A First-Time Tenant’s Guide to Home Security
By Rowan Barry
Oct 07, 2020
If you are just about to move into your first rented property, or have recently done so, you may be finding everything a little daunting, especially if it is your first time away from the family home. One thing in particular that can prove confusing for new tenants is security, with responsibility to a certain extent being shared between landlord and tenant. We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate your way around the subject of home security, with expert tips on how you can keep your new rented home safe and sound. If you’re a landlord, you may also find the advice in this guide useful to pass on to your tenants.
Landlords, letting agents and tenants: who is responsible for home security in a rental property?
In privately rented property, it is down to the landlord or their letting agent to make certain that the security of the building is up to scratch. Under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, rented property must be safe from entry by intruders, and it is the responsibility of the landlord or managing agent to ensure this is the case. Under fire safety legislation, landlords must ensure there are clear and suitable emergency exits in the property, which are appropriate to the size and number of occupants. Different rules apply for HMOs.
Tenants have a responsibility to minimise the risk of security breaches within the property, and to follow any guidelines set out in the tenancy agreement.
It is in landlords’ best interests to protect their property, and is a wise strategy when it comes to attracting and retaining tenants and minimising void periods. Tenants are appreciative of considerate landlords, and deserve to feel safe in their homes.
Top home security tips for tenants
The following tips will help you keep your rented home secure:
Keep valuables safe from prying eyes
Think of the windows of your home like a stage. When your curtains or blinds are open, any valuables in sight are on display for everyone outside to see. Burglars are known to tour neighbourhoods with the sole aim of looking through windows to see precisely what is there for the taking, so always keep anything of value out of sight. Here’s how.
Keep main exit routes clear
Blocked exit routes can prove fatal in the event of a fire or other emergency. Be sure to keep the main doors to the property clear of clutter and furniture.
Make use of your locks
Hopefully your landlord has fitted high quality, standards compliant locks to protect the property and ensure insurance compliance. Your job now is to make use of those locks. Never leave the property without locking all the windows and doors, remembering that opportunistic intruders will be on the lookout for easy routes in and that unforced entry can leave you without a leg to stand on when it comes to making an insurance claim. If you are not confident in the security of your locks, you may consider changing them, although you will need your landlord’s permission to do so. Be sure to choose a Master Locksmith Association accredited locksmith to supply and fit the locks so you can be sure they will be standards compliant.
Take care with access control
If the property you are renting is located within a block, you are likely to have an intercom or buzzer system installed. If there is a common building entrance, you’re going to need to be extra careful when granting access. Bear in mind that intruders will often pose as delivery drivers, contractors or similar in order to gain entry into a building. Be doubly vigilant when buzzing people in, making sure you are only giving access to those you know and trust. Be mindful that other people in the building will be relying on your vigilance too.
Be alert with your burglar alarm
Firstly, be sure to reset the code on your security alarm when you move in, bearing in mind previous tenants and even contractors and cleaners will have been aware of it. Secondly, make yourself aware of how the alarm should function so that you know if it’s not working properly, and always set it on vacating the property. Thirdly, check who is responsible for servicing and maintaining the alarm. It will usually be down to the landlord to take care of organising service visits, but do check what your tenancy agreement says in this respect.
Report any home security issues to your landlord
If you identify anything that could jeopardise the security of your home, for example a broken lock, a problem with the burglar alarm or a window that doesn’t close property, always report it to your landlord or letting agent immediately. Do so in writing so you have a record of when it was reported, and be sure to follow up if issues are not resolved in good time.
Home security advice from Barry Bros Security
Whether you are a landlord or a first time tenant, you will find all you need in terms of home security at Barry Bros Security. From video doorbells and electronic locking systems, to CCTV and security alarms, London landlords and tenants are welcome to call into our London showroom, or contact us for personalised advice.