January 1st, 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
With a lot of rental inventory on the market going into 2019, you don’t want to be left out in the cold wave of competition. According to Forbes, the national vacancy average for apartments is 7.3 percent, compared to 7.1 percent in 2017. So now is the time to review marketing efforts for your rental properties
With millennials entering their child-rearing ages, there’s greater demand for houses, and less demand for apartments. That’s good news for renters as it gives them bargaining power when it comes to rent, concessions, free months’ rent or better amenities. They know what they want so they’re getting savvy and doing a lot of online research on properties.
Using resources like Apartment Locator, Apartment List and For Rent, they’re searching for the good stuff: pools, parking, pet-friendly. But renters are also on the lookout for the bad stuff like safety violations, crime reports, bad reviews, neighborhood problems, and other negative news.
Understandably, security and life safety are at the top of the list of what renters are looking for. And it should be at the top of your list to share your security/life safety status with potential renters. It’s smart business—and good marketing—to be prepared to tell renters what they want and need to know to be safe and secure.

First, make sure all fire and security inspections, annual inspections, and service documentation is found in one place and easily available when you’re asked to produce them. Better yet, have them printed out as part of the rental application packet. You don’t want the renter to see you rifle through files (cabinets, computer or cloud) wasting their time and trying their patience. Or worse yet, saying to them, “Can I get back to you on that?” You’ll never see that renter again!

To quote Ben Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Here are some questions that owners and property managers need to be prepared to answer.

  • Are all the security and life safety systems functional in all the buildings?
  • Are inspections, service, reports, and monitoring all coordinated by one trusted vendor?
  • Fire extinguishers: Are the tags current? Are extinguishers placed within 75 feet of every common area?
  • Sprinkler systems: Are any sprinkler heads broken and need to be replaced?
  • Fire alarms: Are they intact?
  • How easy is it to “buzz in” visitors?
  • Security card access 
    • Can people “piggy back” off other people’s card access?
    • How are future, current and former residents managed in the card access system?
  • Surveillance cameras
    • How secure are the entrances, garages, parking lots and doors?
    • Who monitors the buildings, and is it sufficient?
    • Is there a monitor and recorder for events?
    • Are the cameras operational and is the DVR working?
    • Are the images that get recorded clear both day and night?
    • Is the data being stored onside or by a third party and who is it?
  • Have your security needs changed and should they be adjusted?
  • Who is the responsible party to make sure fire and security details are getting done correctly?


A multi-family housing complex in Owatonna, Minnesota, took our advice and is ready to tackle questions from potential renters. They came to us after the dry sprinkler system had to be turned off because it was damaged and not working properly. (Rule of thumb: When something is only half functioning, then it’s not safe or up to code.)

After we fixed that issue, management asked us to make sure all their systems were updated, inspected, and up to building codes. For example, we found out that their fire extinguishers did not have current tags. The complex also had more than one fire and security vendor, which is why they got into the vulnerable situation in the first place.

Brothers Fire & Security has consolidated all the complex’s fire and security services under one roof. The complex can provide current and complete documentation for their potential renters on the front end. No digging through files, being stumped by a question or losing a renter.


Multi-family housing isn't the only industry Brothers Fire & Security serves. We provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to the fire and security needs for clients in many different industries:

  • Day care centers
  • Health care clinics and hospitals
  • Hospitality (hotels and restaurants)
  • Schools and colleges
  • Senior living (independent, assisted living, memory care, hospice)
  • Retail stores

We’ll also go that extra mile to make sure you can correctly and efficiently answer the questions you may face from residents, customers and employees. You’ll be prepared.

Seconday 010119 blog


As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.