‘It’s better to be safe than sorry’; a widely used proverb, but one that could not be truer when it comes to protecting yourself and your home. There is nothing more important than the safety of you, your partner or your family and belongings. To make sure that you are doing all you can to protect these things, ensure that you are aware of everything that is available to you and all of the things that you could be doing, to keep them safe.
Whether you are an experienced renter or a fresh-faced first timer, there are hopefully some new and useful tips and pieces of information that you can take away from this piece (and if not, then well done!).
Firstly, you do not own the property, your landlord does, so there are some things that you are not responsible for. Ensure that you are clear on the particulars that are not down to you to fix, repair or replace. In the same vein, ensure that you are just as clear on everything that is your responsibility.
Let's start at the beginning; when you’re actually looking for your new property, are there certain things that you should take into consideration? When viewing a property, take note of the locks that are in place on both windows and doors, are they reliable, are there any broken or ‘dodgy’ locks. These are the things that can be rectified before you move in and will make a difference to the safety of your home. Will you require off street parking, perhaps? Again these are things to think about in your first stages of viewing.
Additionally, think about outbuildings, do these have equally secure locks on them for any cars, bikes or valued tools or lawn mowers etc. If your property has a garage that is a huge advantage to keeping your motor safe, however, if it doesn’t lock securely, you’ve taken a step back again.
Check Out Your Area
This can also be helpful in the early stages, checking what the area you are looking at is like can help you get to know the safety stats of the area. There are sites that can help you do this; so have a little look and get your information straight.
What is Landlord insurance? And what does this cover? Landlord insurance will include both buildings and contents insurance as well as possibly protecting them against loss of rent and more. Buildings insurance covers all of the components that make up the actual structure of your property, such as the windows and doors, walls and the roof, against accidental damage from things such as floods or fires.
Contents cover can be optional for landlords, this may depend on whether you are renting a furnished or unfurnished property. Your landlord will understandably have taken steps to cover their contents of the house or flat. This will, however, more than likely only cover their contents and you as the tenant will need to take out contents insurance for your own belongings.
By taking out contents cover of your own, ‘tenant contents cover’, you ensure that all of your belongings are covered, it also gives you peace of mind that you know who you’re insured by. Your contents cover is likely to include furniture and electrical items, but go ahead and quiz your landlord about what is covered by their insurance so that you know what yours does and does not need to include.
Within your property, what precautions have been taken to further ensure safety in the home?
Every rented home should have ‘at least one smoke alarm on each floor’ (Gov.uk), this will be your Landlord's responsibility; for more information on fire safety regulations visit www.gov.uk/firekills. However there things that you can do too! It is advised that all smoke alarms are checked monthly which is not necessarily down to your Landlord, making those in the property 4 times safer with working smoke alarms.
By keeping additional small things in order in and around your home can also increase your home security, such as fencing or walls surrounding your property, are there loose panels that can be fixed to increase your safety. Do not be afraid to speak to your landlord about either getting things like this fixed or being able to fix them yourself.
Outside lighting can act as a great deterrent for potential crime and theft and may be either in place already or you could speak to your landlord about having some put up, as long as you do remember to check first!
Immobilise is a site where you are able to sign your property up and list belongings on your account; as Immobilise works with the Police, this can be a sure way to get belongings back should the worst happen. They also have some great safety gadgets, definitely worth a look when considering home safety.
For other tips and ideas on keeping your property safe do have a look at the Police page on crime prevention.