Home security guide for renters and landlords

Posted August 12th, 2021 by SimpliSafe

Whether you’re a tenant or property owner, it’s important to know whose duty is whose - especially when it comes to home security. Effective communication between landlord and tenant is paramount to spot any signs of poor security issues in the property, so you can both work as quickly as possible to resolve them. From security solutions to understanding the landlord’s responsibilities, we’ve got you covered with our home security guide for renters and landlords.

Why is home security important in a rental home?

In a rental home, there are two sets of people who care about it’s security - the landlord and the tenants. These people care because they both have a lot to lose if something were to happen, including damage to property and loss of possessions. Any sort of rental home can be at risk of crime, though ground floor flats can come with additional risk. 

But why is home security so important in rental homes? 

Visible home security measures, such as CCTV cameras, house alarms and motion sensors, are crime deterrents and may discourage burglary attempts, therefore enhancing property protection and hence possessions and tenants. Not only does this encourage a better sense of security and peace of mind, for both the landlord and the renters, but it may  also decrease home insurance costs and raise property value. 

Non-visible home security measures, such as locks on doors and windows and protecting your valuables, are preventative measures from burglars getting into the property - further adding to peace of mind and sense of security.

Home security for landlords

Are landlords responsible for home security?

As outlined in the landlord’s safety responsibilities, landlords must keep the property safe and free from health hazards for their tenants. That includes electrical and fire safety, and ensuring that the electrical system is safe, as well as all sockets, fittings, and appliances. 

Landlords must also provide at least one smoke detector on each storey of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance, like a coal fire or wood-burning stove. They need to check that tenants can access escape routes at all times and ensure that any furniture and furnishings supplied are fire-safe. 

A landlord must also ensure that the home is secure and in good repair, with all entry points being able to be locked, including all doors, windows, sheds and garages. This means if there’s any damage, or if windows and doors are subpar, it’s the responsibility of the property owner to maintain them and get them back into good working condition.

However, other than these listed above, landlords have no further responsibility towards the security of the property. 

Are landlords responsible for installing a burglar alarm?

Even though landlords are legally obliged to keep their properties safe for people to live in (for example: gas and electric checks), they are not legally obliged to install a burglar alarm. 

Instead, tenants can have a conversation with their landlord about what security system will suit the property best, like wireless alarm systems or wired systems. They will have a good case to bring to their landlord, especially if the crime rates have risen in the area (see our Crime in the UK tool) or if there has been an attempted break-in.

If this is the case, both the landlord and tenant can do their research on finding and agreeing upon the best alarm for the property. However, it is worth noting that the cost of a security alarm may fall upon the tenant.  For instance, with a wireless security system, the tenant can quickly set it up themselves, only needing WiFi, and they can use a smartphone app to be alerted of any suspicious activity or break-ins.

Landlord system for safety checks

It all depends on how you’ve set up the tenancy agreement, but it’s a good idea to let renters know that you’ll be doing property checks for security and safety - giving them advance warning so you can arrange a time to suit everybody. It may be once every six months or every three, but you could also ask the tenants to do this for you and report back. 

If any issues are noticed, make sure you both are quick to respond. If you’re a landlord and aren’t sure about installing an alarm, make sure you still listen to your tenants’ concerns and explain your reasoning behind your thoughts. Otherwise, you could suggest they get a DIY wireless home security system so they can set up the system and take it down themselves, without causing any damage to the property. Everybody should be on the same page to decide what’s best for the property and household.

Home security for renters

How can renters keep their home secure? 

Tenants hold the most responsibility for ensuring that the property is safe and secure, along with ensuring their possessions are out of sight and insured.

Aside from a home security system, renters could make sure to check the property regularly for any security vulnerabilities, and put some security measures in place, such as:

  • Hiding away car keys and keeping them out of sight. 

  • If you have a car with keyless entry, invest in anti-theft car key signal blockers too

  • When having windows open, lock them to a certain gap so that they can’t be opened fully

  • Keep valuables stored away from open windows and never on show

  • Could add blinds and nets for added privacy and close curtains at night to keep away prying eyes 

  • If there’s a garage, store larger valuables there and make sure the garage door is secure

  • Light up any trespassers with motion sensor lights and warn them that the property is secured with a window decal and yard sign

  • Make sure sheds, garages, windows and doors are always locked, especially at night. And when having windows or doors open for air circulation and in warmer temperatures, be on high alert. 

  • Fit entry sensors to windows and doors to detect when they open, either sounding an alarm or  just alerting you if anyone in the household has opened any

  • Add additional locks to your doors, like chain locks or bolts, to make them extra secure

A DIY wireless security alarm suitable for renters

When improving the security of the property you’re in, a wireless SimpliSafe home security alarm is ideal. This security alarm can be easily set up without the need for a technician to come in to install it; all you need is a good WiFi connection. Tenants can also maintain this alarm system themselves by connecting it to a smartphone to view footage from the indoor security camera, with alerts that come direct to their phone through the app. It can also sync with smart home integrations, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

You can also connect the smart alarm system with a whole range of alarm sensors to alert you of any break-ins, glass shattering, falling temperatures, water leaks and smoke detection - which property owners will be very thankful for. 

A great perk about this system is that it can be easily transported - so if you’re a tenant that’s moving on, you can simply pick up the system and take it with you, rather than having to leave it installed in the property. The self-adhesive tape on the back of the sensors makes it easy to fix them into place, as well as removing them from the wall. If you move into a larger property, you can also add to the system at any time, as it grows with you.

5 questions renters should ask themselves to keep their home secure

To keep your home safe and secure, ask yourself these quick five questions before going to bed or going out for the day. These questions will help you establish if your home is adequately protected, in case something happens. 

1. Are all your windows locked?

Locking all your windows, not just shutting them, prevents them from being accidentally left open and from burglars from opening windows from the outside. Windows with key locks provide the most protection and security. 

2. Are all your doors locked?

When we say ‘doors’, we’re talking about all doors in and around your property. When locking up, we advise you to be locking your front and back doors, as well the doors on any external buildings, such as sheds and garages. With landlord permission, reinforce your doors with additional locking mechanisms, such as bolts, chain locks and padlocks (where appropriate and necessary). 

3. Are your keys and valuables out of sight?

Burglars are a lot like magpies, and leaving your possessions on show is like leaving shiny objects asking to be taken. We suggest you keep your possessions, including keys, valuables and anything hinting at valuable items in the home (such as packaging and charging leads) out of sight from windows and doors. 

4. Are your cameras working? 

If you have interior and/or exterior CCTV cameras in your home, you should always check that they are working properly before letting your guard down - whilst their presence may be a deterrent, you are not protected if they don’t work. 

5. Are your alarms and sensors set?

Like cameras, the presence of alarms and sensors may be a deterrent, but they won’t protect your property if they aren’t working properly or set. With professional alarm monitoring, you can be alerted with any of your sensors pick up an intrusion - be sure to read more about how professional monitoring works, and how self-monitoring and professional monitoring compare when it comes to home security.

For any questions about what security systems would suit your property, contact our friendly, knowledgeable team today. You can also have a go at building your own system right here.