Flats offer up a bit of a security conundrum. Many newer apartment blocks are well secured with strong front doors, on-site security staff, CCTV and all kinds of additional security features. However, not all flats have this extra protection, and even those that do may still be a target for burglars looking to steal high-value items from young professionals who may be out for considerable parts of the day.
So what do you need to know about flat security, and what can you do to secure your flat? We’re going to run you through some simple things to help make your flat safe, whether it’s on the ground floor or the penthouse.
Why you need to secure your flat
A study by the Police Foundation in 2015 showed that burglaries were more concentrated in rented flats and houses than any other form of property. While a flat on a high floor may be more secure, ground floor flats are often a popular target for burglaries. With the potential for easy access and a quick escape, it can be a good idea to go the extra mile for ground floor flat security. Here are some key things you can do to protect your flat from the distress and upheaval of burglary.
11 security tips for your flat
It’s worth noting that many of our regular home security tips apply to flats and apartments, but here are a few pointers to keep in mind specifically if you live in a flat and share common areas with other tenants. These are:
Secure the building
Ideally, this is something that the management company has already sorted. However, if you are in a position where you have control over the building, i.e. you’re in a share of freehold situation, you can work to improve the security of the flat building. This includes things like:
- Installing security lighting with motion sensors
- Installing alarms in communal areas
- Installing security doors and cameras
- Keeping hedges and plants under control, don’t let them obscure entryways or block cameras
- Make sure entry points are secure, including bin stores and storage cupboards
- Ensure communal areas are well lit
If, as a flat owner or renter, you don’t have this kind of control over the whole building, consider lobbying your management company to make improvements for everyone’s safety.
Community: meet your neighbours and act on important issues together
Whether you have control over your building’s security or not, meeting your neighbours and working on issues as a community is essential. Getting to know your neighbours means there are more eyes watching out for anything suspicious, and more people keeping an eye on your flat when you’re away.
Not only that, but you can work together to improve the overall security of your building, such as acting on any maintenance issues that could cause security problems. A strong sense of community improves everyone’s sense of security, plus you might make some new friends along the way.
Make entry points like doors and windows less enticing for burglars
If you have the flexibility to do so, install robust security doors and windows. If you’re not able to replace doors or windows, take steps to make them more secure. Consider adding additional bolts or chains to doors, window security restrictors to stop them from opening as far, and of course making sure all doors and windows have strong locks.
Lock your doors and windows
If you have upgraded your doors and windows, make sure you actually lock them. Many burglaries happen because someone has forgotten to close and lock a window or door, especially those on the ground floor.
Change and upgrade your locks
One of the first things you should do whenever you move somewhere new is change your locks. You never know who has keys to the old locks and may use this as a means of sneaking back. If you’re renting, you’ll need to ask your landlord for permission or ask whether they’ll update the locks for you.
Always make sure you use a qualified professional to change or install the most secure locks possible on both your doors and windows.
Install a wireless smart home security system
People living in flats often neglect to install their own home security system. Some rely entirely on the wider building security, some people fear the additional hassle of installing a wired system in a shared block, others may fear adding a noisy siren in such close proximity to other residents. The good news is that these days, you can avoid tricky installations with messy wires, and you don’t have to install a noisy siren that could annoy your neighbours.
A wireless alarm system lets you install PIR motion sensors around your flat in critical areas and add contact sensors to your doors and windows. Plus, a smart security system like Boundary can give you security alerts directly to your phone, so you don’t even need to install an outdoor siren.
Install smart lighting or use timers
When both the outside and inside of your flat are well lit, you’ll have a better view of what’s going on around you and feel more secure.
Consider having simple timers coming on at different times across your flat to make it look like you’re in, even when you’re not. Smart lights make this particularly easy. Why not link to your smart home security system so that when your system is armed, the timer is activated, or when your alarm is triggered, all lights automatically switch on.
Invest in privacy: curtains, blinds and frosted windows
This is particularly important for ground floor flats. Installing curtains, blinds, or frosted windows isn’t just about giving yourself privacy when you’re pottering about your flat; it stops potential burglars from seeing all of the things you own and whether you’re in or not.
A simple solution is to install blinds, but a more cost-effective method can be to use something like privacy frosting film to cover windows with. This film allows light through whilst giving you privacy from nosy passers-by.
The same can be said for any homeowner or renter, but contents insurance is a must. For renters, it’s often a requirement from your landlord to have renters insurance. If the worst does happen, you should be covered for the items you’ve lost or any damage caused.
If you own the flat, you’ll likely have to have buildings insurance. Remember buildings insurance won’t cover lost items if you are burgled, that’s why you need both buildings and contents insurance. Installing a home security system can reduce your insurance premiums too.
Make an inventory of important or valuable items
This can help with any insurance claims. Keeping a list with photos, serial numbers, and even receipts can help if you find yourself burgled. There are apps available to log your valuables, or make a spreadsheet with the important information.
Fit a letter-box guard
While many blocks of flats have a communal postage system, perhaps pigeon holes in the corridor for mail, many flats still have individual post boxes on doors. Whichever you have in your building it’s worth considering a letter-box guard. Not only does a letter-box guard make it difficult for someone to steal your post, but it can also stop them from reaching inside and grabbing a lock or door handle and forcing their way in.
What you need to know as a renter in a flat
If you’re renting, there are several things you need to do to secure your rental property. We’ve compiled a complete guide on home security tips for renters, but if you’re renting a flat specifically, you may want to consider:
- Asking your landlord to change your locks
- Buying a wireless home security system you can take with you when you move
- Getting renters insurance
- Making friends in your apartment building
- Asking your landlord to install window locks
- Adding temporary privacy film to your windows that can be removed when you leave
Smart security systems offer straightforward solutions for flats
At Boundary, we understand that installing a wired security system in a flat might not be a viable option. Even if you aren’t renting, you may not be able to pull up floorboards or make too many changes to the walls. You also won’t want to annoy all your neighbours with a noisy siren.
Boundary is a smart home security system designed to work without wires using a combination of PIR motion sensors and door and window contact sensors to detect when someone tries to gain access to your flat. As a smartphone-controlled alarm system, if your alarm is triggered, you’ll receive an alert to your phone via the Boundary App. It’s that simple. We even offer a choice of monitoring options including police response.
Discover the starter bundle that’s the perfect security system for flats today.