Home Security for Tenants and Rented Properties
Undoubtedly, you can never overemphasize the importance of home security.
Both renters and homeowners must consider it.
Check out the followings facts about home security:
- People report about 400,000 burglaries in the UK each year. Most events occur in the winter.
- The security rented homes are less than homes occupied by owners. Multiple occupancies make HMO and council homes least secure.
- House owners must ensure tenant security. But, tenants must be proactive in dealing with home security.
- Tenants possess a right to privacy. They can ask anyone to leave the property, including the property owners.
- It is advisable for tenants to change locks to their new homes. They should also consider home security cameras, alarms and so on.
Overview of criminal acts in the UK
Lots of criminal acts take place in the UK each year.
Last year, over 5 million crimes and anti-social acts were recorded.
Since not everybody reported these acts, the actual number is more.
The country has just 63,182,000 individuals.
Hence, this shows that 1 in every 10 persons is involved in these acts.
Realistically, the UK ranks 4th in criminal acts per capital globally.
In terms of number, only the US experiences more crimes than the UK.
However, the population of the US is almost five times that of the UK.
Tenants at higher risks of crimes
A study was conducted in Luton and Slough in 2015.
The study focused on the association between crime and rented properties.
The result is eye-opening.
In Luton, private rented properties experienced more local burglaries.
The issue had more impact than other factors studied.
These factors include overcrowding, deprivation and social renting.
Rented homes demand more security measures.
This is because they sometimes involve many renters, homeowners, and agents.
There is a need to know individuals with keys and access to the properties.
If not, such properties are at higher risks of home security challenges.
In Slough, as much as 40% of violent crimes affected residential properties.
Majority of these crimes involved HMO properties.
Notably, HMO properties often include lots of individuals sharing the same property.
Also, the quality of the accommodation is usually low.
All these factors lead to violent crimes and other anti-social acts.
Who can access your property?
On average, an assured shorthold tenancy lasts for 18 months.
There are differences across various cities.
Birmingham has the longest tenancies at an average of 28 months.
London is second with 21 months as average tenancies.
More individuals have access to rented properties than resident-owned homes
In many cases, many people have keys to rented properties.
Apart from the tenants and homeowners, others have keys to the properties.
If you do not change the locks, the letting agent may have keys to the home too.
Also, it is possible that many renters have used that locks in the past.
In such a case, the previous tenants may have the keys too.
Factually, you may not experience any problems.
However, you are safer by changing the locks. Inform your property owners.
Furthermore, monitor those with a copy of the keys to your apartment.
The obligations of landlords concerning tenants’ security
The landlord is responsible for tenants’ security.
The properties must have adequate home security and be free of any hazards.
When a tenant leaves, the landlords should change the entry keys and locks.
Also, the homeowners must make sure all parts of the home are functional.
These include the windows, doors, shed, and garage.
They must have the right locks and be properly locked.
These important tips for landlords can help avoid home security problems.
The tenants also have a role to play.
They must assess the security of the rented home.
They can also give the landlord a list of the security measures they want.
The previous renters might have used the properties for illegal activities.
If so, the landlords must take actions to secure the rental.
The property owners must do this before new tenants come in.
If not, they have violated their responsibilities.
So, tenants should get the details of the previous renters before renting.
If not, you are exposing yourself to undesired situations.
Right to privacy, landlord access, and trespass
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 takes care of this.
Under this law, homeowners can visit their properties for repairs, inspections, etc.
However, they must inform the tenants before doing so.
Notably, a tradesman or letting agent may take the role of the landlord.
Anyway, the homeowner or their representative must send a notice.
They must send the notice at least 24 hours before the visit.
Nevertheless, you may be absent or unwilling to welcome any visitor.
So, you can deny them access in a reasonable way.
As a tenant, it is within your right to do so.
The house owner or their representatives cannot enter the tenant’s property without permission.
Any unpermitted access can be regarded as trespass.
It is a criminal act that may attract prosecution.
Nevertheless, the renter must be reasonable in denying entrance.
In some cases, the access may be for statutory obligations of the landlords.
So, the courts may give the homeowner access to the property.
Damages may occur to the property because of delays in maintenance during denial of access.
In such a case, the tenants will have to pay for the repairs and maintenance.
Also, tenants often deny access due to involvement in an illegal act.
As a result, the landlord may file for eviction.
Therefore, renters should not deny their landlords access to their homes.
However, if it is necessary, do so in a reasonable way.
Changing the locks
It is good for tenants to change the locks when moving into a new apartment.
It ensures people who used to have access to a property cannot do so again.
Before changing locks, tenants should inform the homeowner.
Unless the landlord approves, do not change the locks.
Solutions for tenants’ security
Lower-end housing for renters often has less security.
Many tenants also do not know the essence of having security devices.
To improve tenants’ security, renters should speak to their landlords.
They need to get permission before installing any security devices.
Otherwise, the tenants may lose their security deposit.
In some cases, they may even face prosecution.
Checklist for tenants’ security
Are the locks functioning well?
Ensure that all locks are functional to prevent burglaries.
Consider using locks that are hard to get through.
Also, ensure you lock your home before leaving.
Who possesses a key?
Minimize the number of individuals with the key.
If possible, you should be the only one with a key to your home.
Avoid keeping a spare key in places people can find it
Do not keep your spare key where a burglar can find it.
If possible, keep it with a trusted neighbor.
You can also keep it with the homeowner or a trusted family member that is nearby.
Are the windows and doors strong?
The strength of the doors and windows are important.
If they are not strong, having a good lock will be useless.
Ensure the entry door is strong metal or wood.
Consider utilizing laminated glasses for the window panes.
Who are the previous renters?
If possible, get information about those who stayed in the property before.
Inquire about their reasons for leaving.
This will allow you to know about any home security or safety threats.
You must know the people you will be sharing the property with.
These people can make or mar your living experience.
For lodgers, decide if staying with the homeowner is comfortable or not.
If not, consider checking out another property.
Who can access parts of your home?
Understand access to the garage, garden, lawn and so on.
While looking for rentals, know who will share these parts with you.
Also, ensure these parts are all safe for use and secure.
Keep your shed, garage and other places safe
Your cars and other valuables will be outside.
So, pay attention to outbuildings too.
Ensure that these outbuildings are locked appropriately.
Make sure that they are secure to prevent any crimes.
What is the crime rate of the area?
For tenants’ security, you should have an idea of the crime rate in the area.
This can go a long way in helping you.
Speak with the locals
Before renting a new home, talk to people living in the area.
These people can give you an idea of the tenant’s security.
Do you need safe and secure rented properties in the UK?
Reneza can help you get the right properties.
Contact us today.