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 David Lawrenson

12:24 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Mmm, well it looks to me that the rent is cheap because it is a lousy flat with a landlord-owner who is unwilling or unable to work with other leaseholders to take a fight to the owner of the block, who is himself not up to the job of property looking after the building or protecting his asset.

The landlord-owner of the flat should be trying to work with other owners to get the block improved or failing that, work with other owners to set up a management company to take over the running of the building. But this can be very hard to do, and the process can be slow if other owners are hard to contact and not motivated and uninterested in looking after their own flat assets, long term (and their value). (He should seek advice of the FPRA and Bob Smytherman's crew)

It sounds to me the classic block which is owned my multi-landlords, who don't seemingly care and which probably blights the area. I'll bet a few quid that the gardens / bin stores and car parking spaces are eyesores. Am I right? The whole place will be doing it's bit to give private landlords a bad name.

This is the sort of property I advise landlords off from buying - all they are buying is a load of trouble. I had some in my early days as a landlord. Now I avoid.

For your friend, OK the rent is cheap but the issues re this flat will not be sorted in a hurry. Find somewhere else.

David Lawrenson
Consulting Advice for Tenants and Landlords

by Rob Crawford

13:09 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

If your friend has a case (take photos as evidence) and the property can be proven to be not secure, then after your friend has moved in, write a letter to the landlord that explains freinds position and (also the issue with the external door/intercom) advises friend would like the lock to be changed as not secure and that if not done within 14 days it will be replaced. If nothing happens, get the lock changed and give the landlord a set of keys and see what happens. If done professionally and paid for, I doubt the landlord will seek to evict you. If the landlord does serve a section 8, your friend will not be evicted unless a court serves an eviction order. Assuming their is a case to change the lock and rent is being paid and your friend attends court and demonstrates that the flats was indeed insecure and also presents the letter, I doubt you will be evicted. But this is not a good start to a tenancy! The landlords reaction to your friends request suggests the relationship will not improve! Maybe get a view from Shelter!

by David Lawrenson

13:14 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Yes, that is good advice from Rob there too.
If Shelter could tear themselves away from scaring landlords with often unworkable policy proposals - then they may be able to advise, though pretty sure they could not add to what has been said already.

by Jo Westlake

13:30 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

What type of lock is it? Mortice style or nightlatch? From the inside is it thumbturn or does it require a key? If the flat is in a building that was a converted HMO there will be very specific requirements from the Local Authority Private Sector Housing team regarding locks. The ability to escape in the event of a fire takes priority over anything else.

The maintenance and upgrades in the type of leasehold property described can be a nightmare and very frustrating for the leaseholders. Some will want to pay for quality upgrades (such a an intercom system) others won't. Leasehold flats are usually the cheapest properties to buy so are often bought by people on lowish incomes who simply haven't thought about how they will pay for building maintenance or lease extension.

So it could be that the landlord isn't being difficult or awkward. He could just be adhering to rules set by the government regarding the lock.

by Marie

13:55 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Hello and thank you to everyone who has replied. This is all very useful. Apparently the outside of the property was fine. But the lock isn’t the only problem. My friend has now discovered another. Neither the council or the landlord supply dustbins so all the tenants in the building have to either put their rubbish into other people’s bins or abandon it at a building site around the corner. Seriously. Or her prospective landlord is offering to collect it and take it to the tip for £5.00 per collection all sorted into numerous categories for recycling.
My friend will probably take your advice Rob. But I am still asking. If she just moved in and left the lock as it was. Then one night somebody kicked the door in and burgled the flat? Or worse it happened whilst she was in bed that someone broke in, beat her up and burgled the flat? Then where would she stand? Would the landlord be responsible or would she? Would the police turn round and blame my friend for not fitting another lock and refuse to hunt down the perpetrators and trace her grandmother’s engagement ring and her uncle’s pipe? Would her landlord have any legal duty to rehouse her or pay her any compensation? Is there any case law on this type of thing? My friend wants to know all of the facts upfront to make a fully informed decision.
Fingers crossed she will find another flat without these problems where she can afford the rent in the next couple of weeks but if she doesn’t she needs to move into this one with her eyes well and truly open.

by Marie

13:58 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jo Westlake at 12/12/2019 - 13:30
It is not a mortice lock. It is one of those where you have to hold the door closed towards you to turn the key to lock it. I know what she means. I just don’t know what they are called. You can buy them for about £7.00!

by Jay James

17:02 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Somebody is making stuff up.

by Kathy Evans

17:14 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 12/12/2019 - 10:05
But as you've been advised, the person in charge of the block needs to sort out the fact that there is no intercom or external door bells so that the door does not have to be wedged open. That is a real problem and all the landlords need to get together to get that sorted. It's no good just saying "there's no intercom". It is a problem that needs to be fixed. I'd just find another flat, or ask the police to comment and pass that on to the landlord and the person in charge of the building. it would be relatively cheap in install external mailboxes and you can always get online shopping delivered to an Amazon locker or similar, so no need to wedge a door open

by Neil Patterson

17:37 PM, 12th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 12/12/2019 - 13:55
Walk away now. No Dustbins !!!!!

by Marie

9:56 AM, 13th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 12/12/2019 - 17:37
I have looked online and fortunately it is easy enough to buy a wheelie bin so I think she should just fit her own lock and if the landlord objects have a photo of the old one as evidence that she was putting her safety and possessions at risk otherwise. Thank you to everyone who contributed. It’s a shame nobody answered the questions though as I am really curious to know the answers and my friend really wants to know as it is her decision to make and I cannot force her.

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