Christmas, actually isn’t the worst time of year for burglaries; we guess thieves take a few days off over the Christmas period too. However, break-ins still happen. Darker nights, stacks of gifts and unoccupied homes while tenants are away are all common place over the festive period and it’s unlikely that all burglars have their feet up with a hot chocolate.
Landlords and tenants: you have a common goal this Christmas! All of you want to protect your property from thieves and burglars. With this in mind, we’ve put together some handy tips to take into consideration this Christmas, especially on those days when the home is left unoccupied.
Lights on lights off
Tenants - We’re confident you’d have done this anyway, but just ensure everything is switched off before you go away. Christmas lights and overloaded extension cables can be fire hazards and if there’s no one around to catch it, they could cause a Christmas disaster. A light on in a hallway or on a landing may not be noticeable from outside during the day, but will emit a soft glow to mimic someone being at home.
Landlords - Consider fitting bulbs on timers. LIFX Wi-Fi LED light bulbs can be switched on or off remotely using a smartphone or BeON light bulbs mimic your usual lighting routine when you’re not there - as well as having an option to switch on when someone rings the doorbell.
There are a bunch of different technologies available to make property management easier and using the Internet of Things to control household appliances can solve all sorts of problems. Check out our long form on the subject for more information.
Tenants -Don’t share your holiday plans publicly on social media, you never know who could be watching and plotting. It’s a horrible thought but it’s worth being careful. Do tell your landlord though; just a heads up can make all the difference.
Landlords - Check with your tenants to find out if they’re planning on being away. There might not be any reason for them to let you know, but a quick message will keep you in the loop so you know which days your property will be empty and can keep an eye out accordingly.
Everybody needs good neighbours
Tenants - Have you considered joining Neighbourhood Watch? You can put a sticker on your window - a visual deterrent for thieves.
Landlords - This is a good idea for all year round. Give your contact number to the neighbours so if anything suspicious has happened or is happening, they can give you a call and you can act straight away. Depending on how well you know them, a set of keys is also a good idea, so that in an emergency they have access to the premises.
Tenants – Make sure your contents are covered correctly. Your landlord’s insurance will not stretch to your contents as they have no financial interest in what’s yours. If you have unique or expensive items make sure you've told your insurer as they may specify them separately on your policy. Lastly, retain your receipts and take pictures. In the event that you do need to claim for any items, evidence of ownership will help to move your claim along quicker.
Landlords - For the contents you do have in the home, make sure that they’re covered on your landlord insurance policy and keep any receipts just in case you do need to claim. It’s also worth getting a local locksmith in to check that the locks are in good working order and comply with the terms of your insurance.
Tenants - Have a quick check before you leave to ensure that there are no tools lying around in your garden which are handy for breaking in to the home. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor storage, make sure that it’s locked and that there’s nothing of value on show.
Landlords - Consider installing outdoor motion sensor lights. They make it obvious to you – or to neighbours - if anyone is having a snoop around your property at night. In addition, you can get indoor motion sensors which alert you to movement in the home when there shouldn't be. Some can plug into any plug socket and connect to the home WiFi - and all for as little as £30.
Have a wonderful Christmas.