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A complete guide to flat security

While you may be less likely to be a victim of burglary if you live in a building of flats, it doesn’t mean the risk is completely zero, and it’s certainly no reason to be complacent when it comes to flat security.

Burglars will often go for homes that look like easy targets; which ones are going to require the least amount of effort and generate the least amount of risk? SimpliSafe has put together a complete guide on how to up your flat security and protect your home and belongings, with some simple and actionable steps.

1. Start from the outside

The first step to securing your flat starts at the boundaries. While bushes and hedges look aesthetically pleasing, they shouldn’t be too high as this can provide the perfect spot for hiding. Reduced visibility provides cover and can leave your home vulnerable. All this means is that bushes and hedges should be properly maintained throughout the year, which you can speak to your landlord about.

On the other hand, thorny bushes underneath ground floor flat windows can be incredibly off-putting.

Security lights that are motion activated should also be installed, and the bulbs changed regularly. Lighting up the outside of your property is an easy way to put off burglars; they won’t want to risk being spotted and identified. If you are concerned about any issues like these outside your flat building, speak to your landlord and make sure you know it’s an urgent issue.

2. Keep on top of communal issues

Some entrances to flat buildings can be accessed by anyone, whereas others require a key that only residents have. Whichever category you fall into, it’s best to secure your flat as much as possible, as you never know when somebody has access when they shouldn’t.

When it comes to communal areas, such as corridors, stairs and fire doors, it’s important that any damage or potential issues are dealt with as soon as possible. If a damaged external door means access is easier, then that is an issue for the whole building and should be escalated to your landlord for repairs as soon as possible. You should also escalate any issues you come across to your building’s management company, too.

3. Change locks if you can

When you move into your flat, chances are someone has lived there before unless you’re buying brand new. While you may never keep keys from your old rented homes, that doesn’t mean other people will. Changing your locks reduces the risk of people coming back and gaining access to your home. Don’t wait for your landlord to do it for you, but do ask their permission beforehand. Explain your reasons - neither you or them know if additional copies are out there - and make sure you hand over new copies. Also make sure you get a qualified professional to change the locks; if you try to do it yourself your insurance could become void.

4. Get insurance

Depending on whether you rent or own your flat, there are different types of insurance available. If you own the flat, you will need buildings and contents insurance, but if you are renting you will need contents insurance to protect your belongings inside. Your landlord will have specific insurance that covers the building itself if it is damaged because of a break in, but that won’t cover your own stuff.

5. Get a smart home security system

You may think that living above the ground floor or in a flat rather than a house means you can’t get proper security features. But you’d be wrong! A wireless home security system can protect regardless of your home’s shape or size. Because the SimpliSafe keypad and all the additional sensors can be easily stuck onto walls and removed, you can just pick up your system and go. All you have to do is plug it into the wall and connect to your WiFi.

You can protect your home by adding numerous sensors, such as glass break sensors, and even adding a smart security camera that will allow you to see who is outside your door just by looking at an app. Even when you’re away from home.

6. Make sure your internal locks are strong enough

You don’t just want the one lock that can be opened with a key. Ideally you want a swing bolt or one with a chain, or a deadbolt that can’t be jimmied open with a card. Speak to your landlord if you’re unhappy with the lock set-up in your flat.

And while you’re at it, make sure your windows all lock fully if you’re on the ground floor. Try to keep them locked when you’re out of the house or asleep. Most burglars are opportunistic and will try a window just on the off-chance that one has been left unlocked.

7. Letterbox guard

A quick, easy and inexpensive way to help protect your home. Letterbox guards or cages fit to the inside of your door around your letter slot, and help to prevent someone from using it to gain access to your home. ‘Key fishing’ is a method often used by burglars through a letterbox. Most people will hang their keys up by their front door, and burglars know this so they use a makeshift device to ‘fish’ them out through the letterbox.

8. Outbuilding security

Some flat buildings will have an outbuilding or communal shed of some kind, usually used for additional storage, for bikes or bins. While handy, it provides an extra dark and covered space where burglars could hide in the shadows. If you are concerned about this area, especially if you store tools or a bike, then speak to your landlord about improvements that could be made.

Flat security doesn’t have to be much harder than securing a detached house. While you may be nervous about approaching a landlord to make changes, just remember that they don’t want break-ins to happen either. Implementing the changes we have suggested above will give you peace of mind and can make a huge difference.