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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Top Ten Landlord Security Tips

As a landlord you’ll know just how much of a headache burglars can cause you and your tenants.

Don’t give them the opportunity, take the following steps to make your property more secure:

Every Little Helps Burglars tend to be opportunists and by making their ‘job’ more difficult; they are likely to move onto an easier target. Government statistics show that properties with basic security are five times less likely to be burgled than those without any security. When it comes to security: small steps can make a big difference.

Knowledge is Power It’s worth bearing in mind that your tenants may be new to the area (or renting) and that any local knowledge will be well received. Put together a ‘security pack’ with practical tips and straightforward instructions, as well as useful contact numbers in case of emergency.

Arm your Alarm Burglars like an easy life and alarms are proven to be an effective deterrent. Not only will a burglar alarm give your tenants added peace of mind, but it could earn a discount on your insurance. However, if you install an alarm it’s essential that it’s always armed when the property is empty or you could risk invalidating your insurance.

Know your Tenants Irrespective of whether you are using a letting agent; it’s sensible to approach previous landlords and ask for references. It’s also a good idea to run an online ‘tenant check’ to see what you can find out about a prospective tenant’s legal and financial history.

Doors and Windows You probably won’t be surprised to read that burglars most commonly use a door to gain access to a property; either by kicking it down or forcing the lock. You can slow burglars down by making sure that all external doors are well-fitted and with sturdy jambs, and you can usually stop them with a five-lever mortice lock and a deadbolt. Fitting approved window locks may also earn a discount on your insurance premiums.

The Great Outdoors A garden fence is the first line of defence; so make sure that it’s secure and don’t put temptation in thieves way by leaving outbuildings unlocked.

Illuminate the Situation Criminal types are like vampires in that they are afraid of light and like nothing more than lurking about in the shadows. Fitting motion-activated lighting leaves them nowhere to hide and will help your tenants find their way on dark nights.

Key to Security Tenants living in shared properties are often tempted to leave spare keys somewhere ‘safe’ like under the doormat or in a nearby plant pot. However, you can bet the burglars are one step ahead and they know all the hiding places. It’s also a good idea to warn your tenants of the very real danger of leaving keys near the letterbox where they can be ‘fished’ by creative criminals.

A Watchful Eye Ask your tenants to let you know when they are going away so that you can keep an eye on the property. Keeping the property well maintained (by cutting the grass and keeping mail from piling-up) can help to fool burglars and using timers to switch on/off lighting can make it look like someone’s home.

Get Completely Covered The first rule of business is to look after your bottom line and as a landlord that means making sure your property is completely covered. Landlord insurance won’t stop the worst from happening, but it will provide a financial safety net to help you get back on your feet. When it comes to landlord insurance one size does not fit all and ‘off the peg’ policies rarely provide the best value or the best cover. Instead ask a trusted broker to tailor a policy to fit your individual needs. Most ‘standard’ landlord policies include buildings cover (with limited contents) and owner’s liability with additional risks including; rent guarantee and legal expenses. If you are in any doubt about what’s right for you get in touch with a landlord insurance broker.

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