The Ultimate Guide to Flat Security

This part of the ultimate guide to home security we look at your Flat security. Flats often have multiple access points as well as relying on other tenants to ensure entry to the apartments is secure. Our guide looks at what you can do to secure your flat / apartment.

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Last Edited: 04/05/2022

Security Guide: How to Safely Secure your Flat / Apartment

It’s  thought that you’re less likely to be burgled in a flat or apartment when you compare to the risk a detached house, but it’s still imperative that you stay on top of your home security. Flats are generally less attractive targets as people tend to live closer together and there can be a higher risk that someone might see or hear an intruder. However, ensuring that you take the appropriate measures to prevent burglaries is essential to home security.


We’ve used our expert security knowledge to put together the ultimate guide to flat security, where all the tips, tricks, and recommendations you’ll ever need for flat security will be below!

Outdoor Apartment Security
Apartment Security Quick Tips
5 Best Locks to Have for Flat Security
Can I Change the Locks if Renting?
Apartment Window Security
Ground Floor Flat Security
Apartment Security Cameras
Apartment Car Park Security
Fire Safety for Flats
Your Apartment Security Questions Answered

Flat security


Outdoor Apartment Security

When thinking of flat security, the first place to start is the outside. Make sure that the building has adequate security lighting installed and that it functions properly. Security lighting is a great way to take away dark spots where some can lurk and can greatly reduce the risk of burglary.

Read more about outdoor lighting in the Keytek® Outdoor Security Lighting Guide.



Ensure that any shrubbery, bushes, or hedges are maintained and don’t obscure any entrances to the building, block the view from the road or any outdoor security cameras that the building might have. Reduced viability can leave your apartment building vulnerable to attack as it can give intruders an more discreet way in. Communal gardens that are unkempt and obscure views give intruders opportunities to remain unnoticed. As a result, minimising an intruder’s opportunity is critical to flat security.

Read more about garden security in the Keytek® Garden Security Guide.

If you are concerned about any issues with your apartment building security, then you’ll need to contact your landlord or management company, who can then contact the building maintenance team.


Outbuildings: Bins, Bike Storage and Sheds

The next step to consider in flat security is any outbuildings that belong to the flat. If your block of flats has outside storage, such as sheds or bike racks, ensure that any lights and security doors are working correctly, as darkened spaces can invite loitering and antisocial behaviour at night. So, you need to be sure that these are secured correctly. If they aren’t, make sure to inform your landlord or estate agent.


Fire and Communal Doors

When evaluating the security of the communal entry points to your flat or apartment building, always make sure that fire regulations take precedence, and if you are in doubt about this, the Police advise contacting your local Fire Officer and your local Police Crime Prevention Officer.

There is most likely going to be a robust looking communal door that everyone must go through to get into your flat or apartment building. These are normally operated by fob, key card, or biometric reader, meaning only a person with the right access can gain entry to the property. This gives you another level of safety, as a burglar will have to get through two doors before, they reach the inside of your home. However, with the number of people coming in and out of the door, they are likely to need a lot of maintenance, so you need to let your landlord or building manager know if they need to repair it. They are also susceptible to tampering, by placing something over the magnet in the mechanism of the door, meaning the door can simply be pushed open.


The Flat

When it comes to actually securing your flat, you first need to understand the risks of your flat. Are you ground floor? Do you have a balcony that can easily be accessed? Is your entrance covered and badly lit? A ground floor flat is more at risk of burglary than one on the first or second floor, whereas having an easily accessible balcony can also make you more at risk. Understanding the risk of your flat will help to make sure you properly secure it.


These are all things to consider when securing your flat or apartment. Different flats can hold different risks for different reasons, but what is the most important thing to remember is to make use of your door and window locks to ensure that your home remains safe, and you are on top of your flat’s security.

Apartment Security Quick Tips

1.      Avoid Dark Public Areas


You never know what could be lurking in the dark, so we suggest trying to stay in well-lit areas to avoid unnecessary risk.


2.      Know your Neighbours

Simply saying hello to a neighbour will allow people to know who is and isn’t a neighbour, so they can notice suspicious behaviour and report if anything doesn’t seem right.


3.      Don’t Hide Spare Keys

Burglars will often know where to look for a hidden key. So, if you are worried about not being able to get into your property, you should hide a spare key in a secure place or give a key to a trusted neighbour.


