It does not matter to a criminal if you are showing a rental home as a landlord or a resident looking for a rental home. Meeting a stranger at a vacant home for rent can provide a criminal with an opportunity for robbery, sexual assault, or even possibly murder. There is much good information on-line and in self-defense classes for Realtors available to the general public. Here are some of my tips on protecting yourself at a vacant rental home that I believe sometimes get overlooked.
The Cardinal Rule: Never, never met a stranger alone at a vacant home.
- Be aware that criminals using a vacant home as an opportunity to commit assault are usually men seeking out women, who they perceive to be easier targets. Further, Landlords can be perceived as someone caring cash or valuables. Collecting rents and deposits, owning two homes, driving a nice car, being well dressed, etc., all can trigger a financial motive.
- To get you off guard and to size up your potential as a victim attackers often engage you in conversation before going into the home. Unfortunately, they do not look like criminals and can be very charming. If they stand too close to you when talking be alert. Look them in the eye and establish your personal boundary. If you are alone, (You are not because you know the Cardinal Rule), do not go into the home. Give them the key and let them show it to themselves.
- Attackers often ask questions over the phone to get information and assess how vulnerable you are as a target. For Example: Is the home vacant? Can you drop what you are doing and show the home right now? Remember the Cardinal Rule.
- Criminals will attempt to entrap their victim in an isolated area or move that person to an isolated location of their choice. The property you list that offers “great privacy” can translate to “great opportunity” for the criminal. The more secluded the property, the better the opportunity.
The chances of being a victim of a criminal assault are statistically small. Nevertheless, please be careful and make those chances even less.