Top tips to keep your property safe and sound this winter
Winter can be a challenging time of year, particularly for landlords, who are looking to protect their investment and keep their tenants happy. The problematic weather conditions that typically come with the season are more likely to cause damage to our homes than at any other time of year, as revealed in our 10 years of property claims report, which showed a significant rise in the number of claims during the winter months.
Not only is the harsh weather more likely to cause damage, but criminals have a tendency to take advantage of the dark evenings. Faced with such challenges, it is important to make preparations for keeping your property secure during the winter season.
Here, we provide our top tips to protecting your property against the extra demands landlords face in winter.
Secure your property
It is both the landlord and tenant’s responsibility to ensure that the property is secured. Our ‘How to keep your property secure over winter‘ guide offers useful advice for landlords to help keep their properties safe from intrusion.
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Doors and windows
Property damage as a result of break-ins is the third highest type of insurance claim that we receive. According to the police, most break-ins occur when criminals forcibly gain access to a property through doors and windows.
This shows how important it is to ensure that all doors and windows are properly equipped with secure locks and fittings (we recommend using a 5 lever mortice door lock). Cheap locks are cheap for a reason, where possible invest in good quality locks and doors which have a proven track record of being harder to force open.
Doors with large glass panels are of particular concern as they can allow criminals to peer inside, and can easily be smashed and climbed through.
We recommend using reinforced, preferably frosted glass as it is more difficult to break and will also prevent thieves from seeing inside your home.
Also ensure that all entry points into the property are treated equally; it’s pointless to invest in a top of the range security front door and then have the bathroom window locked by a cheap latch which can be broken with the slightest push.
We recommend suggesting to your tenants that they keep their valuables out of sight. Having valuables on show can be enough to entice opportunistic criminals who may be passing the property.
Advise your tenants to consider where they place their valuables, paying particular attention to what can be seen by outsiders. It is important during the festive season to avoid leaving presents in view of any opportunistic burglars.
It may also be beneficial to advise your tenants to register their valuables on the Immobilise National Property Register.
Immobilise returns thousands of stolen items every day, helps to simplify insurance claims and also assists the police in searching for and recovering stolen items. For tenants who keep bicycles at the property, you could also advise them to register their bikes on The National Cycle Database.