This month is Home Security Month, and as it’s starting to get darker much sooner on an evening, there’s never been a time like the present to ensure that you’re property is safe and secure.
Our Call of the Week this week focuses on security within the home, though.
A landlord called us this week, frantic over a recent call they had received from a female tenant. The tenant lived in a HMO, and was the model tenant-clean, well behaved and always paid her rent on time. She had been known to suffer with anxiety in the past and she did not deal well with confrontation.
The tenant had called the landlord to raise her suspicions regarding a new tenant that moved into the property a month earlier.
She was concerned that a number of valuable items had gone missing from the property shortly after this tenant had moved in.
She also suggested that the new tenant had been intimidating her and ‘creepy’. She was now considering moving out and had informed the landlord that the other women in the property were considering their options as well.
The landlord was keen to keep her old tenants, but also aware that it was very unlikely she would be able to remove the new tenant without any solid evidence against them.
She was also concerned about the missing valuables as a number of items in the property were provided by her. As such, she wondered if CCTV might be an option in this case and was keen for the RLA’s opinion on this.
We informed the landlord that it may be possible to have CCTV in the property but she needed to tread carefully.
As each tenant was renting a room in the property, the landlord could potentially put CCTV in the communal areas to monitor any criminal behaviour that may be occurring.
However, before the landlord could go ahead and do this we cautioned her that landlords should be aware of the Data Protection Act when installing CCTV, and that she should read ICO’s code of practice on this topic thoroughly before proceeding.
Application of the code of practice would also require an objective assessment of the impact on people’s privacy and whether it could be accomplished in a different manner. This should be done in line with the ICO guidance on performing a privacy impact assessment.
Satisfied with this, the landlord went off to read the necessary guidance so she could perform the assessment and help to protect her tenant’s security.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Manager said “This is a complicated topic and one that many landlords face. We’re always glad we can point people in the right direction so they can make an informed decision to protect their tenants.”
HMO management is one of the most difficult things to do as a landlord. Not only do they have to cope with increased responsibilities towards their tenants, they also have to cope with the different personalities in a house of strangers. It’s difficult enough at the best of times, never mind when there is a genuinely troubling tenant in the property.
The RLA offer courses on the Principles of HMO’s