The Christmas holidays are so close that you can almost taste that delicious turkey dinner you've been dreaming about for weeks. But before you head home for the festive break make sure you take a moment to ensure that you're keeping your student accommodation secure over Christmas. Houses full of presents and empty properties makes Christmas a popular time of year for house burglaries with unoccupied student homes being a prime target.
Don’t worry though, you don't need to resort to "Home Alone" style burglar traps to keep your student property safe! There are a number of very simple ways to ensure that your home is secure over the festive season.
- Get in the habit of checking that all windows and doors are locked each time you leave the house even if you are only popping out for 5 minutes. Before leaving for your Christmas break take extra care to check that each and every window and door is shut and securely locked. If you have a spare key to the property make sure it's left with a reliable person and not hidden somewhere that's easily accessible. Thieves aren't silly and are well aware that people often leave spare keys hidden under flower pots and door mats. If your student property is fitted with a burglar alarm set the alarm before you leave the house for Christmas.
- An empty student house at Christmas is all too tempting for thieves. Create the illusion that someone is at home by making sure that the house looks occupied. Simple things such as making sure there are coats hanging up in your hallway and that there is a light on in the house can be an effective deterrent. Lights in the house can be controlled by an electronic timer which is a cheap and easy way to ensure that it looks like someone is at home during the festive season.
- A letter box stuffed with unopened post will be an obvious clue to anyone passing that the house has been empty for a while. If your student house is going to be empty for a number of weeks you can use the Royal Mail Keepsafe service. The post office will hold your post while you're away, arranging safe delivery once you are back at the house.
- Lock any valuables away safely and out of sight or take them home with you. Laptops, gadgets and computer consoles that have been left lying about the house could easily be spotted through a window, making your home very attractive to thieves.
- Don't broadcast on social media that you are leaving your property empty for Christmas. Make sure your Twitter and Facebook account have the necessary privacy settings. You'd be surprised who might see your "going home for Christmas" tweet and how easily a criminal could work out where you live and how long your property will be empty.
- It's always sensible to make sure your home contents insurance policy is up to date so give it a quick look over before you head home for Christmas, it will give you peace of mind and ensure that you are covered if anything does go wrong.
To get fully prepared for the festive break why not use our handy checklist below to tick off before you head off for Christmas fun?
- Store any valuable items away from windows
- Ensure all window locks are used and that doors are locked using 5 lever locks and bolts (where fitted)
- Take window keys out of locks and keep in a safe place
- Make sure that bedroom doors are locked (where fitted)
- Check any rear yard security lights are working properly
- Make sure that all yard gates are bolted shut (where fitted)
- Leave some lighting on, preferably connected to a timer socket switch
- If you have an intruder alarm then take the time to make sure this is set
- Make sure you have social media security settings in place to keep information such as “home for the holidays” away from prying eyes
- Always password protect your mobile, laptop and other electrical items. In the event of anything happening you are more likely to get your electrical items back if they are secured, tracked and registered with immobilise – the UK national property register (www.immobilise.com).
- To track your device, download a mobile tracker app to give you the location of your mobile
- Keep lists of the make, model and serial numbers of your electronic items
- Mark electronics with a UV pen detailing your postcode, university name and student number
- Take photos of jewellery and small valuables
- Please make sure that any personal belongings left within your student property are covered under your own insurance. If you are worried about any of your valuables or personal possessions being left over the Christmas period, we recommend that you take them with you
- Store wheelie bins in the rear yard
- Check that all taps have been turned off before you leave
- Make sure that all rubbish has been put out - your student house will smell so much better when you return!
- Heating – if your student accommodation is being left unoccupied overnight then please make sure that the central heating system is in operation at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit / 16.6 degrees centigrade
- Electricity supply – please don’t switch off the electricity supply at any time as this will turn off your central heating boiler and prevent the fire alarm system and intruder alarm system (if applicable) from working.
If you're a Roseworth tenant and have any maintenance issues that require urgent attention, please contact our office on email@example.com or call 0191 222 1225 and we'll get them sorted as soon as we can.
If you would like further information on any of the points we’ve covered in this blog please do get in touch – a member of the Roseworth team will be happy to help!
And if you’ve still to arrange your Newcastle student accommodation for 2016/17 then please do take a look at the properties we still have available – if you would like to arrange a viewing please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring on 0191 222 1225.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!