Landlord Advice

8 Things That Can Help Improve Your Rental Property’s Security

Privately rented properties tend to be less secure, and there are numerous reasons for that. Unsurprisingly, burglars don’t choose their victims in a day. They examine the target properties for some time, spotting the security flaws in door locks, windows, etc., and inhabitants’ patterns.

Speaking of locks, when was the last time you changed the locks in your rental property? Even if there is no legal requirement directly stating that a landlord should change the locks after every tenancy, it is the landlord’s legal and moral obligation to ensure the security of their rental property.

So, if your tenants tend to change often, there is a chance that your property might be under a burglar’s radar. That is why it is important to implement certain security measures to increase your rental home security. 

So, if you want to:

  • Prevent your rental property from being burgled;
  • Find out how often you should change locks;
  • Ensure your tenants’ security.

Then read on! This post has all the landlord tips you need to keep your tenants safe and happy!

Is the landlord responsible for security?

“It is a landlord’s basic responsibility to provide a secure home”. This mantra-like sentence can be found in every blog post out there on the Internet. And they are not wrong, it is indeed a fair statement. 

While it is a legal obligation to provide a secure and hazard-free living space, in the context of locks, this can be interpreted as “as long as the doors can be locked, and windows can stay closed, the property is secure”.

If a door can be easily removed or any parts of it shattered, there won’t be any point in locks. Your tenants have to be sure that while they are gone, no one will invade their new home. Hence, make sure that your rental property has not only functioning locks but also windows, patio doors, garages and sheds, protected from break-ins. 

If your property has a history of burglary, be sure to upgrade its security. Burglars usually return to the places they tried to break into before, as owners fail to improve the security measures. 

Unfortunately, there are no minimum requirements for the safety of the property itself, unless they are stated in the tenancy agreement. That is why we highly recommend having basic security obligations stated in the final version of your rental agreement.

That way, you can be sure that you are protected from unfair accusations after your tenants have left the key under a doormat. In case your rental agreement does not mention any specific security obligations, you still have to provide “a secure rental property”. 

Either way, it’s necessary to enhance the security of your property by investing in durable locks and solid doors. 

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How do you secure a rented house?

Let’s be honest – if a burglar sees an opportunity in your property, they will try to overcome any obstacle that they might face. That is why it is so important to implement security measures. The more barriers for a break-in there are, the more time it will take for a burglar to get into your rental property. Hopefully, if there are too many risks for them to be caught, they will give up.

Another important thing to remember – if burglars attempt to break in, they are most likely to make sure that no one’s home. And, as the majority of us have work during the day, one of the most popular times for burglaries is between 12 PM and 6 PM. In other cases, burglars are likely to make their move at night, between 12 AM and 6 AM. And that’s not just speculation, either – those are real statistics.

Now let’s see what measures you can take to improve a rental home’s security.

1. Assess the security of your rental property

Ask yourself the following questions: Are locks installed on the front and back doors, gates, or any other entrances? Is there window protection? Are the current security measures reliable?

There are a lot of areas to inspect and cover, so our advice is to make a list of the most vulnerable spots in the house you can think of, then go check them one by one. This way you can be sure that nothing will be missed and you can also keep notes of any potential issues that you can fix later.

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2. Change the locks after each tenancy agreement

There is no direct rule mentioning the change of locks between tenancies, that is why most landlords don’t even consider it as an important thing to do. As long as they are working, there is nothing to worry about. This is not quite true.

Tenants want to know if the place they are renting is secure. Whenever you rent your property out, there is a chance that your previous tenants have made several duplicates of the keys that you might not even know about.

If nothing in the rental agreement states that your tenants are not allowed to make copies of the keys, it might not even be considered a violation of the agreement. Those duplicates might fall into someone else’s hands, which threatens the security of the property that you are renting out.

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Another common situation that can cause security concerns is when your tenants lose their keys, or even worse – the keys get stolen. This again involves a potential risk of theft. 

Additionally, locks fall into the wear and tear category. If you or your tenants notice that the keys keep turning in a door lock or jamming from time to time, it is definitely time to replace the old locks.

In situations like these, you should react swiftly and consider changing the locks. As it is a serious issue, you might add a provision to the tenancy agreement, stating that in case of any actions that undermine the security of the property, the cost of changing the locks falls on the tenants.

Can tenants change locks?

As a landlord, you probably don’t want your property to be changed without your knowledge. We hate to disappoint you, but unless your agreement states the opposite, tenants are allowed to change the locks without notification and even hold the spare key.

If the lock change is done not for security purposes, but to prevent a landlord from coming in, you should still be able to gain access to the property for the planned visits, like regular maintenance and Gas Safety checks.

