Keeping your accommodation safe and secure if it is left empty
During your tenancy, it is likely that your accommodation will be left empty at some point (for example, if you or your housemates are going away during Reading Week or the Christmas and Easter vacations). To help keep your accommodation secure, think about the following things:
- If you need to tell your landlord/agent you are going to be away, make sure you do so - look at your contract to see if you are required to do this.
- Get the household organised ahead of the property being left empty:
- Everyone knows who the last person to leave is going to be.
- Everyone clears out their perishable food to avoid bad smells and vermin (rats and mice).
- Consider installing timers on lamps so that lights are turned on and off, making it look like someone is in the property.
- Everyone should put their valuables or important items away, or take these with them. If you are leaving them in the property, consider insuring your belongings in case of damage or theft.
- If you are leaving your computer behind, back up all of your content – i.e. coursework, music and photos - and store the backup away from your computer. Possessions can usually be replaced, but a stolen laptop with all your coursework on it can be a disaster!
- Consider using a UV pen to mark your possessions with a permanent postcode or your University name and student ID number.
- If you get on with your neighbours, tell them that you are going away and ask them to keep an eye on the house by pushing any post through the letterbox to hide a build-up.
- The last person to leave should:
- Check all windows and doors are locked, including the back door and garden gates (if you have one).
- Check all taps are turned off.
- Check the heating system is set to a suitable minimum for the time of year to avoid frozen pipes.
- Close the curtains or blinds.
- Check that no valuables are left on display.
- Leave some lights on (ideally on timers).
- If you have a burglar alarm, make sure it is set when the last person goes out.
For more information about your local Police and tips on safety, take a look at:
West Midlands Police: http://saferstudents.west-midlands.police.uk/#