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Buy to let investors and letting agents who rent to students have been warned to tighten up their security ahead of the imminent academic year.
Student properties are some of the most targeted in the country by thieves due to students’ reputation as having lax security measures and expensive items such as laptops and smartphones. The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) has warned landlords to be aware who has access to the property, suggesting that they look out for workmen, letting agents and past tenants who have keys.
Research from Direct Line has shown that a quarter of students are burgled at university, with an estimated £25 million lost to thieves since 2014. It was found that around 80 per cent of student thefts occur at city universities where privately rented, multiple occupancy student accommodation is more prevalent.
Managing director of the Master Locksmiths Association, Dr Steffan George, said: ‘Student properties have always been prone to break ins but with students increasingly looking for accommodation with more facilities and a higher finish, the cost of any potential damage and repairs could be higher than ever for landlords. Repairing damage to doors and windows caused by a burglary or forced entry can cost in the region of £600 alone, which can significantly affect the bottom line of any rental investment.’
Additional guidance from the MLA suggested that landlords should ‘think like a burglar’ and take the opportunity to review security before new tenants move in. They suggest removing large objects such as rocks which could be used for breaking and entering. It is also imperative that landlords discuss security with their new tenants as for many of them this is their first time living away from home and they may not have needed to consider security before.
Finally, it was advised that landlords install adequate security measures as HMO licencing could be subject to changes changes and landlords could be held directly responsible in an emergency situation.