As the new academic year starts, you may find that you’re letting your property out to a handful of students for accommodation, especially if it’s based in a major city. And while you may think it’s easy renting to students, the truth is that they are very likely to be targeted by burglars, thanks to the laptops, tablets, phones, and money that will no doubt be in the property. According to research by Direct Line, 25% of students are victims of theft during their time at university.
Here, we look at the best ways you as a landlord can protect your property from being burgled, and what your tenants will be responsible for.
Review the security system in place on your property
Even if you only do one thing to protect your property against burglaries, it should be having a good security system in place, as this is the first line of defence against burglars. Make sure your burglar alarm is up to scratch, and that is has been properly installed by a professional. It might seem more worthwhile to go DIY with your security, by installing your own CCTV cameras or wireless alarm systems, but the truth is that this could lead to your alarm being less effective. As security experts Banham explain: “Each element has to be installed with the utmost care and attention or the entire system could be ineffective.”
Former burglars have actually admitted to avoiding houses with clear security systems in place, so it’s a good idea to have visible security to throw them off in the first place. Consider having at least one CCTV camera installed, which can at the very least catch a burglar in the act if it doesn’t put them off targeting your house in the first place.
Keep the outside of the property clear
While your property is being rented, you can’t control how clear its outsides are, so you will need to rely on your tenants. Make sure you discuss the dangers of having garden tools or furniture outside, as burglars could use this to climb up and break in through a second story window.
There are things you can do to help your tenants keep things neat and tidy. Empty bottles or cans are stereotypical signs of student accommodation, so you could buy covering for your bins to conceal rubbish. There are a number of creative ways you can disguise the rubbish bins in gardens, and keep them concealed from passers-by, which could work as a good DIY project for you before the students move in.
Know who has access to your property
Renting a property out can make it difficult to keep track of who has access to it, and who holds a set of keys. You might have given a set to workmen, cleaners, or even letting agents, as well as previous tenants. Every set of keys you hand out makes your property less secure. It’s important to know who has a key to your property and to either get them back or change the locks when new tenants move in.
If you don’t want to spend the money on changing the locks, you could simply rekey them. This is cheaper, quicker, and easier than replacing the entire lock, and still requires a new key to unlock the doors, keeping your property safe from anyone who might have an old a key, and keeping it accessible to your tenants.