Security measures every landlord needs in place before letting a property

In 2020 to 2021, the private rented sector in the UK accounted for 4.4 million households, housing over 11 million people with an estimated 2.3 million landlords in England.

Last year, house burglaries took place every 164 seconds, with a total of 192,060 burglaries reported in England and Wales alone. In general, rented properties are typically less secure than owner-occupied properties, and have a reported 63% higher risk of burglary than owner-occupiers.

With the start of the new year, tenant security should be high on a landlord’s priority list, as landlords have a high degree of responsibility for the health and safety of their tenants and will be responsible for any repairs.

Expert Boutaina Cansick, Head of Lettings at JOHNS&CO, is offering crucial security advice for landlords on some of the best practices they can use to help secure their rental assets and ensure their tenant’s safety.

Boutaina comments, “With an alarming rate of house burglaries occurring across the country, it is crucial that landlords know how to best keep their rental units safe, and understand what security measures can help keep tenants safe and secure.”

Fearing for the security of your property is a natural concern, and one which is shared by landlords and tenants. As landlords have a duty to provide a safe and secure home for the tenant, this includes responsibilities like providing functional locks on all windows and exterior doors, and regularly checking the condition of external doors and windows.

But there are a few additional measures which landlords can put in place to make their rentals as secure as possible.

Boutaina says, “I advise landlords to consider changing the locks between tenants’ periods. While this can be an additional expense now, in the long run changed locks also ensure that the property cannot be accessed by unknown individuals should previous tenants have copies of the keys made.”

“Providing peace of mind for both you and your tenants, it also ensures that the locks are in good condition and are functional before new tenants move in, saving you from any repairs costs further down the line.”

Boutaina recommends applying this to all doors, mailboxes, and any storage facilities, to avoid landlords being liable for property stolen or damaged if accessed by a keyholder.

Boutaina also suggests that landlords look into investing in a good alarm system and some external CCTV cameras.

She says, “As someone’s home, and a valuable asset to a landlord, ensuring the property is protected from potential theft and damage is most important.”

“CCTV and alarm systems act as deterrents for burglars, but they can also provide police with evidence should a burglary unfortunately occur. With a wide range of systems available, sophisticated devices are increasingly more affordable, without stretching too many budgets.”

In recent years, video doorbells have skyrocketed in popularity, with one in five British households now owning this form of security. Yet, only 29% of UK households have a burglar alarm, which could affect insurance claims.

As installing any additional security measures beyond functional locks are not a landlord’s legal responsibility, Boutainia advises landlords to consider including any subscription costs from CCTV devices into the price of the rental, or negotiate this with current tenants.

Boutaina also suggests some economical measures landlords can use, such as installing additional locks, bolts, or security chains, to external doors. These options can provide peace of mind, particularly if properties are in neighbourhoods with reportedly higher crime levels.

Finally, Boutaina advises that any landlords owning properties with gardens should be vigilant in their security approach.

She says, “Gardens can be a concerningly easy point of entry for potential burglars. From inadequate fencing or easily opened gates, to unmanaged hedges which can provide burglars with cover, landlords should be making a conscious effort to ensure that the area is secured.”

Continued proactive management and investment in the security of a rental property can be an expense for a landlord in the short term, particularly when it is not a legal obligation.

However, in the long term, landlords can enjoy the extended benefits of a secure property and happier and safer tenants. With a proactive approach to security, landlords can look to reduce the risk overall of large repair costs for any damage done during a burglary.

*Article supplied by Johns&Co

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