How to Handle a Burglary at your Rental Property

Written on January 27, 2016 by , updated on December 9, 2016

BurglaryYour rental property has been burglarized, what now?

Getting that dreaded phone call from a tenant, explaining that there was a burglary, can be an utter nightmare. For your tenants, coming home to find out that their home has been broken into can be one of the most traumatic experiences in a person’s life.

Not only might they be missing valuables and cash, but the feeling of being violated can also be overpowering.

Related: Can a Tenant Break a Lease After a Robbery?

The folks at SimpliSafe have put together a wonderful infographic to explain the appropriate steps to take after a burglary.

Initial Action Steps after a Burglary:

Here is what you should do if you find yourself, or your tenants as victims of a break in.

1. Vacate the House, Call 911 & Don’t Touch Anything!

This is when your emotions will likely be running their highest, causing you to either go room to room hoping to find the perpetrator or to begin cleaning any messes left behind, but leaving the scene until the police arrive protects you and any evidence.

2. Talk to your Neighbors

Ask them if they saw anyone and alert them a vandal is on the loose.

3. Call your Insurance Company

Hopefully you have homeowners and your tenants have renters insurance. This is likely the only way you will get financial compensation for your missing items. Make sure to have pictures of anything missing of value that you own, and keep the receipts of your high-ticket items.

Even if you don’t live in the property, you might have some furnishings or electronics that might have some value. Generally, you should save photos of all your possessions valued above 200 dollars.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Renter’s Insurance

Next Steps: Retrieving Your Lost Items

1. Search Local Pawn Shops

Luckily, most – if not all – states require an I.D. when trading items for cash at a pawn show. If you have pictures (and receipts!) of the items, it will be much easier to retrieve them from the Pawn Show. Any pawn shop will gladly return all stolen good proven to be yours if accompanied by a police report.

2. Search Local Online Classifieds

Search websites such as Craigslist to see if anyone is trying to sell your belongings online. If you find anything you believe to be yours, contact the police who filed the report and they will do their best to investigate and hopefully get your goods returned to you.

Moving Forward: Embrace the Healing Process

A burglary is a violation of your personal space. Many victims of burglary get over the loss of the property, but the emotional trauma of having a stranger in your home can be emotionally damaging.

Try to be sympathetic to your tenants. For some, they may not have many friends and family to help them recover emotionally.

Preparation and Prevention – Avoid it Happening Again

  1. Maintain your landscaping
  2. Change your locks
  3. Invest in home security
  4. Have a plan for when you travel
Source: SimpliSafe

Burglary Infographic

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4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jennifer

    In California, if a person is convicted of the burglary, the victim can request restitution for losses, including installation of a security system. Now while the chances are slim you will ever get the money, it is worth a shot.

    • Hazel

      Jennifer, what you say could be true EXCEPT IF THE TENANT ADMITS THEY LEFT THE BACK DOOR OPEN-this happened in one of my rentals!!!!

  • Dan Hunter

    Re: Burglaries, Ninety eight percent of the burglaries my tenants endured were committed by the tenants themselves. When they accidently lock themselves out they break in thru a window or by forcing the door. They save the $40 lock out fee this way. I even had one tenant claim he had left the unpaid rent in cash on the kitchen table. It disappeared according to tenant. I asked him, ” Where’s your proof?” Then I told him I was not waiving the late charge. He had no more “break ins”. Sometimes they break in due to a domestic dispute and claim burglary. When they do not produce a police report I charge them to repair my door. If the door has a window I tell them if they get locked out to break the window instead of forcing the door

  • DeeDee

    An ex girlfriend of a tenant broke into property I own, but rented by the ex boyfriend. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again, due to my tenant working out of town?

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