Moving House – Be Aware of the Hidden Security Risks!
My sister will be moving house soon and as a family run local locksmith the security of my loved ones is high priority. I was brought up in Finchley and Barnet areas and moved house several times. Now I am a locksmith covering Finchley and Barnet I have come to recognise the significant security risks that are involved in moving. What concerns me is that I am also reminded on a daily basis on the job as locksmith in London that there is an inherent lack of awareness of the security risks involved in moving home.
So when my sister told me she was moving house I started to think about what she may need to consider to minimise the security risks involved. I decided to make a moving house checklist for her with a focus on security.
I think that most people, my sister included, will be aware of the obvious things to do when moving house;
- Book a removals company
- Redirect your mail
- Arrange childcare
- Cancel deliveries, window cleaners etc
If you look on the internet there are numerous websites which give their top tips for moving house. Some of these lists are quite detailed.
BBC homes have a checklist, it doesn’t however cover security. You can find the checklist here.
This article is quite thorough but still no mention of changing the locks on your new house.
I like this article which covers some of the less obvious points to consider when moving.
There is still no mention of security. This really is a window of opportunity for the professional burglar!
With the excitement, stress and work involved in moving to a new house it is often the case that people don’t prioritise something as important as how to secure your home. What I want to cover in my IKS Locksmiths House Move Checklist are those all important, (but often overlooked) points that will avoid putting your family and belongings at risk. I have witnessed too many cases in my career as a London Master Locksmith where security considerations have been left to the bottom of the list and ended in loss and regret.
Consider the means of security available
- Locks are the number one most important means of security. Not only will they deter intruders but also keep intruders out of your property.
- You may also want to consider an alarm or CCTV which can be great deterrents.
Carefully consider your choice of security expert
Choose a qualified and approved Master Locksmith who specialises in physical security like Locks, Grilles and Safes.
It is important to choose your locksmith carefully because surprisingly the UK locksmith industry is unregulated and as a result there are UK locksmiths operating who are not qualified or CRB checked. To avoid encountering less reliable unregulated locksmiths use the Master Locksmith Association website to search for reputable, qualified, regulated, CRB checked locksmiths in your area. For more information see our guide on How to Choose a Locksmith. This guide will also give you some information to remember with regards locksmith costs to change locks on your new home.
Prioritise changing the locks on your new house on moving day
It is important that you change the locks on your new house on the day you move in. It may feel like an unnecessary hassle on such a busy day but if you consider all the people that could potentially have copies of your keys and free access to your home it doesn’t make for a sound first night’s sleep in your new home.
- Previous owners
- Traders people working for the previous owners
- Individuals who held a spare key for previous owners
- Estate agents of which there may by a few
With this is mind it is concerning that according to this article over 50% of new home owners fail to change their locks.
Should a previous key holder enter your property and steal your belongings you will most likely find that you are not covered by your insurance policy. This leads me on to my next tip.
Ensure that you have insurance approved locks and that your home insurance policy starts from the day you move in
If your home security is not in compliance with your insurance policy requirements you could be giving your insurance company another reason to avoid paying when you make a claim. See this article for more detailed information on insurance approved locks.
Outline a burglary prevention plan before you move in
Work on the assumption that your movements on moving day may be watched by potential intruders looking for opportunities.
This may sound extreme but the fact that all your belongings will be seen leaving a large conspicuous van makes you an obvious target. It is like window shopping for a burglar. Spotting these opportunities is something that the experienced intruder is good at. In fact when I was younger and moving to a new home in Finchley my family experienced this first hand.
We moved into a house which was surrounded by a high wall and it was a hot day so we had left a number of windows open. We were in the living room and my Dad walked into the ground floor bedroom, where most of our belongings were, to find someone climbing out through the window with a box of my Dads favourite records! The intruder dropped the box and ran. It made us realise the surrounding wall and lack of window locks was something that we should have considered before moving in. The intruder had obviously watched us unloading the contents of the removal van and liked the look of some of what he saw including my Dads records!
To prevent such situations when you move home review our burglary prevention guide here and make a plan before moving day so that you can feel safe from the moment you move in. Each property should be considered individually for intruder opportunities. You may not have had a garden in the past and now have a shed which requires a lock. The guide will help ensure that you don’t overlook anything when it comes to adjusting your ideas with regards to the security required for your new home.
To Summarise IKS Locksmiths Secure Home Moving Tips:
- Locks are the most important means of security.
- Choose an MLA approved locksmith – avoid cowboys!
- New Home = change locks on moving day
- Insurance approved locks are key!
- Burglars like moving day – protect your new home from day 1.
So if you know anyone who is thinking of moving house please share these security tips with them. You could be doing them a big favour.
IKS Locksmiths offer a free security survey. We would be pleased to assess the security of your property and advise the best means of ensuring your family and belongings are safe and secure from the day you move in so you can sleep soundly on your first night in your new home. We work to your budget and can help you explore the range of options.
I hope this has been helpful to you and would be happy to hear any questions or comments you may have.