Rented Home Security Guide
You’re moving into rented accommodation, whether you’re a student moving away from home for the first time or maybe you’re moving to a new area, there are lots of things to consider. 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 we have created a list of things to consider when looking for your new home to help you chose the safest place for you.
Step 1: Things to look for
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.
- If you’re moving to a new area its worth doing a quick check on the Police and UK Crime Stats websites. These sites will give you a general indication on how safe the neighbourhood is, even before you get there.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Step 2: Landlords Responsibilities
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.
- Smoke alarms. There should be a working smoke alarm on each floor. Test these when viewing the property so you know they’re active from the day you move in.
- If the property you are viewing has a coal fire or wood burning stove (any appliance that burns solid fuel) in any of the rooms there needs to be a carbon monoxide alarm in place, one for every room that contains these appliances.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Step 3: Tenants Responsibilities
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 take action against your own security within your new home. With nearly 400,000 burglaries reported in the UK every year 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.
- Most important is changing 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.
- Speaking of insurance, 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.
- Ensure your valuables are kept out of sight. Store things like laptops, tablets and jewellery away from the doors and windows at all times.
- 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. Naturally, this will deter any potential thief to your home in the area.
- 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.
- Set yourself into a routine. Ensure every door and window is locked at night and when leaving the property, so that no easy access is granted.
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.