Keeping your buy-to-let property secure

If you rent out a property, its security is your concern. But don’t worry, here are some easy ways to keep your tenants – and your property – safe and secure.

If you rent out a property, its security is your concern. But don’t worry, here are some easy ways to keep your tenants – and your property – safe and secure.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
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Posted 14 JANUARY 2020

Who is responsible for security – the landlord or tenant?

When it comes to keeping a rented property safe, secure and insured, the landlord is responsible for:

  • Locks – that means you’ll need to get good ones. Insurance providers will typically prefer five-lever mortice deadlocks and multi-point locking mechanisms on all external doors, and key-operated locks on windows
  • Windows – as a landlord, it’s up to you to provide secure windows
  • Fire safety and alarms – landlords are required to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Although household burglary is at a record low, according to the Office for National Statistics there were still 427,435 burglary offences recorded by the police in the year ending September 2018, so it pays to be prudent.

When it comes to contents insurance, neither the landlord nor the tenant is legally bound to have it, but both are responsible for their own possessions if they’re damaged – so contents insurance could be worth considering.

How can I make my property more secure?

There are easy ways to increase security at your property. Here are some of them:

Call a locksmith

Landlords are legally required to provide a secure lock to any external entrance. Typically, crime prevention recommendations by police suggest that external wooden doors need to be solid timber, with a five-lever mortice deadlock two-thirds of the way up. UPVC external doors should also come with a three-point multi-locking system.

Doors are only as strong as their weakest point, so it might be worth installing a metal bar on the hinge side to reinforce the door – known as a Birmingham bar. On the side where locks have been fitted so wood has been removed, consider adding a London bar to help prevent splits at that point if someone attempts to kick the door in.

You could also make your property safer by installing window locks and door chains. It’s a good idea to get a locksmith to review your security. They can spot any weaknesses, allowing you to upgrade.

Get a burglar alarm

Burglar alarms are increasingly sophisticated, with many sending alerts straight to your phone or laptop. But even a basic model might make a burglar think twice about breaking in.

Install Smart cameras

Security cameras are an excellent – and increasingly affordable – way to deter criminals. If you’ve got devices like smart cameras outside or a smart doorbell with a video feed, then it could be polite to tell your neighbours they may be on camera if you think they could take offence.

Add lights

Installing security lights is another way to deter potential burglars. You can go one step further by adding timer switches or home hubs that turn on lights even when your tenants aren’t at home.

Get the garden under control

Add a clause to your tenancy agreement that requires tenants to keep the garden tidy. Overgrown hedges give thieves a great place to hide.

Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Did you know that landlords can join Neighbourhood Watch schemes, even if they don’t live in the property? This can be a great source of local intelligence, and a good way to keep abreast of crime trends.

Tell your tenants how to keep the property safe

Here are the Metropolitan Police’s tips on keeping your home safe – make sure your tenants know them.

  • Always double-lock the doors when you go out
  • Close the curtains and leave lights on in the evenings
  • Use a timer to turn on lights and a radio
  • Lock sheds and garages
  • Keep valuables like gadgets, laptops and jewellery out of sight
  • Never keep handbags or keys near the letterbox or cat flap

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