Research has found that rented homes are more vulnerable to burglars than those occupied by their owners1. This is, in part, because neither the landlord nor the tenant want to take responsibility over home security.
Landlords tend to be apathetic over it and don’t go further than the minimum legal requirements2, while tenants don’t want to invest in a home that isn’t theirs.
However, there are benefits for both parties to beef up home security. The landlord avoids paying for damages caused by a burglar breaking and entering, while the tenant doesn’t have their valuables stolen. It’s not even difficult to secure properties; we’ve written some suggestions on ways to do so:
Landlords, here’s what you can do
• Fit good quality locks on doors
The front door is one of the most obvious break-in routes. A nightlatch, more commonly known as a snib, is very vulnerable but still very popular in UK flats. They’ve been known for being popped open with a fish-slice or simply forced open with a shoulder. The best way to prevent this is to upgrade the lock or add a second, more robust lock (in addition to the snib).Cylinder or mortice locks are the most secure. Chain locks are also useful for extra security when the tenants at home.
• Secure the windows against brute force
Another common point of entry for burglars is an unlocked window, especially on ground and first floors. It’s so easy to forget to lock windows, especially in the hotter months, most burglars know this. There are all sorts of locks, including cable locks which restrict how much the window can be opened, so there should be an option for every window type.
• Install smart cameras or video doorbells
If your rented property is a house rather than a flat, you could install CCTV around the perimeter. Not only does this help to deter potential burglars it also catches them on camera if a break in does occur.
CCTV is an invasive approach, so it should only be used if the tenant agrees. It also makes sense to give the tenant access to the App which controls the smart camera, as it’s their possessions they’re protecting.
What’s particularly useful with modern smart cameras is that tenants’ access can be easily revoked once they move out. It’s also possible to get legal protection in the lease document though, requiring the tenant to give back admin powers when they move out.
• Secure the garden
If the property has an exterior garden it is important to make sure that all access gates and sheds are secured. You can do this by fitting strong padlocks on all doors or gates. If your garden is hard to get into, it may make potential thieves think twice about breaking into your home. The more awkward a property is to break into the less likely they are to try. Having motion activated lights in your gardens and around the exterior of properties is another effective deterrent.
• Avoid using a keybox attached to a wall
Popular amongst AirBnb landlords, but also letting agents, keyboxes offer a place where a new tenant or guest can pick up their key. While they’re practical, they’re also very easy to break into; all you need is a thin strip of metal. A safe solution would be to install the keybox away from the front door. Or, you can use a portable key safe.
• Install Boundary
You can install a Boundary alarm and teach the tenants how to use it while keeping an access code for yourself incase of an emergency. If a relative or friend lives in the property, then you can act as a keyholder – basically someone who gets notified if the alarm is triggered, in addition to the main Boundary alarm user.
If you’re using a keybox, then a Boundary alarm offers reassurance. It will stop a burglar who’s broken into the keybox and then let themselves in. While tenants can simply punch in the code you’ve given them. If the tenant has forgotten the code, you can disarm it from where-ever you are.
Tenants, here’s what you can do
• Setting up light timers
Setting up timed lights that create the illusion of someone being at home is a good way to deter potential unwanted intruders. The Boundary alarm allows you to do this, deterring potential burglars who think you’re at home.
• Check who’s at the door
If you live in a flat which has a communal buzzer system it can be easy to get into the habit of just buzzing people into the building without asking them who’s there. This is however something that you should consider, as nobody wants to be letting sneaky burglars into the building.
• Talk to each other
Not all tenants that live together in shared accommodation will be friends. Although this may be the case it is important that everyone does their part in ensuring the flat is secured. It only takes one forgetful person to leave a window unlocked for everyone in the flat to get robbed.
• Install Boundary
You can buy your own Boundary alarm and install it without damaging a rental property. Boundary is both easy to install and uninstall, therefore moving home with it is a breeze.