sure the lock system is adequately reinforced to enhance security is crucial. A weak lock is susceptible to forced entry because burglars could easily use simple tools like a crowbar to gain entry. Making sure the lock is strong enough will prevent any forced entry or, at the very least, will make it harder for burglars to gain entry. The more they have to struggle with the lock, the higher the chances of one of your neighbors spotting them and reporting them to the relevant authorities.
Apart from having a recommended string lock system, it would help if you also remembered to lock the unit every time it’s not being used. Since it’s separate from your main residence, you may not put as much attention to it as you do for the main house. Please make sure you check whether it’s locked every time you are leaving the house or coming back. To put it simply, you will just need to form a habit. A habit that only costs you a minute or two of your time a day, but prevents potentially thousands of dollars worth of item loss or damage is well worth it.
3. Invest in Secure Windows
Most burglars usually try to gain entry through the windows when they notice that the door is secured correctly and isn’t an option. Investing in the windows of the accessory dwelling unit is just as important as investing in the doors. Install double-pane windows in the unit and make sure they are secured at all times, especially when you’re away. If your ADU isn’t being used at the moment, you may also want to consider installing timers in the interior lights. This will allow the lights to turn on at specified intervals and give the impression that someone is using the unit. As a result, burglars will not try to sneak in for fear of getting caught.
4. Keep your Key Safe
Most people have the habit of leaving spare keys outside under an object like a doormat or a flower pot. If you are using a physical key for your property and not a fob or smart key, then you should be wary about where you place it. Having it hid somewhere poorly leaves your property exposed because you don’t know who can access that spare key. You should always hide it somewhere unpredictable and secure.
5. Rent out the Unit
Most people don’t think of this as a security measure, but renting out your ADU can be extremely effective in securing it. It ensures that the unit is occupied, which makes it harder for a burglar to target it. Most thieves usually want to steal from houses that aren’t occupied because it increases their chance of getting away with the crime.
In saying that, make sure you give your new tenant the run down on the security measures in place for the ADU. Tell them about checking the locks as you have been doing, the dangers of leaving out a spare key and the light sensor system you have set up for instance. Once they are in the know, they can act accordingly, again reducing the chances of burglary happening.
6. Install Cameras
Cameras are an extra layer of security that can aid any residence combating property crime. Video and camera security features have also improved and are now being used with better technology that gives you real-time information regardless of where you are. They can also act as prevention tools because they act as a threat to thieves who are intent on not leaving any evidence behind. There are multiple options for a camera and video systems you can choose from. If you already have such a system in your main house, you can buy a single camera and integrate it with the system you already have. You will spend less money, but you’ll still beef up the security of the ADU.
If security cameras are out of your budget, then all hope is not lost. Consider dummy CCTV cameras. These are cheap fake cameras that can be placed around your property. Many criminals who try to carry out a burglary and see one of these could get frightened and flee. Make sure to set them up in the spots you think the burglar is most likely to try penetrate. These used with light sensors can work well.
Relating to dummy CCTV cameras, simply sticking up stickers of ‘CCTV in Operation’ around your ADU may also work nicely. Stick them inside a few of the most vulnerable windows of your unit. A criminal that tries entering one of them and spots the sticker, may just have second thoughts.
Accessory dwelling units are a great addition to any property because of the numerous benefits they bring. You can use them as a source of additional income or additional living space when your relatives want to come over. With the security tips above, taking care of your beloved ADU shouldn’t be a problem.
This article is written for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.