The Ultimate Guide to Rented Home Security
One thing tenants often forget in their specifications when looking around a property is security, here are our top tips to ensure your home is secure.
Whether you’re moving into rented accommodation, you’re moving to a new area or you’re investing in a rented property there are lots of things to consider. Rented home security isn’t just about tenants securing the property but also landlords knowing what their responsibilities are.
One thing potential tenants often forget in their specifications when looking around a property is security. It can become confusing knowing what the landlord and what you, the tenant, are responsible for so our guide below details everything you need to know about rented home security.
Things to Look for as a Tenant
You probably already know what you’re looking for in terms of what kind of property, how many bedrooms you will need and if you will share with other people. But once you have figured out the specifications its worth taking a deeper look beyond the cosmetic values to ensure that you remain safe inside your new home. Below are the main things to look for as a tenant.
1. Area Safety and Crime Rates
If you’re moving to a new area its worth doing a quick check on the Police and UK Crime Stats. These sites will give you a general indication on how safe the neighbourhood is, even before you get there. We would also suggest visiting the property at different times of the day to really get to know the area before you commit to the property.
2. Door Security and Locks
Take a good look at the quality of the doors and windows of the property you are viewing. Are they thick and sturdy? Are there any cracks? Are the locks including the shed and garage locks secure? Ensuring all access areas to the property are as secure as can be, will strongly deter any burglar that may be in the area.
For more advice on door locks read the Ultimate Keytek® Guide to Door Security.
3. Proper Property Maintenance
Check for damp and mould. Even the slightest bit of damp and mould will affect your quality of life from ruining your clothes and soft furnishings to affecting your health, particularly in the under 5’s and elderly population.
4. Up to Date Inspections
If you are going into shared accommodation or ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMOs), a professional inspection is required every five years. Ask when the last inspection took place and confirm when the next one will be when viewing the property.
There are many things that the landlord is responsible for when renting out a property. The three key areas landlords must carry out checks on are fire safety, electrical safety, and gas safety, these all should be checked at least once a year to ensure nothing is damaged. You should also receive a ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ (EPC) that will give you a general indication on how much your gas and electric bills will be, so make sure you ask for this when viewing a property. Brush up on what should be provided for you as a tenant in our list below.
1. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Fire safety is the responsibility of the landlord, and they are required to not only fit the alarms but are required to test them to make sure they are working correctly. There should be a working smoke alarm on each floor and a carbon monoxide alarm should fitted in the bedroom or hallways. It is the landlord that is responsible to fit theses alarms and regularly test them, however tenants should be sure to check them when viewing the property and one the day when you move in to make sure they are active.
2. Fire Escapes and Safety
A clear escape route should a fire break out. If the escape route is complex or if in a shared property higher than five storeys, emergency escape lighting is needed so look out for those. ‘Fire safe’ furniture and furnishings. If the property is supplied with anything related including curtains and carpets, they need to be fire safe. The easiest way you can find out is by checking the label to ensure the items comply with fire safety regulations.
HMOs need to be provided with a fire alarm and extinguishers if it has at least three storeys and contains five or more tenants.
3. Electrical Safety
The electrical system within the property must be checked by a registered electrician to ensure everything is in working order. This covers sockets and light fittings as well as having a ‘portable appliance test’ done every year on all moveable electrical items. Every property should have a ‘residual current device’. This automatically switches off the current, should someone accidently touch a live circuit. Preventing an electric shock which could be fatal.
4. Gas Safety
Ask for the gas safety record when you move in. All the gas appliances including boilers, gas cookers and hobs should be checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Although there are a lot of things that a landlord is responsible for in terms of the tenant’s safety, it is recommended that you act against your own security within your new home. With over 260,000 burglaries reported in the UK in 2020/2021 and with rented properties being less secure than owner-owned homes due to multiple people occupying the same property over time, it’s worth making the effort to secure your new home as much as possible. We have listed a few ideas below on how you can do just that.
Change the Locks
Most important thing to do is to change the locks. You have no idea how many loose keys are out in circulation that could quite easily fall into the wrong hands, if someone were to break in without any sign of forced entry your contents insurance may be invalid. Speak with your landlord to see if they can replace the locks for you the day you move in. Here at Keytek® we will also complete a free home security check when replacing the locks so you know your new home will be as secure as can be.
Find out more about door locks in the Ultimate Keytek® Guide to Door Security.
We recommend that you take out tenant’s insurance or rental contents insurance. This will protect your belongings should you be burgled or if there were a fire or flood, or any type of damage caused to your belongings due to a fault within the home such as a burst pipe.
Find out more in Keytek’s Guide to Insurance.
