5 Security Challenges Faced by HMO Landlords, and How to Solve Them

Master Key Systems | 2nd August 2021

HMO Landlords

HMO landlords are responsible for the security of their tenants. Renters have a basic right to expect that their rental properties are secure under the Homes Act of 2018.

Unfortunately, a range of property-related security problems can and do arise from time to time. Therefore, this post will run through the five most common security challenges you’re likely to face as a landlord and how to fix them.

Lock Bumping

Lock bumping is a traditional burglary method that was popular prior to 2008 before lock manufacturers upgraded their mechanisms. Burglars would insert a master key and then gently knock on the door to push the pins into alignment inside the lock cylinder. Once they fell into place, the criminal could then open the door without any resistance, overcoming even the best master key system.

Lock bumping is a major issue for insurance purposes since it doesn’t leave any trace of forced entry. Today, police and insurers are more aware of the issue. However, it is better to avoid difficulties altogether by installing HMO compliant door locks that a criminal can’t “bump.”

Tenant Screening

Most tenants are decent, law-abiding individuals. However, you may sometimes get people renting your properties with a shady history. And that can put other members of the HMO at risk.

For this reason, it’s essential for landlords to use professional tenant screening services. These agencies check things like employment references, criminal records and credit histories. They can also ask previous landlords for references.

Required Safety Checks for HMO Landlords

UK law demands that landlords conduct regular safety checks of HMO properties. For instance:

  • Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (2020) demand that landlords carry out checks of all electrics once every five years and issue reports to tenants
  • Gas safe regulations require testing of all gas appliances in the property at least once per year

Landlords should also check alarms and security systems - such as fire alarms, burglar alarms and carbon monoxide alarms - to ensure that they are still working properly. If you don’t carry out your obligations as a landlord, you could be held liable for tenant losses and injuries


Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance is critical for maintaining the value of your HMO property. However, it’s also necessary for keeping tenants safe and secure. For example, maintenance tasks such as sweeping the chimney and replacing broken furniture prevent fires and injury. And other tasks, such as repairing perimeter fencing, installing new HMO compliant locks and fixing poorly-fitting windows and doors, helps to enhance security and protect residents from burglars.

If your tenants notify you of a maintenance issue, solve it immediately. Delaying action will likely lead to increased repair costs in the future and could put tenants in harm’s way.

Property Inventory

Lastly, property inventories are lists detailing the condition of your HMO property and all of the items that it contains. Landlords typically carry these out at the start and end of tenancy agreements.

Always give tenants a copy of the property inventory with clearly detailed descriptions of the property’s existing condition. If necessary, you can also use software to create detailed records, ensuring that everyone is on the same page from the outset.

Discover Three Simple Steps to Securing Your HMO Property by Checking Out Our Guide

Ensure that your HMO properties remain secure by checking out our guide here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with a member of our team by using our contact form below. You can also contact a member of the Master Key Systems team directly today on 01902 737 672 or by emailing us at sales@masterkeysystems.co.uk. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.