If you don’t want to find yourself in such an unpleasant situation, make sure that your rental agreement clearly states that tenants can not implement any changes in your property without your approval.

An unexpected issue like that can undermine the trust between you and your tenants. However, don’t rush to conclusions and try to communicate the issue with your tenants. After all, it is their right to enjoy the property without feeling unprotected.

What are the best locks for a rental property?

One of the ways to protect your rental property from burglaries is to install theft-resistant locks. They usually come with the British Standard Kitemark (BSI) and the Standard number BS3621 stamped on the faceplate of your locks. The next time you open the door, check if your locks comply with the standards. 

The BS3621-approved locks are designed to be resistant to burglary techniques. If the burglars decide to drill the locks, they will spend at least 5 minutes trying to go through hardened metal plates. The same applies to bolt attacks. Moreover, the locks have an anti-picking mechanism, which adds another obstacle for the burglars to overcome. 

When paying for an expert locksmith to supply and install your new locks, you can rest assured that they will comply with the safety regulations.

Your final choice predominantly depends on the type of doors you have and the amount of money you are ready to spend. Consider asking your local locksmith to give you more information on what the best option will be for your rental property. 

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3. Install window protection

If you think that any of the windows can serve as a potential entry spot for burglars, you should definitely secure them, too.

Effective window protection could be the installation of security bars or the upgrading to laminated glass, which is harder to smash through. There’s also the option to add security films to the windows, which can endure the weight of a broken window glass in case of a break-in attempt. Generally, the thicker the film, the better the protection.

4. Add lighting around the property if you let out a house.

Exterior security lights can serve your tenants a good deal if burglars try to break in during the night. Intruders don’t like to be seen, so this could prove to be an effective deterrent measure.

5. Get property insurance

In the worst-case scenario, a landlord insurance policy will cover the damages from a break-in and the cost of the missing items.

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6. Install CCTV, if possible

Security cameras are the best deterrent to criminals so far. However, the installation requires investment, which might not seem reasonable for a rental property.

Still, as a landlord, you have the right to install security cameras on your property. Though, there are a few good practices to follow. To avoid problems, it’s best to inform the tenants in advance and install the cameras outside the property and not inside, as the latter would infringe on your tenants’ privacy. The cameras should be easily visible and should cover only the perimeter of your rental home with respect to the neighbours’ properties.

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7. Consider a burglar alarm

Alarms are a serious investment that requires regular maintenance. An alarm can add value to your rental property, however, not every tenant is willing to pay additionally for it.

There’s also the matter of finding the right kind of burglar alarm for your rental property. There are different models to consider, such as wired, wireless, dialler, sound-only alarm, etc. The better informed you are on the models and their features, the easier you will find the right fit for your place.

8. Educate your tenants

As soon as you hand over the keys to your property, your tenants are partially in charge of the safety and security of their new home. You might reduce the chances of theft in your property to some extent by giving your tenants the following home security tips:

  • Use a burglar alarm or any other system that the property has;
  • Turn the lights on when out and about;
  • Don’t leave valuable items on display;
  • Don’t leave the keys in a postbox, under a stone or doormat, or any other easily reachable spots; 
  • Insure your belongings;
  • Don’t share your location on social media;
  • If you suspect a crime, immediately call the police and the landlord.

Still don’t know what security measures to implement?

If you are not completely sure what kind of locks will be the best for your rental property, contact the Fantastic Services team to get our expert opinion. Whether you want to change your old locks or install new ones, the 24/7 locksmith professionals we work with will make sure that all your locks comply with the BS3621 standards.

Without any doubt, theft-resistant and durable locks are their specialisation. If you are also thinking of a CCTV installation, don’t forget to mention it when you book your lock installation service!

Need new locks?

Find a professional locksmith to protect your rental property from burglars.

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Takeaways

  • Be realistic. All the security measures are implemented to slow down burglars, and hopefully scare them away;
  • Regularly assess the security measures of your rental property. Replace the old locks with durable ones, invest in window protection and outdoor lighting;
  • Communicate the security obligations with your tenants;
  • Your tenants have a right to feel secure in the rental property, don’t ignore their concerns;
  • Burglars like to attack when no one’s home, that is why the most preferred time for attacks is from 12 PM to 6 PM and 12 AM to 6 AM.

Disclaimer: Every piece of information here is meant for informational and educational purposes only. So please, do not use this as a definitive legal basis. Fantastic Services encourages you to seek authority professional counsel before you decide to act upon what you have read. For more information, check our disclaimer.

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Do you have any personal experiences or advice on rental property security? Feel free to share in the comments down below! There is a chance that your advice can help someone.

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