Landlord obligations regarding property security are somewhat ambiguous, although it is clear that they do in fact have a duty to ensure the property has (at the very least) basic safety measures. Student properties are notorious targets of break-ins and burglaries, so if you’re a student landlord, it’s a good idea to take some extra security initiatives to ensure your HMO property investment is safe from thieves.
The basic safety measures that students or other HMO tenants have come to expect is dead-bolts on solid exterior doors. Statistics show that most criminals operate without forced entry, as this only attracts attention. If the door is hard to get into, the chances are, they’ll leave it alone. To the same effect, a door which is solid as opposed to containing a pane of frosted or stained glass is much safer. This is partly because the burglars cannot see through into the house, but mostly because they’re more difficult to break into. Additionally, an outside light above the front and back doors can detract potential thieves and make your tenants feel safer at night.
Windows are also a common entry point for burglars. Double glazed glass is safer, both in terms of home security, and indeed insulation, and many tenants will not rent a property without double glazing. Locks on the windows can prevent entry, and if the house has a cat or dog flap, be sure that too has a lock.
Whilst protection of the exterior of the house should be a priority to prevent break-ins, locks inside the house can be beneficial. It is usually common practice to install locks on each individual room, mostly for privacy reasons. However, these locks can also keep your tenants’ belongings safe. If a burglar manages to gain entry, they will usually want to take what they can and go, rather than attempting to break into individual rooms. Having locks on bedroom doors means tenants can store their valuables in their rooms and lock them away when they’re out of the house.
Ultimately, though, for a property to be truly safe, the landlord and tenants must work together. Advising your tenants to lock all doors and windows when they’re out of the house is recommended, as well as explaining the insurance included in the rent. If no contents insurance is included, do ensure that they know this, and perhaps recommend a good company such as Endsleigh. If they can’t afford contents insurance, marking their valuables with a UV pen can help get their belongings back if the worst should indeed happen. Thinking together about what you would do if you were locked out of the house to get back in is a good idea, as it gives you all an idea of how a burglar may try to gain entry – you can then work together to make sure these entry points are covered.
For student pointers on how to prevent crime during the Christmas break, click here, or alternatively, visit our Maintenance site to learn more about the security services we can offer. Give us a call on 0800 500 3015 to discuss our current student property investment opportunities, or contact us via our website.