October is Home Security Month, a national campaign which aims to “raise awareness around the importance of home security so you can be safe in the knowledge that your home, family and belongings are protected.” As a landlord, you might be wondering what you can do to make your rental property more secure, so we’re here with some security tips to give both you and your tenants peace of mind.
Fortify windows and doors
In 72% of burglaries in the UK, the burglar enters through a door, and in 27% of these cases the burglar forces the lock to get inside. You can protect your property against break-ins by ensuring that all doors and windows are fitted with key-operated locks of a certain standard. In the UK, five-lever mortise locks (British Standard BS3621) are required for timber doors, and British Standard TS007 locks are advised for PVC-u or composite doors. You can find out more about lock types at the Crime Prevention website.
There are other things you can do to secure the doors to your property. For example, you can install a letterbox restrictor to prevent people from reaching through the letterbox to open the door from the inside. Door chains provide residents with extra security when they’re in the property, while peepholes allow residents to see who is outside without having to open the door. If you intend to install a cat or dog flap, it should ideally be fitted in a wall, rather than a street-facing door.
Install safety devices
If you have a bigger budget, there are all sorts of devices you can install to enhance your property’s security. Of course, a burglar alarm is a great way to boost your home security: according to research, more than 81% of burglars claim they will not target a building that is fitted with an alarm. You might also consider installing a CCTV camera, although you should familiarise yourself with the CCTV laws first, and of course you must notify your tenants if you plan to do this, and never use cameras inside the property.
Protect outside spaces
The area surrounding your property can also be protected. Make sure any border walls or fences are in a good state of repair, and fit any gates with sturdy locks. If the property has outbuildings or a garage, make sure these are secured with strong, weatherproof locks. Further outdoor deterrents to burglars include gravel driveways and motion-activated security lights on exterior walls. You can also ask your tenants to keep any lawns or hedges trimmed and tidy, to limit hiding places and show that the property is lived in.
Take care when the property is empty
If your rental property is currently standing empty it may be vulnerable to a break-in, but you can take steps to prevent this. You should visit the property regularly – at different times – to clear away accumulated post, open and close curtains, and check the doors and windows. Consider giving your contact details to a neighbour so they can contact you if they notice anything suspicious, and you could even put the lights on a timer system so it looks like there is somebody at home.
Maintain other safety features
Of course, home security isn’t just about protection from burglaries – fire, gas and electrical safety are important too, and are part of the landlord’s responsibility in a rental property. For this reason, you should ensure that all electrical and gas safety tests are carried out when required, and that the property is fitted with working smoke alarms (you should ask your tenants to check these alarms regularly to make sure they’re still working). If the property uses gas, it’s also a good idea to provide a carbon monoxide detector to keep your tenants safe.
For more information about home security, take a look at the National Home Safety Month leaflet.
If you have a rental property in Bristol and need help finding tenants, Gough Quarters is happy to help. Contact us today to find out more.