Renters are 85% more likely to be the victims of burglary that homeowners. (Source)
Well, we can’t be entirely sure, but it seems that hesitation, reluctance, and unwillingness to secure a rental property are reasonable assumptions.
Some renters might feel like they can’t tread on too many toes because the house they’re living isn’t exactly their own home. They might fail to realise the relatively low-maintenance things they can do that will amplify security in their new (albeit temporary) home.
In fact, there are a number of things a tenant can do to improve the security and safety of their home… even if they decide to move on after a few months.
While you as a tenant mightn’t be too keen to shell our hundreds or thousands of dollars on security systems, sensors, and CCTV cameras, in a rental property, you can– almost instantly – increase the security of your home using the following quick and more cost-effective methods.
First thing’s first: change the locks
Six in ten burglars enter a home through unlocked doors and windows. With that almost preposterous stat, we start at the most important part of a home’s security system: the locks!
The most obvious move, especially in a property that may see dozens of occupants in its lifetime, is to change the locks before the commencement of each new tenancy.
Regardless of who will pay for it, you must, of course, seek permission from the homeowner through your estate agent. As we mentioned in this blog post, a tenant can make a request for new locks, and landlord cannot unreasonably deny this request.
Do it yourself (at your own cost)
Depending on the terms of your lease, changing the locks might be the new tenant’s responsibility. If so, arrange for a locksmith to promptly change the locks on your new house before you move in. Of course, you’ll need to provide a copy of the keys to the landlord [link to New Page – Tenants] (and probably your real estate agent, too).
Ask your agent if the owner will do it
As mentioned above, a new tenant can reasonably ask that the locks be changed prior to taking residence in a new rental property. It’s normally up to the owner (and agent) if they themselves will cover the costs.
Whether you do it yourself or your landlord organises it, changing the locks is the first obvious step when it comes to securing a new property. Think about how many spare keys from years gone by might be floating around out there. It can be a rather frightening thought.
Choose the right locks
Locks come in a wide range of sizes and strengths… so what lock should you choose? Your locksmith will be able to provide a ton of advice, but here’s a quick summary of some popular front-door locks.
Deadbolts are named so because unlike other locks, they do not have a spring; they can only be unlocked manually with a key. You should avoid locking a deadbolt and removing the key in your home. In an emergency, you mightn’t be able to find the key and therefore unlock the door and exit safely.
Knob locks should not be used independently on any external doors but are popular on front doors in conjunction with other locks, like a deadbolt. They are also popular on internal doors, like bathroom door locks.
Lock and chain
A lock and chain is easy to install and as a result can be easily compromised, so it should not act as primary locks on an external door. It can however provide an additional layer of peace-of-mind security as it limits how far a door can be opened.
Next, clear up the garden
Homes that may have been unoccupied for an extended period of time might mean you’re moving into a property dwarfed by overgrown shrubs or hedges.
Others may have superb gardens filled with lush greenery, which you can maintain, but you should ensure it is thin, leaving doors and windows visible from the street.
By clearing up the garden, especially around windows, burglars lose that anticipated coverage and become more exposed as they sniff around a property.
Remove a thief’s reliance on concealment with neat and tidy garden maintenance!
Now, take the time to set and program lights
One of the easiest and non-invasive ways to make your rental home look occupied, whether you’re out for the night or out of town for the month, is to set up lighting systems that switch on and off periodically throughout the day and especially night.
Leaving a single light on all day and night is a dead giveaway that a home may be unoccupied (let alone a waste of electricity), but by programming several lighting fixtures throughout your home, you’re telling would-be thieves that movement indicates occupancy (even when you aren’t there!)
Indoor lights that operated on a timer are a cost-effective and temporary alternative to outdoor sensor lighting installation.
Galmier Locksmiths are based in Melbourne’s Bayside region and can help you devise clever and more secure lock and key systems in your home. With expert knowledge and more than a decade of experience, we’ll advise you on the right types of locks for your rental property, ensuring safety, convenience, and security for your home, your family, and yourself.