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A guide to home security for landlords & tenants

As a landlord you leave your rental property in the hands of tenants for long periods of time. As a tenant, you are responsible for making sure that your rental property is kept locked up and secure from day to day.

Both landlords and tenants can take simple steps to securing their rental property and we have set out a handy guide below:

1. Check that locks are fully secure

Check the locks of your rental property to ensure that they’re safe and secure. As a landlord, if you decide to install new locks, here are some options for you to consider.

Types of locks

  • Mortice locks – A mortice lock fits into the door itself. Five-lever mortice locks are recommended by Secured by Design, which is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
  • Rim locks – These locks, sometimes known as Yale locks, are attached to the back of the door and lock automatically.
  • Multi-point locks – Multi-point locks are held closed by two or more hooks and bolds. They can be harder for burglars to manipulate.
  • Additional security bolts – These bolts make it difficult for doors to be forced open. They’re a popular choice for patio doors.

If the rental property has gates, a shed and a garage, you must also ensure that these have secure locks on them too, as they are prime targets for thieves.

2. Install an alarm

Alarm systems are very effective at deterring burglars. There are many different models available, but the Metropolitan Police recommends a system that meets British Standard 4737/BS EN 50131:

  • Audible only – These alarms set off a loud and unpleasant alarm, which is designed to scare burglars and notify your neighbours.
  • Automatic dialing alarms – An automatic dialing alarm sets of a noise and makes an automated call to the police.
  • Remote signalling alarms – This type of alarm sets off an alarm and sends a message to a monitoring office, which then contacts the police.

3. Fit security lights

Motion-sensor security lights can also be very effective. A bright light makes it easy to see when someone approaches your property and can make burglars reconsider their break-in attempt. These lights are particularly useful in high-risk areas, such as:

  • Parts of the property that aren’t overlooked by neighbours or visible from the road
  • Patio doors
  • Flat roofs
  • Back doors

4. Keep keys out of sight

Tenants you need to make sure you keep your keys out of sight, as keys or other valuables can be very tempting to burglars when left by a door or window. Also,  don’t hide spare keys in common spots, such as under a doormat, as these are the first places a burglar will look.

5. Take protective steps when going on holiday

Tenants, if you’re going away on holiday, liaise with your landlord as there are measures both of you can take to look after the rental property while it is empty. If you’re going away for more than a few days, try to arrange the following:

  • Have a car parked on the drive at all times
  • Set up a timer for lights and the radio during the evenings
  • If it’s summer, go to the property to cut the grass or have your tenants ask a neighbour

Empty homes are a prime target for burglars, but you can deter theft by taking preventative measures and putting certain actions in place.

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Matt Harris

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