4.      Be Cautious with Strangers

When a stranger comes knocking, don’t let them into your home. They might not have bad intentions, but you can never be too cautious. There have been cases of burglars using distraction techniques to gain entry to your home, so it’s always best to be on the cautious side.


5.      Utilise your locks

It might seem like a no brainer to lock windows and doors at night or when you leave the flat, but did you know that 22% of burglaries that happen are when the burglar knows the occupant is home! Making sure your doors and windows are locked, even when at home, can help to improve your flat security and you can actually invalidate your home insurance by not locking them!


6.      Take Care with Valuables

Never leave valuables visible through windows or doors that could tempt an intruder, we suggest moving valuables away from windows or doors.


7.      Report Anything Suspicious

Whether it’s people or a situation, it’s always best to report it to your building manager. Reporting suspicious behaviour can help to improve your apartment building security and can prevent crime.


8.      Check the Cameras Work

Cameras are the best deterrent to prevent burglaries. Always report if you notice that something is blocking a camera or they seem to be broken.


9.      Give the Impression Someone Is In

Device timers are a great way to connect to lamps and radios to give the impression that someone is at home, an occupied home is a lot less attractive to burglars and can reduce the risk of becoming a target!

Fire Escape

The Best Alarm Systems For 2022


Yale Easy Fit Apartment

As part of the ‘Easy Fit’ range, Yale has developed an alarm specifically designed for those living in flats or apartments. The Yale Easy Fit Apartment Alarm is a keypad operated system that, when triggered, a loud internal siren will sound and alert others of an intrusion.


If you want to install a more complicated wired home alarm system, then you may need permission from your landlord or building owner. That’s why it’s easier to get a Wi-Fi alarm system, which gives your flat or apartment the cover it needs. Yale isn’t the only company that does Wi-Fi alarms.


Samsung Smart Things Home Security System

Samsung has released their ‘Smart Things home security system,’ which is designed to connect with a variety of third-party smart home systems, including Sonos, Phillips Hue, and Yale systems. If you want a ‘smart home,’ Samsung is the way to go; centred on the Hub, you get a Multi Sensor for doors and windows, a Motion Sensor, a Presence Sensor that alerts you when people arrive or leave the house, and a Power Outlet plug those controls anything plugged into it.


Panasonic Home Security System

Panasonic also does a home security system, and it’s better for those who are less technologically minded. The starter kit contains a smart hub, an indoor siren, a motion sensor, and a door and window sensor. It boasts a ‘one button’ setup, so you won’t be struggling to get it working, and it’s also one of the cheapest home security systems out there.


There are plenty more smart home systems on the market, so it’s worth doing some research about which one would be best for your flat or apartment.

Learn more in the Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Security.


How To Improve Flat Security

1.       Get the Locks Changed

Replacing your locks reduces the risk of unwanted people gaining access to your new flat. Don’t rely on your landlord to have changed them but do seek their permission before changing them. Neither you nor the landlord know if any extra copies of the keys were made, so there could be many replica keys out there. Make sure you employ a professional locksmith to change your locks, as if you attempt it yourself, it could invalidate your insurance. Check your locks to see if they need replacing.


2.       Consider Getting a Security Camera

Whether it’s an outdoor security camera that you place on your balcony or an indoor security camera that you position in the hallway, a security camera is a good way to secure you home whilst your away. Having some sort of recording device helps to greatly reduce the risk of your flat becoming a target and helps to maintain your flat security.

Find out more about Indoor Security Cameras and Outdoor Security Cameras.


3.       Get a Smart Home System

It’s always a good idea to think about what additional home security measures can be put in place to ensure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect your home and, equally as importantly, yourself.


4.       Fit a Letterbox Guard

A letterbox guard or cage will help to prevent an intruder from using a letterbox to gain access to your flat or apartment. It will also help to prevent a method used by burglars to gain entry called ‘key fishing’ where they will use some sort of makeshift device, usually made from household items, to fish your keys from your door lock or where they are hung up.


5.       Fit a Door Viewer

Have a door viewer fitted so you can see who is calling before opening the door which helps you to keep out any unwanted visitors. We recommend installing one that is wide-angle with 160of vision.


6.       Rental Insurance

Yes! You probably do need it! If you are renting through an agency, then it’s more than likely that it will be a requirement of the contract. Your landlords will have specific landlord insurance, but that’s for fixing any broken windows or doors after a break in. They’re not going to replace any personal items that have been taken, such as TV’s or laptops. Even if it’s not a requirement of your landlords, its good practice to have rental insurance, if you are burgled then you’re probably not going to be able to afford to replace lots of valuable items.


