Who is responsible for security in a rental property?
When you’re planning a move into rented accommodation security should be one of the things you take into consideration. Its all very well finding the perfect home but if the landlord hasn’t taken care to keep the security up to date it might well be a risky option, and end up costing you more than you thought.
With 20% of UK households living in private rental properties at the moment, a number which is increasing, and almost 400,000 burglaries every year security isn’t something that can be ignored. The majority are opportunistic, so by making your property secure and unappealing to burglars they will likely look elsewhere. Rented properties are subject to a higher level of crime than those occupied by the owners.
The landlord is responsible for ensuring the property is secure, but the tenant is also responsible for minimising any risk, such as keeping windows and doors locked and using alarms that are provided.
When you find a property you want to rent there are a few things you should discuss with your landlord before you sign a tenancy agreement.
- Are doors and windows of a good quality, and do they have working locks?
- Who else has keys to the property; landlord, letting agents etc?
- Who rented the property before and why did they leave?
- If it’s a shared property who else will be living there?
- Who has access to the gardens and any outbuildings/shed?
- Are there any home security products such as alarms, motion sensor lighting or CCTV?
If you’re concerned about previous tenants and others having keys to the property you can ask the landlord if they will change the locks. However they are not under any legal obligation to do so. If they refuse you can always ask if it is something you can do. But you should always check before you do anything as depending on your contract if could mean you lose your deposit.
You should also talk to your landlord about access to the property. Landlords are able to make scheduled visits to undertake inspections or repairs, under the Landlord and Tennant Act 1985, and they can also appoint agents or tradesmen to carry out these visits on their behalf. The key thing to remember here though is that they need to give at least 24 hours notice and if you are unavailable or the visit is inconvenient you can deny access. You do need to be reasonable though and suggest an alternative. Denying access continually could see you ending up in court.
If you’re looking for more advice or have specific questions the following organisations should be able to help.
For tenants: The Tenants Voice
The Tenants' Voice is one of the biggest tenant communities in the UK. We publish guides and content that help tenants learn their rights and responsibilities when renting a property. Learn more about The Tenants' Voice and the work that we do in the links to the right.
For landlords: National Landlords Association
The National Landlords Association is the UK’s largest membership organisation for private residential landlords, supporting and representing 41,000 members.