Cybersecure Leasing

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As 2021 ends, Baron Property Management conveys a few tips to make your current and future leases a bit more secure from malicious outside threats.

When purchasing our upgrading smart home devices for your rentals, be sure to:    

  1. Do thorough research before purchasing IoT devices and select well-known, reputable, American-owned brands with good cybersecurity track records. Choosing generic or off-brand devices may cost less up front, but they may be more likely to have serious security issues.   
  2. Do not choose devices with known vulnerabilities, limited security features, or poor consumer reviews. During your research, any mentions of buggy app interfaces, infrequent updates, or difficulty updating software should be a red flag.   
  3. Avoid purchasing devices from the clearance section if they are being phased out, regardless of the manufacturer. These devices may belong to discontinued product lines or may be made by a company that’s going out of business. The device may stop receiving software or firmware patches and will be at larger risk of compromise.    
  4. Avoid manufacturers and devices that are new to the IoT device market. Newer manufacturers may not have the same level of expertise and experience as well-established companies that have been producing IoT devices for years. Similarly, newly released IoT devices may pose risks due to rushed production or limited testing prior to entering the market.   
  5. Before purchasing a device, review the user manual to ensure that it is easy to establish basic security settings like changing default credentials and enabling auto-updates. Opt for devices that offer multi-factor authentication (MFA), encryption, and regular software updates.  
  6. Review the device’s terms of service and privacy policy to learn about how the manufacturer collects, stores, and uses your data on the device and any connected applications. If available, select a device that allows you to request your data to be deleted from the manufacturer’s servers. Mozilla offers a detailed guide rating the privacy of many popular connected devices.  

Remember fully disclosing all connected devices — including their maintenance and care — by specific lease references makes for excellent tenant relations. (It may also reduce any liability as a landlord).

I welcome your comments. Please email Baron at Happy 2022

Take a deep breath

peaceful lady sitting in padmasana pose while meditating on mat
Year’s End

Rents & property values increase. Renovation products and professionals now must be actively sought. Newer houses and apartments dwindle. Tenants, property managers, and owners desire to gracefully emerge from Covid-19. The inflation specter looms. Urban and suburban areas become more densely populated-with doorbell cams reaching near-ubiquity. These trends somehow managed to gain traction this year.
As such, Baron would like to share a few hopefully-helpful tips from the 2021 property management year in review.

  • Renewing leases? Check Zillow or Redfin for current rental market rates
  • Trouble locating make-ready or renovation professionals? Consider Craigslist.
  • Your available unit on the market too long? Market to millennials.
  • COVID-19 concerns? Wear a mask, consider allowing a self-guided tour, buy PPE for your cleaning staff. Be kind.
  • Do your co-workers/tenants have COVID-19-concerns? Don’t sweat it. Be kind.
  • Concerned with inflation? Refinance: again. Self-repair. Fire your prop mgr.
  • Seeking additional rental income without buying additional real estate? Investigate AirBnB options or buy a prefab backyard tiny house.
  • Fixed costs too high? Shop new fire insurance, question the county assessment, perform a cost/benefit analysis for new HVAC, water heater, etc.
  • Worried about doorbell cams? Baron property management does not have a recommendation on this either way. However, you may be surprised how many videos of you exist.

Finally, BPM will share a story about something learned from another seasoned landlord. Every Christmas this individual would renew a hard-copy subscription of a home improvement magazine for each of his housing units. This was done in the hopes that the tenants would thumb through the pages, get ideas and keep the unit tidier. BPM would like to know what you think about this idea: Is it good or not-so-good.

Happy Holidays and a Wonderful 2021. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Baron Property Management