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Landlords - how can you boost the security of your rental properties?

Wed 25 Jul 2018

The safety of your tenants is paramount when it comes to letting property. You have a legal (and moral) obligation to provide those living in your rental property with a safe, habitable and secure home.

How, though, can you go about boosting the security of your rental homes? Using our experience as West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency, we take a closer look.

Window security

Windows are typically the part of a home most vulnerable to opportunist burglars. Although most windows include a mechanism which prevents them from being opened from the outside, it’s still possible for intruders to break in – even more so if the window doesn’t have a lock.

You can prevent this by installing locks on all windows and reminding tenants to close (and lock) windows when they leave the house. What’s more, you could opt to install window sensors, which sound an alarm if your windows are ever meddled with. You can even get alerts sent to your smartphone, making you aware immediately if your property’s security has been breached.

Light up your home

One easy and cost-effective way of making your tenants feel safe and nipping criminal activity in the bud is to add external lighting if your rental property doesn’t already have this in place. Would-be criminals are typically put off by well-lit areas, so consider fitting lights near the main entrances of your property, as well as lighting in the back garden and front garden/driveway.

Solar or LED lights are also an excellent way of lighting up outside areas effectively. They’re cheap to purchase, pleasing on the eye and - best of all - you won’t need to worry about using too much electricity or changing any batteries.

Stick to the law

You should double check the local laws and the contract/tenancy agreement you have with pre-existing tenants before making any adjustments to the security of your property. If you are working to increase the security of your property, keep tenants in the loop to make sure they are up to speed with any changes. A safer, more secure home may even allow you to charge higher rents.

Be wary, though, of staying within the law when it comes to beefing up the security of your home. It is, for example, illegal for a landlord or tenant to remove or change any locks without consent from the other party.

In addition, you may need to include an addendum to your lease to cover any new security measures you make. And, of course, you will need to put any agreements in writing, making sure that both you and your tenants sign it.

Consider a security system

One of the best ways of ensuring the safety of your tenants and your home is to install a security system. Admittedly this won’t be cheap, but it’s a long-term investment which will pay back with interest over time.

It might also help a tenant to pick your home over another, less obviously secure one. Security systems come in all shapes and sizes, but they will sound an alarm when there is unauthorised access or use motion sensors to detect movement.

Given the variety of security systems on offer, it’s vital that you choose the right one to suit your property’s needs. Shop around a bit and seek expert advice if need be. You’ll want to ensure your system includes the most vital features, including door and window sensors, motion-detecting lights and smoke alarms. Security systems are easily accessible and have the advantage of being fairly simple to install.

Don’t leave anything to chance

To increase the security of your home you’ll need to make sure that all doors and windows are properly secured. It’s also a wise move to ensure any outside buildings, such as sheds and garages, are secured when not in use to deter any unwanted visitors. And make sure any gates, outside doors and fences are robust enough to keep intruders out.   

The majority of entrance doors have deadbolts installed on them, but having double-cylinder deadbolts can help to improve the security of your property even further. It also helps if all entry and exit doors of your property are made of solid, heavy-duty material (such as steel or wood), while it’s best to avoid hollow wood doors or doors with any type of glass, as they are more susceptible to damage and can be broken through more easily.

To give you and your tenants further peace of mind, it’s a good move to encourage them to use door jammers as an extra safeguard.

For more information about letting your property in West Lothian, and keeping it safe and secure over time, please get in touch with Letting Solutions on 01506 496 006. We have the skills and knowledge to help maximise your rental yields and keep your tenants safe, secure and happy.

We also offer a free and instant online valuation to give you an idea of how much you could be charging in rent each month.