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Lia Schopmeyer - Digital marketing executive at Confused.com

8 ways to keep your stuff safe in a house share

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Living in a house share could mean you’re more likely to get burgled. Put a stop to that with our eight easy tips.

 Locked computer

1. Get some cover

This might seem obvious but, surprisingly, contents cover isn't everyone’s priority when living with others.

Maybe it’s because you don’t want to be that guy who has to sort everything out as you’ll be stuck with that job for the rest of the tenancy.

Good luck trying to get your housemates to pay for anything on time.

However, shared houses and especially student houses are more likely to get burgled because they usually have weaker security – and a treasure trove of goodies to pick from.

You can get more info on our tenant’s insurance guide. Depending on your setup, you might need a separate policy for each person living in the house.

The other option, of course, is to not own anything, but that’s quite boring.

2. Lock up

Fence fail

Your front and back doors should be locked before everyone goes to bed, as well as any windows. You’ll be surprised how little a gap a determined thief needs.

Your landlord should be able to provide you with proper locks but ask if you think the house needs some new ones.

If you want extra security, install a lock on your bedroom door. If everyone in the house share has their own tenancy agreement, your landlord is required by law to install locks on each room.

Even if you trust your housemates, it’s very handy when there are parties that you don’t want to spill into your bedroom.

3. Hide your valuables

Hidden key

You wouldn’t leave your laptop in plain view in your car, so follow the same rule for your house.

If you have blinds, close them. If not, at least move your expensive stuff out of sight.

If your stuff gets stolen and when you make a claim it turns out that you left them in plain sight with a metaphorical neon sign pointing to them, your insurer might not pay out.

4. Do a full inventory

When you move in, take an inventory of all furniture in the house. This is more of a safety measure for your deposit than your own things.

It’s standard practice for letting agents to make you check the inventory list but if you have a private landlord, it’s useful to do it anyway and send a copy to them.

This way there can’t be any disputes when you move out. Take photos of any existing damage as backup in case your landlord tries to make you foot the bill.

5. Ask for evidence

Cat on the stove

Ask for copies of all relevant safety certificates, like gas and electric.

If you don’t have these and an appliance causes damage that leads to a home insurance claim, your insurer might not accept the claim.

Keep documents like your insurance policies, copies of your tenancy agreement, safety certificates and inventory together in a file and in a safe place.

6. Mark your territory

Get a UV pen and write your name, postcode and other relevant details on your gadgets and expensive goodies.

This means that if you’re ever lucky enough to catch a thief you can easily prove what’s yours. It also means the police can give your things back if they’re recovered.

You could take it too far and write your name on all your tins of beans because you know that someone is eating your food, but that would be petty, right?

7. Bland is best

London street

Keeping up appearances with a bog-standard exterior might actually mean you’ll be spared from burglars.

Anything out of the ordinary might make yours seem like a student house, which are prime targets for burglary.

This means keeping the following out of the windows:

  • Life-size cardboard cut-outs of Han Solo.

  • Posters for every gig in the student union from now until Christmas.

  • Beer can pyramids – it’s a dead giveaway that you’re in a student house share.

8. Join the Neighbourhood Watch

Tic tac on the door

It may sound like an old cliché, but joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme could reduce your home insurance price and also ward off potential burglars.

If they see a sticker in the window suggesting everyone looks out for each other in the area, they might just think twice about breaking in.

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