Learn more about home, flat and valuables insurance in the Keytek® Guide to Insurance.

5 Best Locks to Have for Flat Security

Swing lock

A swing lock is relatively inexpensive and really easy to install. Its acts as a back up to your main lock and allows your door to be opened a few inches. This means you can speak to whoever is on the other side without compromising your safety.


Portable Lock

This type of lock works alongside your doors primary lock. Made from chrome plated carbon steel, it easily adjusts to most thicknesses and is easily installed and removed within a matter of minutes; no drilling required.


Grade 1 Deadbolt

The average latch lock can easily be defeated by a credit card, whereas a deadbolt requires your key to retract the bolt from the steel plate. This means serious force would have to be used in order to break through this lock, leaving you with better peace of mind.


Mortice Lock

Often seen as an even more secure version of the deadbolt, a mortice sits within the body of the door instead of the surface. This extra safety does come with a heftier price tag, but security is always worth it.


Smart Locks

For those who think technology is the way forward, you might want to invest in a smart lock that will unlock with your phone or even a fingerprint. There are many different variations from Bluetooth to Biometric to choose from that will give you that extra layer of security. Don’t panic, as although you don’t have to use a key to open the door, it is still an option.


Want more information on what lock is best for you? Read our Guide for Locks.


Can I Change the Locks if Renting?

Changing the locks without the knowledge of your landlord is a breach of contract; legally a landlord is entitled to hold keys for any rental property that they own. However, in some contracts there may be a clause regarding the changing of locks. The best course of action would be to read over your tenancy agreement to fully understand what you are entitled to and to simply have a conversation with your landlord about the issue. Just be prepared to front the cost!

Flat Window

Apartment Window Security

Window Locks

You may want to think about getting some additional security for windows, especially if you live on the ground floor. What you need is dependent on what type of window you have. Depending on your window type you may want to get.


  • Pin Lock- they can prevent burglars from lifting your ground floor window
  • Keyed Locks- the locks require keys to get them open
  • Hinged Wedge Locks- these are good security for a double hung window
  • Sash Locks- these locks allow a window to open and be held shut in place.


Window Sensors

You may want to invest in some window sensors that alert you when the window has been opened.


Tempered Glass

Tempered glass can be up to 4 times stronger than normal glass. Tempered glass will make it harder to gain entry to your flat by breaking the glass. It will take them longer to smash it, meaning that they run the risk of being disturbed.


Window bars

Window bars are effective because even if a burglar smashes your window, they will still not be able to gain entry to your ground floor flat. Don’t be put off by the standard bars you see. You can find decorative bars that are effective for security but still look presentable.


Thorny Shrubbery

Having thorny shrubs around your windows could put a burglar off from trying to get in. However the shrubs should not obscure your window from view, as this would allow a burglar to go unseen.


For more advice on window security, read the Keytek® Window Security Guide.

Ground Floor Flat Security

If you live on a ground floor flat, then you could potentially be more vulnerable to break-ins. This is because burglars have easier access to windows and doors. Our advice is applicable to all flats and apartments. However, those living on the ground floor need to think a bit more about their security.

Ground floor flats or even basement flats are higher risk of burglary when compared to higher level flats, it is tough that these flats are up to 48% more likely to suffer a burglary.


Are Ground Floor Flats Safe?

Yes, ground floor flats are considered to be just as safe as living in a house. As they are ground floor, it is easier for a burglar to force entry compared to a flat on the first or second floor, but they pose no more risk than if you were to live in a house.


How To Secure Ground Floor Apartment Windows

  • Make sure they are locked when you leave the flat. This is the first step in ensuring that your windows are secured.
  • Upgrade your locks. This makes it harder for someone to force entry. Consider installing a pin lock or sash lock.
  • Install window sensors. This will alert you if someone opens the window.
  • Consider investing in security bars and grilles. This makes it hard for people to enter the flat even if the window has been broken.
  • Invest in motion lighting. If someone approaches your windows the light will deter intruders from trying to enter.

security cameras

Apartment Security Cameras

Installing permanent security cameras within a rented apartment may be a bit too complicated, whilst there are other options for smart devices that don’t require rewiring or permanent installation but will still offer that protection. Products like Nest Cam can link to apps that allow you to check out live footage and view motion clips, giving you reassurance that you will know what’s happening in your home when you’re away.


