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Homes of multiple occupancy

Advice for tenants of multi occupancy homes...

Security advice for private rented accommodation:

  • Ensure the property is in line with Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) regulations which apply to homes with at least three tenants who share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.


  • Walk around the exterior of the property noting any areas of potential weakness.  Ensure boundaries are secure, sheds and outbuildings are securely locked, and any lighting or CCTV are working correctly and are not obscured.  Discuss any issues with the landlord.


  • Ensure good quality locks are on both the main door to the property and the bedroom doors.
  • It is easy to assume that previous residents have handed in their keys.  While this may be the case, it does not mean that extra copies have not been made by former residents, contractors or even rogue traders. It is important to question what locking systems are in place, when they were last replaced and how the copying of keys is controlled.
  • It is landlords’ duty to act in a responsible manner.  They should install quality locks with patented keys which can’t be copied without proof of ownership or restricted keys which, owing to their unique design, can’t be easily copied.
  • Communal doors should be robust, security accredited and two magnetic locks – top and bottom.  Faulty doors should be reported and repaired quickly. For improved security at communal entrances, consider using a Fob.  Also consider fitting a letterbox restrictor.
  • Check windows to ensure appropriate locks are fitted, are in good condition and meet insurance requirements.  Ask a vetted MLA locksmith for advice if you are unsure.
  • Common areas – ideally post boxes should lockable and located in a secure area. 

Protecting yourself and your belongings

  • Ensure communal doors are kept closed and secure.  UPVC doors are properly locked by lifting the handle, turning the key and then removing it.  Rear doors are often accidentally left unlocked, so get into the habit of checking them. 
  • Ensure windows are closed and locked when leaving the property, especially on the ground floor. Many burglaries happen because a window or door is left open.
  • Never share access codes with people who don’t live at your property and never let in anyone you don’t know.
  • It’s tempting to leave doors open when relaxing in the sun or if friends are going in and out of the property – but it’s all too easy for a thief to take advantage of the situation and walk in. Be vigilant and don’t forget that a closed door does not mean it is locked!
  • Don’t be tempted to hide a key under a mat or pot, criminals know this, and will often check.
  • Remember to lock you own room whenever you leave it.
  • Alarms / Home Security – consider buying an accredited alarm system or a Wifi connected camera system that will alert you to movement in your room. Consider using timer switches on a light, radio or fake TV to give the impression the room is occupied.
  • Keep valuables out of sight and away from doors and windows.  Don’t leave empty packaging outside your property as this may indicate there is something worth stealing. Mark valuable items with a UV pen and register them on  Install free tracking software on mobile phones and record the IMEI number.
  • Avoid leaving mail or other personal documents in an insecure area: theft of mail can lead to identity theft and fraud. Ensure you have your mail redirected if you move elsewhere.
  • If a room or shared house is to be left unoccupied for a period of time, tenants should either remove all valuables or take them out of view.
  • Take note of the number of your nearest MLA licensed locksmith by visiting or ringing the MLA’s free phone number – 0800 783 1498  and store the number in your phone for emergency situations.
  • Join Hertfordshire’s Neighbourhood Watch at get the latest alerts and advice from your local policing team. 

For landlords

  • Use British Standard approved locks with security keys that cannot be readily duplicated.
  • Ensure good key management and that keys are not hidden around the property.
  • Ensure fences, gates, entrance doors, and other boundaries are in a good condition.
  • Assist tenants to understand the risks and what they can do to protect themselves.
  • Ensure tenants are aware of their responsibilities and the boundaries for insurance cover.
  • Regular property maintenance checks should be undertaken.
  • Install security alarms, lighting and external cameras (with knowledge and consent of tenants).
  • Maintain a good relationship with tenants and neighbours, so they keep you informed of issues.

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