If you take an apartment block, and for example the rear parts which are hidden and unlit, and then you live in the ground floor flat, then unfortunately there is a higher probability of you having a break-in by someone
breaking the window glass and gaining entry, or damaging a door. I’ve come across numerous examples of this where you then need to sort out the aftermath and urgent repairs and insurance claim, before the realisation that you may need to do something to stop this happening again.
So here are three very general pointers to help you out in a similar situation, and in priority order - the first ones are the most important to consider. When you’re at the unfortunate receiving end of such an issue, you will naturally want a definite solution to stop anything like this happening again, although in reality its more about reducing the probability of it happening.
I always say that if you have someone who is determined to break in then they will find a way to still do it, and if you have unfortunate property issues against you such as poor light and being on the ground floor then you’ll always be more exposed, however all is not lost and these pointers will certainly improve your odds:
1. Make it Look Like the Property is Actively Lived- or Worked-in and That You’re Regularly Checking it
So maybe deliberately leave curtains closed or blinds down to hide the amazing TV screen in the room, or keep a light on to make it look like you’re in.
Maybe even leave plants pots or items in front of the area, if permitted, to act as an initial barrier.
You can also involve others in this as well, whether contacting the local neighbourhood watch, speaking with neighbours, and yourself or others regularly patrolling the area and showing that you’re on to things.
2. Look at Extra Lighting Outside
I’m a huge fan of lighting, ideally lots of natural light in buildings, but also lots of artificial lighting to create the right ambience. People are amazed how literally shedding light in a dark area can suddenly deter a lot of break-in attempts and loitering around of people, all for a simple external.
Practically though, you need to remember the two ‘P’s of arranging such outside lights. Firstly, permission of others such as the main building owner or management company or even neighbours out of politeness, and seeing if anything needs recording in writing. On one extreme it might be a quick email, on another a formal licence or legal document that can unfortunately rack-up costs to produce.
Secondly, you need power to it, ideally through an electrical cable. Now this can get complicated, so suddenly a £40 light fitting can turn into a £400 cost if you need an electrician to correctly install cables all around the property on the outside to feed from the correct landlords’ supply, not to mention it affecting the appearance with wires and trunking dotted around.
You might be able to short-cut and drill straight into the immediate area and feed straight from the individual occupiers’ supply, although they will be paying the bill for the benefit of other occupiers in a multi-let property.
Another real practical solution is just a simple solar-powered light that screws on the wall, powers itself from sunlight, and maybe has a movement-sensor on so it only triggers when people move near rather than being on all the time.
3. Consider CCTV Cameras Covering the Area
A whole subject in itself, and in actual fact a last resort as to do correctly can be costly and needing to involve others. Residential property are particularly troublesome, as a resident may want to install their own with technology linking to their mobile phones even, however under Data Protection they can’t be monitoring external areas or internal shared parts where others will be. If you need to do it, do it properly.
So in conclusion, only start looking at measures like CCTV after first making sure the property looks active to deter people, and you have looked at shedding light on the subject so to speak. And ideally look at these now, before any actual break-ins, in order to stop anything.
Need More Help?
Claim your FREE Property Management Pack here – including a 15-point Property Deal Cheat Sheet, and Introduction & Chapter from our amazon-best-seller book, the Property Management Guide.
Please leave comments below with any thoughts and queries.