It is often said that an Englishman’s home is his castle, but more and more people are making their homes in someone else’s castle.
With home-ownership falling out of favour, and Generation Rent looking at long-term lettings, home security in rental properties is a serious issue.
In any rental property, a landlord or letting agent has a responsibility to ensure the safety of their tenants is up to scratch, but tenants should also act responsibly to minimise the risk. Beyond the bare minimum, here are some tips on how to boost home security in a rented property.
Do a quick assessment of the security features that go with a home
The first step to boost home security is to familiarise yourself with the property’s attributes as they stand. Banham’s guide on the different types of door lock will help you determine whether you have a rim or mortice lock, a lever tumbler lock or a pin cylinder lock, and a single cylinder or double cylinder lock type.
While you’re doing an assessment of your door locks, inspect the window locks too. These should be fitted to all windows and in good working order, whether you’re on the ground floor or the tenth. Take a look at the windows themselves, determine what type of windows you have, and note whether they are single or double glazed.
Once you’ve determined which security measures are already in place, you can compare that with these guidelines for minimum security for domestic property from the Master Locksmiths Association, or standards set by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System for rented homes.
If you are aware of the risks associated with certain kinds of door locks and certain types of windows, you can take steps to minimise that risk, giving your property security an immediate boost and yourself peace of mind.
Tenants – make a proposal to your landlord
If you make an assessment of your home and find your security is not up to scratch, you can then present a proposal to your landlord. Most tenancy agreements prevent you from making any permanent changes to a rented property, so it’s vital you get permission before taking any action.
Landlords also have a vested interest in securing their property, so it is of mutual benefit to agree on a course of action, such as fitting new door locks or installing additional security measures.
In a rented property, it can sometimes be confusing to understand who is responsible for security, and, who is financially responsible for it; landlord, letting agency or tenant? In some cases, you may come to an impasse. If your landlord is not willing to make changes to the property, you can take interim steps to improve your home security that are minimally invasive, and can even be taken with you when you leave, so you won’t ever be out of pocket.
Wireless security and standalone products offer a security upgrade with minimal impact on the property, and are available for both CCTV systems and house alarms. What’s more, these are often DIY products, which will bring down the overall cost of installation. If you live in a shared house, a home safe can also offer invaluable peace of mind for your most precious possessions.
Install multiple layers of security
If you’re thinking of installing wireless and standalone products to secure your rented property, there are plenty of smart upgrades available too. This post from Ars Technica offers a comprehensive guide to the smart home solutions that are available to you as a renter. Examples include Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, an Internet of Things framework that allows you to connect any number of compatible devices, like smart window blinds, thermostats—even microwaves—to your phone or iPad.
Of course, certain products will be off limits. Many leases forbid tenants from installing new electronic appliances, and there can be problems associated with installing smart locks. Check your tenancy agreement and consult directly with your landlord to find out exactly what you can and can’t install. At the very least, they will need final say on whichever product or provider you choose.
Sometimes, however, boosting security in a rented property needn’t be anything fancy at all. If your door locks are in good working order, consider making a request to have them rekeyed so you know only the current tenants of the property have working keys. Beef up the security you already have by installing a simple bolt on the door that will cause only minimal damage if it has to be removed.
It’s important to remember that home security isn’t just confined to the house. Get to know your neighbourhood—it’s a consequence of renting that tenants rarely get familiar with their neighbours, but community spirit goes a long way in terms of keeping your property secure. Remember, of course, to take out renters insurance. Preventing a break in is always your priority, but you don’t want to be caught short in the event your property’s security is breached.
©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.
Tips on Boosting Security in a Rented Home https://t.co/DuS10aCWuB
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) June 7, 2017