October marks National Home Security Month (NHSM) in the UK. Supported by security specialist Yale, the campaign was launched in 2013 to raise awareness of the ways in which people can improve the security of their home.

With statistics proving that there can be up to a 25% increase in burglaries during the winter months, it’s the perfect time to take additional precautionary measures.

Over the coming weeks, NHSM will be sharing a wide range of useful tips and advice. This includes information on the latest home security technology, how to secure your doors and windows, ways to protect valuables in the home and what to consider when securing outbuildings such as garages, sheds and even motorhomes.

This week they are recommending the Yale CrimeWatcher app (free to download), which will show you how many burglaries have been reported in a one mile radius of your postcode in the last month. It will also give you some guidance on how you can secure entry points to your home.

For landlords and tenants however, there’s often confusion over who is responsible for what when it comes to home security. We recommend that as it’s better to be safe than sorry, both parties should take preventative steps, including taking out the correct insurance policies, to secure their belongings, home and investment.

Landlords

In the legal sense, there is no mandatory requirement for landlords to ensure a minimum level of security is imposed on the rented property. However, they do have a duty of care towards their tenants and are also responsible for keeping the property in a state of good repair.

This includes making sure that the locks on external windows and doors and any outbuildings (unless brought with and owned by the tenant, such as a portable shed) are secure and functional. It’s also recommended that locks are changed at the beginning of each tenancy to minimise the threat of previous tenants gaining access.

If landlords wish to go one step further, they could install a motion sensor light outside the exterior doors or a burglar alarm. If the latter is too expensive, a dummy box that can be seen through the windows is very useful.

In the unfortunate event of a burglary, the landlord’s insurance will usually cover any damage made to the exterior of the property. If they have contents insurance, this will not cover the tenant’s belongings if stolen.

Tenants

As the occupiers of the property, tenants should take care where they can to ensure that it isn’t a vulnerable target for thieves.

Making sure no valuables are left in sight or spare keys stored under garden pots, and that all doors and windows are properly locked when the house is left unattended. Leaving a bedroom window wide open would not only entice a burglar, but could make any insurance policies invalid.

If you’re going way for a holiday, it’s not wise to publicise this on social media. You should also let your agent or landlord know so that they can keep an eye on the property.

Finally, it’s vital that tenants get some form of contents insurance for their personal possessions and read through the policy thoroughly. Even if the property is furnished, the landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal items if they are stolen.

The specific details of where responsibility lies when it comes to burglaries will depend on a number of factors including the tenancy agreement, whether the property is furnished and whether it is let as a single unit or has several tenants (such as a House in Multiple Occupation or HMO).

More Blogs

Whether you’re keen to find out more about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), or want information on the latest lettings legislation, you’ll find it here on the blog.