Is it reasonable to ask for extra security on front door?

Is it reasonable to ask for extra security on front door?

11:36 AM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago 30

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Hello, I am a newbie to the forum and I have a question. A friend of mine has just viewed a ground floor flat yesterday which she really likes. Her only reservation is that she feels the front door is not secure enough.

There is only one lock on the door and it is old and not very robust. There is no chain and the landlord told her that he does not want a chain or any other locks added.

She fears that her contents insurance will not be valid if she is burgled and that the door could easily be kicked in and she could therefore be potentially in danger. The back door ironically is in far better shape and does have a much better lock on it so she isn’t concerned about that.

The area isn’t the worst and the landlord says the flat has never been broken into, but where does my friend stand if she takes the tenancy?

If she changes the lock and fits a chain can the landlord take action against her for “causing damage to his door”? If she was broken into what duty of care if any would the landlord then have towards her to protect her?

Other than the front door lock situation my friend absolutely loves the flat. The rent is affordable and the location is convenient. She knows the area and she really needs somewhere to live.

All advice will be very welcome.

Thank you. Marie


by Neil Patterson

11:39 AM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Hi Marie,

On the insurance and security aspect and as the property is a flat do you know what the security on the main entrance door is like?
This will affect who can get to the front door in the first place.

by Marie

12:13 PM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 11/12/2019 - 11:39
Hello Neil, thank you for responding. My friend has spoken to two other tenants in the building and they have informed her that the main front door is permanently wedged wide open with a brick because there are no intercoms or doorbells outside so Royal Mail, Parcel Force, Hermes, Asda etc have to be able to gain access somehow. All the tenants have different landlords though. The door to this ground floor flat is right in front of the main door so in full view of the street and anyone walking past.

by Rob Crawford

12:21 PM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 11/12/2019 - 12:13From what you say the block management company needs to address the external door issue. The landlord and other landlords/owners need to contact them and demand it is fixed. With regard to the internal door to your apartment the conclusion depends on whether the door is currently secure or not, you both have different opinions. You could ask your local police constable to comment. You have to make a decision as to whether to accept the flat and hope that these issues will be addressed, or look elsewhere!

by Marie

13:35 PM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 11/12/2019 - 12:21
Hello Rob. It isn’t that the main front door to the building needs fixing. The issue is that the doorbells to each flat are inside the building directly outside each flat rather than outside and the main door automatically locks when it is closed. If that door is closed Royal Mail have no access as they have no means of contacting any of the tenants inside and they do not have a key to the door. The same is the case with anybody delivering parcels. So the tenants have to leave the door wedged fully open with a brick. I hope that fully explains the situation? There is no block management company bizarrely. The owner of one of the flats owns the leasehold of the building and he charges all the tenants £50 per month for cleaning and maintenance of the building.
My friend just wants answers to the questions I have asked so she can make her decision as her Section 21 notice expires in 22 days time and as yet she has not found anywhere else which she can afford. She has to leave her current tenancy because her landlord’s sister has broken up with her husband and wants to live in the flat which my friend has been renting.

by Rob Crawford

13:55 PM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 11/12/2019 - 13:35
There will most likely be a clause in the agreement that says you can't change locks. So if you add to or change the existing lock arrangement you will need permission. If you dont seek permission and you change it, you will be in breach of the agreement. Who ever is responsible for the flats needs to sort the external door/intercom. Landlords do have some responsibility in terms of security but your issue is the differing opinions of your friend and the landlord. Maybe, show the landlord the insurance company's requirements and ask for this to be complied with.

by Paul Shears

18:15 PM, 11th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Find another flat. The landlord is not up to the job.

by Marie

10:05 AM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 11/12/2019 - 13:55
Hi Rob. My friend has been given a copy of the tenancy agreement which she would be required to sign and it contains a clause stating that the front door and back door locks must not be changed during the tenancy by the tenant and that the tenant must not add additional locks or the tenant will be in breach under Section 8 of the Housing Act and will be taken to court and removed from the property. As I have already stated twice the “external door” does not have an intercom as there is no intercom system in the building. Each flat has its doorbell outside its individual front door hence the main door “external door” has to be wedged open with a brick so that post people and delivery people can enter the building to bring mail and drop off deliveries for the tenants in the building. Basically one man owned house until nine years ago and rented it out as a very large HMO. He then decided to turn it into flats and at the conclusion of that to sell off all of the flats except for one which he kept for himself. When he approached all of the owners of the flats asking them for £2,000 each so that he could install an intercom system they all refused as they didn’t want to pay for it hence there isn’t one.

by Dylan Morris

10:10 AM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Your friend hasn’t even taken up the tenancy yet and already running into problems causing quite a concern. Landlord says the locks can’t be changed so it’s very clear. Tell your friend to find somewhere else as clearly the property is not suitable. Simples.

by Marie

12:00 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 11/12/2019 - 18:15
If only it was so easy for my friend to just “find another flat”. She has just 3 weeks to find somewhere else. She is by herself and her job doesn’t pay much. She works in a hotel and the hours are crazy with early shifts that start at 5:30am when there is no public transport running so she can’t move too far away as she cannot afford to pay for taxi fares. This flat is just ten minutes’ walk from where my friend works and the rent is cheaper than for many other flats. The area is safe. There is a large council estate nearby which isn’t so safe. My friend cannot rent through an agency because her income isn’t enough to pass referencing so she is limited to private landlords.

by Marie

12:11 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 12/12/2019 - 10:10
Hopefully she will find somewhere else as 3 weeks isn’t very long and only this morning she has had her landlord’s sister asking her what date she is moving out and whether she can move out a bit earlier as she is desperate to move in. My friend doesn’t want to outstay her welcome there and she can’t live on the street.
So is there anyone on this forum who can please answer the questions which I have posted? I urgently need the answers now. Forearmed is forewarned. Thank you.

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