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The Simple Landlords guide to security this Winter

Long dark nights give burglars extra cover, and burglaries can go up by as much as 20% in the winter months.

To avoid the upset and hassle, it’s well worth doing a winter security check - and making sure your property isn’t an easy target.

Here are 7 top tips to help you keep your property safe this winter.

1. Invest in outside lights

  • Install flood lights over doorways and make sure they’re on a sensor or timer so tenants aren’t wasting electricity.
  • If these are already installed, make sure to check the bulbs and sensors are working correctly.

2. Set the alarm

  • Consider installing an alarm system in your properties - it could end up lowering your insurance premiums.
  • If you already have an alarm make sure you test it! Check batteries or the mains supply, and make sure any sensors aren’t obscured.
  • While alarms are certainly a deterrent, remember they only really work when they’re on! Check your tenants know how to use the alarm, and agree to put it on at night and when they’re out of the premises.

3. Check the locks

  • Make sure your locks are up to scratch (and if there are specifications in your insurance policy). More than half of burglaries happen via the front door.
  • Check window and door locks for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  • Provide a key box or other storage so tenants can keep keys safely - close enough for an emergency exit, but not in the door or reachable through the letterbox.
  • Consider key and lock protection to cover you in the event of lost keys or damaged.

4. Don't forget the garden

  • Keep front and back gardens well maintained. Overgrown bushes and trees can hide burglars from plain sight, and give them time to enter your property.
  • Check your boundaries - and don’t leave your house wide open. Something as simple as a fence or wall can deter a burglar.
  • Make sure any outbuildings or sheds are secure - and padlock any tools or ladders that could be used to help burglars get into the main house.

5. Talk to your tenants

  • Send your tenants an email reminding them about security. Ask them to close curtains at night, store expensive items (like laptops) out of sight, set the alarm, and let you know if they’re away for an extended period of time - like the Christmas holidays.
  • Provide your tenants with light timers to set while they’re away or back late, and make sure they know how to use them.

6. Make friends with your neighbours!

  • If you’ve got friendly neighbours, ask them to keep an eye on things for you, too! It’s in their interest to get to know you too, so they can report any issues that affect them.

7. Check your insurance

  • Make sure you know what your policy covers you for.
  • If your property is unoccupied for any length of time, give your insurance company a ring to check it doesn’t have an impact on your cover.
  • Remind your tenants that your insurance doesn’t cover their belongings.

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