Renter guide to home security
As Australia heads further down the roadmap to reopening interstate and international travel, many people have planned to go away during the holiday season.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the holiday season is one of the peak times of year for home burglaries and break-ins in Australia, with statistics revealing a 30% increase during this time of year. Surprisingly, the Bureau also reported that most property offences in this period occur in daylight hours.
Despite the concerning crime data, there are simple ways to protect your rental property from theft. We’ve outlined our top 7 home security tips below.
1. Get to know your neighbours!
Due to extended lockdowns, most Australians spent a lot more time at home during 2020 & 2021. However, according to QBE Insurance, 33% of Australians believe they now know their neighbour better than before the pandemic.
One way to prevent a home invasion is by letting your trusted neighbours know you’re going to be away and asking if they can keep an eye on your rental home. This way, if they see anything suspicious, they will quickly take action and call authorities on your behalf. You can also see if there’s a current Neighbourhood Watch program in your area and get involved.
2. Suspend newspaper deliveries
A common way thieves scope out potential empty houses is by targeting homes with mail and newspaper piled up outside. One way of avoiding this is by asking your subscription newspapers to suspend delivery or by asking your trusted neighbour to collect your mail for you while you’re away.
3. Avoid publicly posting on social media
Another common way thieves scope out potential houses to rob is through social media! For example, posting holiday photos on a public social media account may alert burglars to your absence and make you a potential target.
According to a survey conducted in the UK, 4 out of 5 convicted burglars used Facebook and Twitter to target their next victims. An easy way to prevent this is by ensuring your social media visibility settings are switched to private to avoid unknown parties from viewing your photos.
4. Find a house sitter
Finding a trusted person to mind your rental home while you’re away isn’t as difficult as it may seem. However, if you don’t know anyone personally who you think would be suited, several secure websites can help you find your perfect house sitter for your requirements, such as Aussie House Sitters.
This service is ideal if you also have a pet that needs to be looked after while you’re away.
5. Do a security check early
At least two weeks before you’re set to go away, make sure to do a thorough check of the locks to all your doors and windows in your rental home. If there are any broken locks, contact your agent or property manager and ask them to repair them before leaving. Ensure that you also do a thorough check again as you’re going for your holiday to make sure you lock everything!
6. Hide your valuables
Before going away, make sure to pack away and hide your main valuables in a safe place or, ideally, with a trusted person (such as a family member or close friend).
This may include belongings such as your laptop and jewellery. Packing away small valuables in a safe in your home is also a good idea.
7. Don’t allow strangers into your home
Don’t allow untrusted people into your home, whether it’s door-to-door salesmen or cleaners. Insurance company, Budget Direct, explains that “criminals can quickly learn the layout of your property and catch sight of potential possessions to steal”.
Therefore, avoiding strangers from entering your home - especially around the holiday season - may help prevent a burglary.
What to do if your rental home is burgled?
If the worst-case scenario occurs and your rental home has been burgled, stay calm and follow these next steps.
- Report the break-in to Police, make sure to take photos of the event (including any damaged areas).
- Report the break into your property manager or agent with the relevant police report number.
- Refer to your lease agreement to specify how break-ins are managed and who is responsible for the damage.
- Suppose your property manager is out of the office. In that case, you can temporarily fix any damage to the property for security reasons, and you should be reimbursed (depending on the terms outlined in the lease agreement).
Our renters essential home security guide has also explained more ways to protect your rental home.