As a landlord, you need to keep your rental units secure to protect both the investment you've made in them and the tenants who live in them. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to keep track of locks, keys, and tenants as different tenants come and go. 

The following are six things you should be aware of as a landlord when it comes to keeping your properties secure.

It's always a good idea to run a background check before handing over the keys to your rental unit.

You should definitely work a criminal background check into your screening process for new tenants. Not only should you do a criminal background check, but you should also contact old landlords to make sure that the prospective tenant you're considering can be relied upon to follow rules at your rental property. 

You need to also be vigilant when it comes to giving keys out to employees.

A lot of landlords make the mistake of handing out keys to contractors and other employees without a lot of scrutiny. Employees you give keys to have access to your properties just like tenants do. 

You're not going to want to re-key or change locks after every new contractor comes and goes. It's best to develop long-term relationships with employees so that you build up trust in them over time. This way, you'll know you can trust your employees with sets of keys for your rental properties.  

You should be marking tenant keys with "Do not duplicate".

Make sure all the keys you're handing out are marked "Do not duplicate". While this may not completely prevent tenants from duplicating keys, it will at least let tenants know that they are duplicating keys against your will. Also, many locksmiths will refuse to duplicate keys that are marked in this way. 

Re-keying is important every time a renter moves out.

You should get into the habit of re-keying the doors on your rental properties every time tenants change.

There is no way of telling that previous tenants don't have extra keys available to them that could get into the hands of a burglar. Your new tenant could try to hold you liable for damages suffered as the result of a burglary, so it's important to do everything that you can to prevent burglaries when new tenants move in. 

To learn more about re-keying, contact a locksmith.

You might want to consider keyless coded locks for short term rentals.

If you're renting your properties out on a short-term basis, it's a good idea to consider keyless coded locks. This way, you can simply change the code after each tenant leaves and don't have to worry about keys. 

You should be making a list of which keys you've given to which tenants and employees.

Keep track of who has which keys by making a list. You should keep track of the door keys you give out as well as mailbox keys, laundry facility keys, and any other keys your property rentals include.

Refer to your list every time a tenant moves out to make sure you've gotten all of the keys they have back from them.