Keep Your Valuables
Ensure your valuables are kept out of sight. Store things like laptops, tablets, and jewellery away from the doors and windows at all times as it can advertise what’s for offer for opportunities. We would recommend keeping blinds or curtains closed when you leave the home or keep valuables in a safe.
Install Outdoor Lighting
The last thing a burglar will want is a bright light shining on them for everyone to see when they are trying to be discreet. Outdoor lighting helps to reduce the areas where burglars can hide and can make the property a less attractive target. Outdoor lighting is one of the best deterrents for would be thief.
Learn more about outdoor lighting in the Ultimate Keytek Guide to Outdoor Lighting.
Secure the Communal Spaces
If the property has a communal shed or garage for multiple occupants, it is worth investing in sturdy locks for the possessions you’ll keep inside such as a bikes or suitcases. We suggest reading our Ultimate Guide to Garden Shed Security.
Set a Routine
Ensure every door and window is locked at night and when leaving the property, so that no easy access is granted. Making sure you get into a routine of checking your security will make sure that no door or window is accidently left open or unlocked. Afterall, 21% of burglars that enter a property, enter through an unlocked door.
Top 5 Gadgets to Secure Your Rental Home
1. Indoor Security Cameras
An easy an effective way to secure your rental property is to install indoor security cameras. Modern versions allow you to view who is entering your home from a remote location through an app on a smart device and some are even equipped with 2 way audio. Find our top indoor camera picks for 2021 here!
2. Outdoor Security Cameras
One of the best way to deter burglars is with an outdoor security camera. A survey found that security cameras were burglars’ biggest deterrents as they not only made the home a risker target but also increased the chances of them getting identified on camera and getting caught. With different versions and models available you can choose one that suits your home and security needs. Find out more about outdoor security cameras in the Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Security Cameras.
3. Door Stop Alarms
If there is a particular door that you are concerned about, whilst we would always suggest getting this evaluated by a professional a solution in the meantime is a door stop alarm. These nifty little gadgets fit under a door like any other door stop but when someone tries to open the door with the alarm engaged a loud siren will sound, alerting you of someone trying to enter and hopefully scaring off the burglar. On Amazon, you can pick up a set of door stopper alarms for £11.65 that come with a 120dB alarm.
4. Window Sensors
You can get sensors that attach easily to your windows that when activated will raise an alarm when the window is opened. These can then either be paired with a smart device like a smart phone or a siren to warn yourself and others that someone is trying to enter the home and maybe deter them from continuing their entry.
5. Automatic Timers
We all know the trick to leave a light on to make it look like someone is home, but burglars have now caught on and it’s not effective as it once was. The solution, automatic timers. These times can be set at random times to come on when you’re not at home to make it look like someone is turning lights on and off in different rooms. This makes your home a less attractive target and reduces the risk of attack.
You can purchase a timer switch on Amazon for £9.99.
There is no way you can guarantee to keep yourself and belongings 100% secure within your new rented home, but by following our advice you will have taken big steps in securing your belongings and keeping yourself safe. Here at Keytek® security is paramount. We have a team of professional Locksmiths who not only refit your locks to the highest standard when called out, but they will also offer you a free home security check. Giving you the best advice on what locks to use on all your doors including the shed and garage as our professional Engineers carry a wide variety of locks on every call.
Rented Home Security FAQs
Burglar alarms are always recommended as they provide another layer of security to the home and make it less of a target. However, this can be difficult in a rented property as you will often have to install the alarm. Consult with your landlord if you want to install a burglar alarm.
Yes. As long as they are used responsibly.
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner doesn’t regulate domestic CCTV systems however they do suggest that you consider the implications when installing security cameras and how it can affect other’s privacy. For example, should you place outdoor security cameras in a place that would infringe on someone else’s privacy or property then you must make them aware with clear signs and be in accordance with the rules of GDPR and DPA. You can find out more on the GOV website and Information Commissioner’s Office.
The is no minimum security requirement that your landlord must adhere to, all that they are required to do is to keep the property in good repair. If you have concerns about the property security that are down to damage or disrepair than you can always discuss your concerns with your landlord, but they are under no obligation to add additional security so you might have to pay for them yourself.
Yes, unless the tenancy agreement states otherwise. However, when changing the locks on a flat be aware that you must provide a key to the landlord or management company to follow your rental agreements.
Yes, if the lock Is faulty or broken due to disrepair, however if your actions as the tenants have led to the lock breaking then in most cases it will be your responsibility to get it repaired.
Landlords, as owners of the property, have the right to request and have access to the property. Under the Quiet Enjoyment Right, tenants have the right to enjoy the property they are renting undisturbed however, this doesn’t mean that Landlords can’t have access to the property. Landlords must give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property and this must be agreed beforehand.
Landlord can have access in emergency situations such as a fire, gas leak or flooding.