Before Moving In
Before deciding on renting a new residence, it is important to consider security. Follow these guidelines before signing a tenancy agreement to help protect yourself and your family.
Research Local Crime
When you think you've found your dream apartment, check local crime data in its vicinity. Make sure you know about any troubling activities in the area before committing to your tenance. Talk to the local police and your future landlord and neighbours to get an honest picture of what life will be like in your new place. Websites such as police.uk can give you a good idea of the local crime history in almost any UK Postcode.
Burglars and intruders prefer to sneak around in poorly-lit or dark areas. Therefore, when considering a property, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, bin stores, lifts and stairways to make sure they have enough lighting at night. The fewer places an offender has to hide, the safer you'll be.
Observe General Upkeep
Take in the general look and feel of your new place. Broken windows, cracked walls, or water stains could show a lack of concern from the landlord. Check to see if the gardens and landscaping are well-kept. If the landlord can't take care of basic maintenance, he or she probably isn't concerned with general security.
Check Building Entrances
When looking at apartments, consider the security of the building. Many times, an outside entry door will require a key, pass code, or entryphone system to access the hallways and doors of the actual apartments. This way, residents control who can approach their apartment door, reducing break-ins. Once you are in, challenge anyone trying to walk in behind you or who are waiting to gain entrance to the building without having buzzed someone first.
Try the Spyhole
A spyhole can keep you and your family safe by allowing you to see who's at your door before you open it. If your door does not have a spyhole, enquire about having one installed before you move in. When a questionable character is at your door, a spyhole will help you and your children avoid any compromising situations. Fitted chains are a good deterrent, but provide a false sense of security, door chains are often installed using small screws that can be overcome with a hard shove. Identifying callers from outside before opening the door is always the best defence of security.
Replace your locks
Replacing your locks reduces the risk of unwanted persons being able to access your new place. Many landlords and agents say they've replaced the locks, but sometimes will just rotate the old locks between apartments, and extra keys are not always returned. When you move into a new property, you never know how many keys have gone missing or how many previous tenants may still have keys. Ask your landlord about having your locks replaced with brand new locks, not redistributed old ones. Don't risk somebody being able to return to your apartment with an old key.
Examine Window Locks
Good window locks keep intruders from gaining easy access to your residence. This is especially true for windows on the ground level, but all windows should be properly checked—you'd be surprised how determined burglars can be. Treat all windows as potential entry points, and make sure all window locks are working properly and cannot be manipulated from the outside.
Once you've found your dream property, keep your family and valuables safe with ongoing security measures.
Buy Additional Locks
For added safety, consider installing a deadbolt if your door doesn't already have them. A deadbolt is more secure and difficult to pick than a standard 'yale or Banham' rim type lock, because the deadbolt only opens by rotating the lock cylinder (these should be fitted to BS3621 approval), whereas a rim lock can slipped relatively easily. Additionally, a chain lock provides an extra layer of security when opening your door, allowing you to open your door a crack to talk to a stranger or ask for identification, before opening up completely - If you are renting with housemates, try and arrange for a lock to be installed on your own bedroom door, to ensure that anyone who is invited back to the house isnt able to access your bedroom.
Secure Sliding Doors
Balcony doors are great for sunshine and views, but they can pose a hazard if they are not properly secured. An unsecured sliding door can provide an intruder with a relatively untraceable and quiet entrance to your place. While it's important to always lock your balcony door when it's not in use, many sliding doors have inadequate locks and come off their tracks with just a nudge. For optimal security, make sure to arm your sliding door with an inside bar lock or a pole on the track. You can also install a secondary locking mechanism with a metal pin inserted through the doorframe and into the sliding door as well as sliding anti-lift bolts.
Invest in Good Blinds
Nobody wants to look at old net curtains! Good blinds may prevent burglars, from looking inside your home and being tempted by all the valuables they see. Install blinds that completely block the view from outside, and make sure to close them when you go out. That way, you'll keep wandering eyes from scanning your valuables and reduce your risk of break-ins.
Use a Safe
A safe can be a last line of defense to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable possessions. Items such as jewellery, cash, passports, and sensitive documents can be locked away in a fireproof case. Safes come in all sizes and range in price from under £100 to thousands of pounts. Find a safe that fits your budget and needs, and talk to your landlord about bolting it to a floor or wall, so a burglar can't pick it up and take it. Most safe ratings work on a cash and jewellery value e.g a £1,000 cash rated safe will be rated 10x for jewellery (£10,000 for jewellery) and a £5,000 cash rated safe will have a £50,000 jewellery rating. While a safe can't guarantee the absolute protection of your property, it can be effective at hiding items from thieves who are just looking to grab valuables in plain sight and escape quickly.
Get Contents Insurance
Conents insurance will protect the value of your possessions in case they are stolen or destroyed by a disaster. Your landlord may have an insurance policy, but those generally only cover the building you live in, not your personal belongings. Many insurance companies offer policies for contents and accident cover which cover all your property at the full replacement cost. Contents insurance can also protect you in case of a liability lawsuit where you are deemed responsible for the damage of another tenant's property. You may think you don't own very much, but consider the cost of replacing everything you own in the event of a theft, fire, or severe weather. If you wouldn't be able to recover from the loss, then contents insurance is a good option.
Install a Security System
Renters are 85% more likely to experience a home burglary than those who own their homes. In the past, security systems were not renter-friendly due to an intrusive installation process. With wireless technology systems can be installed and also removed and taken to your new property when the tenancy is up. Henson Security provide a removal and refitting fee for existing intruder alarms from just £99+VAT. Contact us today on 0203 488 1699 or visit hensonsecurity.com