Security Advice for Student Landlords
By Rowan Barry
Oct 10, 2018
With a typically lax approach to security, and the potential for a wealth of attractive technology related loot, it is no wonder student accommodation sits amongst the most targeted property for thieves in the UK.
According to research, one in four students fall victim to burglaries whilst at university, with £25 million having been lost to thieves since 2014. A large proportion – some 80 per cent – of student thefts occur from privately rented multiple occupancy accommodation.
In light of these findings, the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) has issued advice for student landlords to help protect their properties and their tenants’ possessions.
Who has access to your property? Many burglaries do not involve forced entry, but instead come from the inside. Think about who you have given keys to. Contractors? Cleaners? Agents? What about previous tenants? You may have asked for keys to be returned, but how do you know whether copies were made?
As we discussed in a previous post, one of the biggest areas of concern for shared accommodation is unauthorised duplication of keys. The solution is a registered key system using restricted security keys. Registered key systems can be designed for all types of locks, from mortice locks through to cylinder operated locks, padlocks and cabinet locks.
If your property has an alarm, be sure to change the code as soon as a tenancy comes to an end.
Make reviewing security a regular part of your new tenancy procedure. You will of course be repairing any breakages ready for your new tenants, so be sure to include locks, doors and windows on your schedule of condition maintenance list.
Check your locks are functioning as they should be, and don’t scrimp on quality. The better the locks, the less likelihood of a break-in. Think of it as a long term investment: the higher the quality of lock, the less often you’ll need to replace it. Have a read of our guide to lock security which explores some of the most common threats to lock security, and how to overcome them.
If you have an alarm, ensure it is serviced regularly. If you don’t have one, seriously consider investing. Security lighting that operates from dusk till dawn will also act as a deterrent for would-be intruders, so consider this too.
For student tenants, this will inevitably be their first time away from home. Their security knowledge will be limited, so it is down to you as their landlord to educate them.
Take them through what is expected of them as soon as they move in, explaining the importance of closing and locking doors and windows; drawing curtains or pulling blinds and keeping valuables secured and out of sight. Run through how the alarm works and the importance of setting it, and not sharing the code with anyone outside of the property.
You already know the importance of interim inspections. Use these visits to keep a check on how the tenants are dealing with security. You can also take this opportunity to check that the intruder alarm is in full working order, and pick up any useful feedback from the tenants on security concerns.
Take professional advice
The Master Locksmiths Association strongly recommends that landlords do not go down the DIY route when it comes to security. The average cost of fixing botched DIY jobs is £323, so bearing in mind the already high costs you regularly face as a landlord, it makes sense to hire a professional. MLA approved locksmiths are able to provide an independent, comprehensive security assessment and they will know precisely what is required by insurers and by law for certain types of properties, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and flats.
If you are seeking an MLA accredited, qualified insurance industry specialist, look no further than Barry Bros Security. We have been assisting landlords across London with security solutions for several decades. Our service is fully tailored and we also offer a 24/7 emergency call-out service for all urgent situations.
For the advice you need to keep your student accommodation safe, we invite you to get in touch, or visit us in person at our friendly London security showroom.