Apartment Security Cameras Laws

There are no set rules for CCTV, but the general rule for security cameras is that an individual has the right to use CCTV to protect their property when used appropriately, such as for safety. However, it must not infringe on the privacy of any other individuals, as that would be against their rights and could cause disruption and anti-social behaviour.


If you do decide to install security cameras, consider just letting your neighbours know so that they don’t feel uncomfortable.

You can visit for more official government guidance on security cameras.

Flat garage

Apartment Car Park Security

Often in larger flat buildings communal areas, such as garages, are the places where you are most vulnerable. As mentioned before dark places can invite anti-social behaviour so you must be extra cautious when alone in these areas. You can stay safe by:


  • Parking in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car – or at least don’t leave them in plain sight
  • Always lock your car no matter where you have parked
  • Make sure that your car alarm is in working order


Fire Safety for Flats

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), The Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have offered the following advice for residents in high-rise buildings and flats:


Smoke Alarms

While many properties will have smoke alarms already fitted, if your property doesn’t, it’s crucial you fit one on at least one floor. Having a smoke alarm will help provide an early warning of a fire, allowing residents more time to put fire safety procedures into action. A flat alarm will significantly increase people’s chances of reaching safety, so it can benefit both your fellow residents and yourself!


Once a smoke alarm is fitted, the maintenance of the alarm is vital to keep it functioning. A smoke alarm should be tested once a week, the batteries should be replaced every year, the vents should be cleaned twice a year, and the detector should never be covered.


Escape Plan

It is important for those living in high-rise buildings to establish an escape plan for emergencies. Once a plan has been created, everyone living in the flat should familiarise themselves with all routes, doors and exits. High-rise buildings will have their own building evacuation plans in place, which should illustrate exactly what residents are to do in the event of an emergency.

This plan should be rehearsed in a fire drill at least once a year to ensure everything is up to date.


Building Safety

Following these tips daily will help increase safety in the event of an emergency.


  • All fire doors should be kept closed when not in use.
  • Make sure all exits and passageways are kept clear of obstructions
  • Do not tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on the landings
  • Close all internal doors at night.
  • Report faulty doors or staircases immediately
  • Never park your vehicles in a designated space for emergency services
  • Ensure all smoking materials, such as cigarettes, are fully extinguished and cold before putting in rubbish bags and placing in bin chute.
  • Never use or store bottled gas cylinders in high-rise buildings.


In the Event of a Fire

Remember, if there is an emergency, never assume another person has already dialled 999, and make the call yourself. If possible, raise the alarm and make others in the building aware.

In the event of a fire, never use the elevator and always use the stairs. It is vital that when creating an escape plan, you familiarise yourself with all staircases in the building just in case any are obstructed. It is also important to incorporate a plan for anyone who has difficulty using stairs. Remember that if your building is uses electric locks on doors, the fail-safe default is set to unlocked, meaning you won’t need to search for your keys.

Sometimes the safest place to stay in the event of a fire is in your own flat. If it is too dangerous to follow your planned escape route, or if you cannot exit the building due to smoke or fire in the hallway, it is best to gather in the safest room with a window and report your exact location to the fire department. Using duct tape, towels or bedding to create a seal around doors and air vents will prevent smoke from coming into the room.


If you are in immediate danger and your flat is not too high from the ground, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have advised you to drop cushions, mattresses, or bedding to the ground below to break your fall. Get out feet first and lower yourself down the full length of your arms before dropping. If you are trapped in a high storey, lean out of the open window for fresh air until the fire service arrives. If the smoke becomes too thick, crouch to floor level as smoke rises upwards.


If you are living in a high-rise building, or know someone who is, it is crucial to express the importance of fire safety procedures and fire prevention. For more information, contact your local housing office.

smoke alarm

Your Apartment Security Questions Answered

Yes, you can! As long as you don’t infringe on any other individual’s privacy and it’s used in a reasonable manner.

First thing would be to change the lock and install any extra security measures, such as a viewer or a door limiter. Finally, check that your door is properly installed and is bolted in place with long screws.

One of the easiest ways to prevent theft is not leaving anything of value in plain sight of windows and doors as to tempt an intruder.

There is no way to 100% prevent a burglary, but you can use security systems that will allow you to monitor your home whilst your away and through the use of external features such as bright outdoor lights that make your home more visible it will deter burglars from targeting your home.

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