Fewer than half of new homeowners change the locks when they move in.
What’s the first thing you did when you moved into your new home?
If you’re anything like me, you probably ran excitedly from room to room, before spending a few hours unpacking boxes and then finally ordering a takeaway pizza and sinking exhaustedly on to the sofa cushions. Moving house is exhausting – so it’s no wonder that once it’s all done you just want to relax! This mind-set might explain why our research* has revealed that fewer than half of the people who have moved into a new property changed the locks.
Why is this important?
Simply put, because if you don’t change the locks you have no idea who has access to your home! For starters, the previous owners of the property may still have a set of keys. And if they do, there’s every chance their family, friends and neighbours have a set too. In fact, can you really say with any certainty that only you and members of your household can get into your new home?
You can if you make sure you do the following as soon as you move in:
Change the locks – arrange to have this done on the day of completion
Change the de-activation code on your burglar alarm (if you have one)
In the long-term, other ways to increase the security of your home include:
Having a mortice lock fitted if you don’t already have one. Choose one that meets British Standards BS3621, which could net you a discount from your home insurer.
Fitting mortice bolts to your patio doors.
Investing in composite front and back doors, which are more secure than timber – and better at keeping out the draught!
Installing a burglar alarm and remembering to set it when you’re out.
Having new windows fitted that can be secured with a key or ensure that your existing windows all have a key operated security lock.
Keeping your front garden tidy – unkempt properties can be attractive to burglars, who may assume if you can’t be bothered to keep your home tidy you also haven’t bothered to make it secure.
Making sure the bushes outside your home are low so no one can hide behind them.
Considering a gravel drive or path, as this lets you know when someone is approaching your home thanks to the crunching of their footsteps.
No one wants to think that their new home will be burgled – particularly by the former owners. And in reality, you probably have no reason to worry. But if you want to feel truly safe and sound when you lock your door at night, make sure you’re the only one who can unlock it.
*Consumer Intelligence questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,061 adults aged 18 and over between 5th and 6th November 2013.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.