Summer Holiday Security – Part 1

If you own a holiday rental property there are many security concerns that the average homeowner doesn’t have to worry about.  Although it is very rare, there have been reports of renters refusing to leave at the end of their stay, leading to costly eviction processes which also mean a loss of rental income while the property is being squatted.  The nature of short lets means giving hundreds of people keys to the property and while most are honest and law-abiding, some may decide to make copies of the keys to use again later, either for a burglary or for an illicit holiday.

Privacy is a concern, as it’s great to have CCTV and a video doorbell or a camera over the door, however, cameras inside the property and which cover the back garden could put people off renting the place as they may feel that someone could be watching their every move while they sunbathe or barbecue.  On the flip side, no CCTV means that tenants who have caused damage can wriggle out of admitting it because there’s no proof they cause the damage.  Those who burgle holiday properties looking for easy to sell electronics, may also notice that there is no CCTV and decide it’s a good target.

Beach huts are another holiday property that are routinely targeted by criminals, as the beach at night is often a very quiet place to be with few people observing what anyone else is up to.  While it’s rare for people to leave valuables in a beach hut overnight, you might leave a radio, camping stove, furniture and some clothing behind which could be of use to someone, but vandalism is the more common type of crime committed in and around beach huts.

There are some things you can do, as the owner of a holiday let, that will remove or mitigate some of these security risks, and make running a holiday let a much less stressful undertaking.  Access systems which work with RFID technology are a great way to manage the issue of physical keys being lost, stolen or copied for later use.  If the tenant misplaces the key or it’s stolen, you can simply disable that RFID key from the system as soon as you are notified; so if it is found or taken by a burglar they won’t gain access with it. You can then issue the tenant with a new key (so keep a few spare ones in stock), which you could charge for.  This is overall much cheaper than having new locks installed every time a tenant accidentally buries their keys in a sandy beach, and much less hassle as no locksmith needs to be called; you can easily manage the access control system from your laptop or smartphone.  Access control systems also remove the problem of tenants accidentally taking the keys with them when they leave (which has the same consequences as if they are lost or stolen).

CCTV for a holiday let comes with all sorts of moral dilemmas and ramifications, so before you make a decision, see what council-owned cameras cover the area, and whether the neighbours have CCTV or video doorbells.  If you get on with the people around your holiday let then you may be able to rely on their footage if you ever have cause to need it.  This way, you can remove any concerns renters might have about their own privacy while still ensuring that external activity is caught on camera in case it turns out to be criminal activity. 

A video doorbell without other cameras is less of a privacy concern; sunbathing topless in the back garden isn’t going to be recorded by a front door video doorbell.  The advantage of having a standalone video doorbell is that you, as the owner, can see when guests have arrived and when they leave, so you can go in and clean the property ahead of the next guests.  It also gives you some idea of when guests are in and when they’re out, which, if substantial damage is caused, could blow a hole in their excuse if they claim they were out at the time.

Join us for part 2 where we look at what tenants should do for summer holiday security.