According to the most recent figures, nearly 4.5 million Brits live in flats; while this is the second lowest rate of apartment residency in Europe, this still accounts for around 15% of the population. All blocks of flats have basic security precautions in place; each flat within the block will, of course, have its own unique door lock, and the main entry door will have its own audio/video entry system or intercom. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need the additional protection that an intruder alarm can offer.
Why your flat would benefit from a burglar alarm
Communal entrance doors aren’t safe
The Metropolitan Police note that “[a] communal door is only effective if it is closed and secure”. Consequently, regardless of how secure the overall entry system is, there is still a significant chance of an unapproved intruder finding their way in if one of your neighbours neglects to close it properly or the lock mechanism itself malfunctions.
Even if the door to your own flat is extremely well-protected, the intruder is already inside the apartment block; without an alarm, they will have as much time as they need to work on getting the door to your personal flat open. Furthermore, once a criminal breaks into an apartment building, they will be less inclined to target a property which has visible evidence of a burglar alarm.
Ground floor or basement flats are a particular target for thieves
Ground floor or basement flats are 48% more likely to be burgled than the average home, as a result of the easier access intruders will have to these properties. As a result, a burglar alarm system for your flat will provide an extra layer of security to alert you in the event of an intruder.
Your insurance policy may require a burglar alarm
Policies vary from home to home, but many contents insurance policies necessitate that your flat has a burglar alarm installed, especially if your home is more at risk of burglary, such as in a neighbourhood with a high crime rate. Either way, in the event of a break-in, an alarm can ensure that your insurers give you as much of your claim as you are entitled to.
Consequently, those living in an apartment building should seriously consider an additional line of defence to protect their property, with burglar alarms as their number one priority. An alarm system for your flat may seem excessive at first thought, but it will ultimately provide your flat with the best protection possible.
Why it might not be so easy to install a burglar alarm for your flat
You need approval from your landlord
Depending on the terms of your leasehold, you will need to get the approval of your landlord to make even the smallest alterations to the property, such as having an alarm set up. Even if you own your flat outright, asking to make changes to common areas of the property, such as your door, will depend on the terms of your freehold agreement. Still, if any damage is incurred to your flat, it will be down to your landlord to cover the repairs, whether they agreed to a burglar alarm being installed or not.
You need approval from your council
If you live in a listed property, your landlord may be even less inclined to introduce new security measures, and will likely need to consult your local council.
A hardwired burglar alarm could involve some minor works to the property, which may be prohibited by your council. If this is the case, consult the BSIA for more information.
You want an alarm system that doesn’t require approval
There are a number of easy fit apartment alarms and DIY options which have entered the market in recent years. These are usually wireless, which means you won’t need to make any major structural changes to your flat and, as a result, are often advertised as simple to use and quick to install. However, these DIY wireless alarms for flats come with a multitude of their own problems; for example, you will need to position the motion sensors in the best place to detect intruders, which can be extremely difficult for novices to do correctly.
You might think a DIY option could be effective, but DIY security installation is risky business in any property. This is especially true if you are living in a block of flats. If you are given permission to make any significant changes yourself, the DIY security options are less effective than having an alarm system for your flat installed by a trained professional. Many security companies offer dummy alarm boxes or security cameras, which may seem like a cheap and easy way to deter intruders. Unfortunately, these have become so prevalent that burglars are able to tell the fake from the real thing, and have therefore become largely ineffective.
What is the best alarm system for my flat?
Generally speaking, wireless alarms are the best systems for flats, due to their minimal disruption to a property’s structure compared with wired alarms. At Banham, we offer professionally-installed wireless alarm systems; our trained security experts will conduct a survey of your flat, and recommend the best alarm system for your property. They will also be able to place the corresponding motion sensors in the ideal positions to detect any unexpected activity.
We also provide regular maintenance to the alarms within your flat, which ensures that they are working at full capacity at all times, and saves you worrying about issues such as sensors running out of battery. We also offer alarm monitoring from our remote Alarm Receiving Centre, where our security team are standing by to respond in person to any alarms which have been triggered.
With our free, zero-commitment survey and around-the-clock monitoring services, Banham should be your first port of call when it comes to looking for the best alarm system for your flat. Even if your landlord or freehold agreement prevents you from installing a burglar alarm, we can offer expert advice on the most suitable, secure alternatives for your property. Contact us today for more information.