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



Comments

by David Lawrenson

10:10 AM, 13th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Mmm, I thought the questions were answered, with the consensus being walk away. Maybe not the answer that was wanted?
Has anyone at the flats asked the council for why there are no bins and would they mind providing them? Round our way and most places I have lived they tend to provide them.

David Lawrenson
http://www.LettingFocus.com and Tenants-Renting-Guide.com

by Marie

12:54 PM, 13th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Lawrenson at 13/12/2019 - 10:10
I don’t know. She isn’t that friendly with the other tenants-they are strangers! Fortunately she can buy a wheelie bin online and maybe her fellow tenants will then follow. It very much looks as if she will have to accept the tenancy as outstaying her welcome and thereby forcing her current landlord to evict her is not an option and neither is homelessness. She sent me some photos of the inside of the flat and the carpets are all brand new. It’s a lovely little flat. Very homely. It’s not all bad. I will update in due course.

by Jo Westlake

13:26 PM, 13th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Try asking the relevant authorities.

The insurance company will have a question on their form about what type of lock exists. Answer it honestly and you will get an insurance quote that reflects their attitude to risk.

The Local Authority Private Sector Housing team will almost certainly be aware of the building if it was a converted HMO. Ask them about what type of lock the flat has to have and how the rubbish collection works. There are laws about both of these issues.

Some of the things you have said are confusing. You don't know what type of lock it is but they cost £7. Most types of lock can be obtained at varying prices for items that look very similar. Are you talking about the entire lock or just the cylinder?
You say the person who owns the building charges the tenants £50 a month for cleaning and maintenance. Is that on top of the rent or included? You also say each flat has a different landlord. Are you confusing freeholder, leaseholder and tenant? The freeholder would normally charge the leaseholder. The tenants have no contract with the freeholder.

Tenancy agreements are often just downloaded straight off the internet and contain dozens of clauses which may or may not be worded in exactly the way the landlord would choose. The bit about locks may just be a standard clause. Obviously landlords don't want tenants to change locks without consent or add chains and extra locks or bolts. There are 3 main reasons. Firstly the landlord needs to have a key to get into the property in the event of an emergency.
Secondly there may be a legal requirement for a specific type of lock or provision of a spare key in a breakglass box. There is a legal requirement to be able to exit the building without having to search for keys in a great many rental properties especially flats and HMOs. So thumbturn locks or nightlatch type locks.
Thirdly the majority of tenants don't possess the correct tools or skills to do the job properly. A poor DIY attempt can ruin a door. If you want a new lock and chain ask the landlord if it would be OK if you pay for a professional locksmith to install it and give the landlord a key.

Any property can be broken into if someone is determined enough. I might be being a bit stupid here but why would someone risk breaking into a cheap, single person flat when there are much richer pickings elsewhere?

by Rob Crawford

14:37 PM, 13th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 12/12/2019 - 13:58
I can't imagine what sort of lock you can get for £7 that's any good.

by Old Mrs Landlord

7:54 AM, 14th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Marie at 13/12/2019 - 12:54
If she buys a wheelie bin the other tenants will just put their rubbish in it rather than buy their own, and if the building is not listed on the council's collection round the dustmen will just ignore it. Your friend needs to make an official request to the local council once she is resident in the building. Assuming council tax is being paid, the council have a duty to provide waste collection services.

by John Daley

9:28 AM, 14th December 2019, About 2 years ago

After a casual look through this trail I think its obvious that neither the landlord or the property are ok.

At a guess I'd expect the flat conversion to be poor not complying with building legislation, the front door will not be 30 minute fire resistant.

The rest of the building will have safety issues because no one actually manages it. Dumping rubbish on a building site is fly tipping and a criminal offence.

No bins equals the landlord is hiding this from the Council and there is some sort of Council Tax scam.

If the landlord will not allow reasonable locks on the door then he wants to make it easy to get in to the flat for himself, clearly a warning sign. Good luck getting repairs done here. Try reporting him to the Council and I would expect harrasment at the very least.

All in all a clear opportunity to run away as fast as you can.

by Michael Barnes

19:01 PM, 14th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Yes, she can change the lock, or add others, for her security.

Yes LL can use S8 to seek to evict for breach of agreement, but it is a discretionary ground and a judge is extremely unlikely to grant possession to the LL.

No, she does not have to give a key to the LL until she vacates.

Yes, she can be pursued for damages at the end of the tenancy if the LL suffers a loss (but increased security is unlikely to be a loss).

LL can issue S21 notice when fixed term expires.

Regarding current accommodation, expiry of a S21 notice does not mean she has to leave.

The dustbin issue is of great concern, and should be reported to the council, whether or not she takes up the tenancy.

by BigMc

14:55 PM, 16th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Hi,
My suggestion would be to ask the landlord to either let you fit the extra security/locks you require providing you give him a copy or ask if he can arrange to get the job done at your cost.
I cannot imagine why any landlord would refuse to have the security of his property upgraded for free.
If he still says no without a compelling excuse do not rent this flat unless you want a most unreasonable landlord.
Good Luck, Mike

by Marie

15:47 PM, 17th December 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by BigMc at 16/12/2019 - 14:55
Thank you to everyone who commented and assisted. My friend has now moved in. There were 7 other tenants wanting the property and she was running out of time before her Section 21 notice ran out on her existing tenancy. Her landlord’s daughter had nowhere to live herself. Her new landlord is still intent that she must not fit a new lock regardless of giving him a key or not. He refuses to provide any further reason other than it “will damage the door”. Subject closed-do not bring it up again. She has ordered her wheelie bin and it is due to arrive on Monday.
She has now met all of the other tenants in the building and first impressions of her new neighbours have been really positive.

by Kelly Tiel

12:10 PM, 8th January 2020, About 2 years ago

It is reasonable in case if you have extra cash to pay for it or you are very concerned about the safety of your private property (like living near criminal regions of your city). in other case I would say it would be too inconvenient taking into consideration prices that they charge for this


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