The experts at Belvoir Lettings advise landlords on how to step up security and protect their property from vandalism and burglary.
A landlord’s Buy-to-Let (BTL) property is an investment, requiring full protection from the threat of burglary and vandalism. Although nobody likes to spend money unnecessarily, it can be a false economy to cut back on security essentials.
Dorian Gonsalves, CEO of Belvoir says:
“We often find that landlords and tenants place less importance on security than homeowners. Sometimes there is confusion over whose responsibility it is, but we always advise that both parties need to take precautionary steps to ensure security is of the highest level.
“There can be a tendency for people to become a little complacent, particularly if the media reports statistics that show the number of burglaries is decreasing nationwide. However burglaries are still a very real threat and I would advise both landlords and tenants to take steps to increase security.
“At Belvoir we take the safety and wellbeing of our tenants and maintenance of our landlords’ properties very seriously and so are always on the other end of the phone to advise if anyone has any worries regarding security.”
Although the risk of a burglary cannot be completely eliminated there are certain steps that landlords and tenants can take to reduce it considerably.
Here is a selection of Belvoir’s top tips for landlords and tenants:
- Take a few minutes to look around the property and identify any areas that may be vulnerable to burglary or vandalism. If you lost your keys, how long would it take you to gain entry to the property? If the answer is two minutes, using a faulty window lock, then this is clearly a problem that needs to be resolved. Inspect your property regularly and carry out repairs as soon as possible.
- Ensure your home security is of the highest level – Households with ‘less than basic’ security are more likely to become victims of burglary than households with ‘enhanced’ home security. Burglars like to operate without forced entry so the first measure you should take is to install dead-bolts on all external doors. . Fit double-glazed windows using laminated glass and opt for solid exterior doors rather than glazed. In addition, consider fitting a security alarm and asking tenants to use it when leaving the property. Attaching a timer switch on your lights is also advisable, as light will give the illusion that there are people in the property. This is especially important if you are experiencing a void period.
- Remove the opportunity – Take measures that tell a burglar your property is too difficult or risky to target. If you are doing maintenance work on a property try to avoid leaving windows open that are easily accessible, leaving ladders out after use or leaving power tools out on display inside the house. Don’t forget to lock cat and dog flaps if a property is empty. If prospective burglars think a building looks relatively easy to enter they may come back for a second look.
- Keep all valuables out of sight – why put temptation into a burglar’s path? Ask tenants not to leave valuables on display and consider installing a safe for tenants to use. If you let a property that is fully or partially furnished make sure that any valuables are kept out of sight when the property is empty. Burglars are opportunists so if they can see valuable items that are clearly unattended they are more likely to strike. Keep all valuables hidden, or even better locked away.
- Don’t advertise that a property is empty – It’s a well-known fact that the most likely time a property will get burgled is when it is empty or tenants are away on holiday. A void property that is fully managed by a letting agent will be visited periodically to ensure that all is well, but in addition you can also ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the property and to contact the police immediately if they notice any suspicious activity.
- Mark any valuables that are in the property – police routinely check recovered stolen items for SmartWater, an invisible fluid that can be used to mark most household items. If your valuables are marked with SmartWater, or UV pen, it increases the likelihood that you will be reunited with your stolen goods.
- Added safety – If a property is empty make sure that tenants no longer have keys to it, replacing the locks if necessary. Disconnect the voice mail facility on the telephone and ensure that gardens, gates and boundary fences remain well maintained. As an extra deterrent you may consider parking a car on the drive.
- Check insurance – Belvoir offers specialist insurance products to help landlords protect property against theft or damage. Neglecting to take out insurance is a false economy and could be a costly mistake in the event of a burglary.
Ten top security tips for landlords:
1. Identify any insecure areas at the property and remedy them.
2. Visit empty properties regularly.
3. Fit double glazed windows and solid exterior doors.
4. Fit a good quality security alarm.
5. Make sure that gardens are well maintained.
6. Remove any newspapers or letters from hallways and letterboxes.
7. Park on a car on the drive of void properties.
8. Fit sensor lights with timers to give the impression the property is occupied.
9. Lock cat and dog flaps on unoccupied properties.
10. Make sure insurance is up to date.
Belvoir Lettings offer a fully managed property option, and can help landlords to identify areas that need extra security. In addition, void properties are periodically visited to check that all is well. For details of your nearest Belvoir office visit belvoirlettings.com