Tenant Tips: Protecting Properties at Christmas

Image of house with Christmas decorationsProtecting Properties – Here at PropertyQuoteDirect we regularly provide advice for landlords on how they can help their tenants stay safe. Christmas can often be a stressful time for landlords as not only are tenants more likely to be burgled but if anything happens to their properties they will want you to fix it as soon as possible so they can carry on enjoying the festivities. However, with a bit of research and some clever tips both you and your tenants should be able to relax over the Christmas period, and here PropertyQuoteDirect shows you how:

Getting into Burglars’ Minds

After being burgled it’s unlikely that the first thing you will think about is what was going through the burglar’s head while in your property; however research recently carried out by the University of Portsmouth has shown that this may be extremely beneficial. The researchers found that experienced burglars usually go into ‘autopilot’ mode while breaking into a home, meaning that they only go into certain rooms and are therefore quite predictable.

In order to prove their theory they asked six experienced burglars and six members of the public to break into a mock property. All the experienced burglars entered the bedrooms and living rooms of the house, however none of them looked in the bathrooms or rooms that were considered ‘unusual’ such as recording rooms. Discussing the research, Dr Claire Nee said: “We didn’t know how they think or the way they approach the job of stealing. We have interviewed many offenders before but this time we were able to observe them for the first time.

“The findings have important lessons for crime prevention and suggest that if you’ve got something valuable you really want to protect, you might be better off hiding small things among the toothpaste tubes. As expected, the burglars were much more efficient, systematic and persistent than the novices. Through deliberate practice and repeated exposure to the layout of houses, burglars can automatically recognise which are the high-value areas of the house.”

Protecting Rented Properties

Burglars do not differentiate between privately owned and buy to let properties, however when it comes to protecting buy to let properties you sometimes have to do things a little differently. Naturally, your landlord insurance will cover you should one of your properties be affected by a burglary, however this doesn’t always mean that your tenants’ stolen items will be replaced. When your tenants first moved into your property you probably advised them of the type of insurance you have and whether they needed to purchase additional contents insurance, however many forget to carry this out.

At Christmas time most people invest in expensive decorations, gifts, and electronics which may not be protected by their contents insurance. It may therefore be wise to remind your tenants that if they are planning on purchasing expensive items over the next couple of weeks they should also protect them with their contents insurance.

How to Handle a Break-In

If one of your properties is burgled you can guarantee that one of the first things your tenants will do is call you, after which you will need to work closely with them in order to make sure everything is resolved as quickly as possible. In order to make a claim with your landlord insurance provider you will likely need a case number from the police, so if your tenants haven’t reported the break-in make sure they do so straight away.

When visiting a property after a break-in it may be a good idea to bring the inventory with you so you can make a note of any missing items or damages to your home. Unfortunately, when breaking into a home burglars often damage doors, windows, upholstery and furniture – all of which you will need to double check. By keeping a document of all the damages caused you will also be able to help your insurance provider process your claim as quickly as possible.

Even though Christmas is supposed to be a time of good will for all men there are those that don’t always get into the spirit. This is why it is so important for landlords to work with their tenants to make sure that their properties remain safe over the festive period.

Photo by Oast House Archive / CC BY-SA 2.0

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