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    Hi, I live in a shared house with 5 other people. All of the rooms have locks installed that can only be used from the outside, but 3 of the rooms have had the locks disabled with this handle thingy. The landlord says that this is due to fire safety regulations. In the last three weeks two houses on our road have been burgled, one was just two doors down, so we really feel like we should be able to lock our rooms, even if it is with a combination lock or something. One bedroom is the downstairs front room which also has the front door in it, although it is never used (we access the house via a side gate to the garden and a back door), and is also marked as a fire escape. Do we have a case to request that the landlord re-enables the locks? We don't feel at all safe leaving any of our things in our rooms.

    Any advice would be appreciated
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    (Original post by Angus Young)
    Hi, I live in a shared house with 5 other people. All of the rooms have locks installed that can only be used from the outside, but 3 of the rooms have had the locks disabled with this handle thingy. The landlord says that this is due to fire safety regulations. In the last three weeks two houses on our road have been burgled, one was just two doors down, so we really feel like we should be able to lock our rooms, even if it is with a combination lock or something. One bedroom is the downstairs front room which also has the front door in it, although it is never used (we access the house via a side gate to the garden and a back door), and is also marked as a fire escape. Do we have a case to request that the landlord re-enables the locks? We don't feel at all safe leaving any of our things in our rooms.
    Did you not know this when you signed the lease?

    Locks on internal doors are only really likely to prevent casual theft by people in the house. Once a burglar is inside, an internal lock won't slow them down much. Another option would be to get a loud alarm on the doors.

    You could ask your local fire station for an inspection to get a professional opinion.
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    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    Did you not know this when you signed the lease?
    We did not.

    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    Locks on internal doors are only really likely to prevent casual theft by people in the house. Once a burglar is inside, an internal lock won't slow them down much. Another option would be to get a loud alarm on the doors.

    You could ask your local fire station for an inspection to get a professional opinion.
    This was not the case with the recent burglaries, the two rooms in that house with locks didn't get touched, whilst the ones without got turned upside down. We do have a house alarm although our landlord hasn't told us the zone settings, and the full set option isn't practical to use when one or more people are in, as the keypad is by the back door and would be set off as soon as anyone upstairs left their room.
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    (Original post by Angus Young)
    We did not.
    That's unfortunate.
    This was not the case with the recent burglaries, the two rooms in that house with locks didn't get touched, whilst the ones without got turned upside down. We do have a house alarm although our landlord hasn't told us the zone settings, and the full set option isn't practical to use when one or more people are in, as the keypad is by the back door and would be set off as soon as anyone upstairs left their room.
    I was thinking more of a stand-alone alarm on each unlocked door, with its own keypad inside. It's a lot of effort though. If you trust the people that you're sharing with, then I'd concentrate on making the external doors and windows as secure as possible.
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    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    That's unfortunate.
    It is, we were only showed which rooms were to be un-lockable when the landlord gave us our keys. If we had known this we definitely would have reconsidered choosing the property.

    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    I was thinking more of a stand-alone alarm on each unlocked door, with its own keypad inside. It's a lot of effort though.
    That does sound like a good idea, although I doubt that the landlord would be willing to pay for another alarm system, probably reasoning that he has already supplied one.

    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    If you trust the people that you're sharing with, then I'd concentrate on making the external doors and windows as secure as possible.
    The issue isn't with people living in the house, we are all in agreement that we need locks for intruders. My counter argument for the fire safety regulation would be that the rooms that are designated as fire exits could have combination locks where the combination is known by everyone in the house, and therefore would be accessible without a key in case of fire. I will look into getting this assessed by the local fire department. As for securing exterior doors and windows, the back door has a 2x3 ft pane of glass in it which seems like it could be easily broken, so I guess another option would be window alarms, which I know are relatively cheap.
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    (Original post by Angus Young)
    My counter argument for the fire safety regulation would be that the rooms that are designated as fire exits could have combination locks where the combination is known by everyone in the house, and therefore would be accessible without a key in case of fire.
    That won't work. I would not let my children live in a house like that.

    Getting out quickly in the event of a fire is potentially life-saving. Burglary, whilst nasty and disruptive, isn't usually life-threatening. My flat was broken into when I was young, and the insurance company didn't behave well, so I do have some idea of how upsetting it can be. Burning to death would be worse
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    (Original post by RogerOxon)
    That won't work. I would not let my children live in a house like that.

    Getting out quickly in the event of a fire is potentially life-saving. Burglary, whilst nasty and disruptive, isn't usually life-threatening. My flat was broken into when I was young, and the insurance company didn't behave well, so I do have some idea of how upsetting it can be. Burning to death would be worse
    I agree that fire exits are definitely more important, although one of the rooms designated a fire escape is in the loft, and another is second floor, and so don't seem particularly suitable for making a quick and safe exit. The ground floor room being designated a fire escape does seem reasonable as it contains a door to the street, although this also makes it the first target for burglary.

    I have visited many student houses, and have yet to find a house (excluding the ones on this street) that do not allow all tenants to lock their rooms. Most contents insurance providers will not provide individual cover if the room cannot be locked, so no comfort there.
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    (Original post by Angus Young)
    I agree that fire exits are definitely more important, although one of the rooms designated a fire escape is in the loft, and another is second floor, and so don't seem particularly suitable for making a quick and safe exit. The ground floor room being designated a fire escape does seem reasonable as it contains a door to the street, although this also makes it the first target for burglary.

    I have visited many student houses, and have yet to find a house (excluding the ones on this street) that do not allow all tenants to lock their rooms. Most contents insurance providers will not provide individual cover if the room cannot be locked, so no comfort there.
    The student house I lived in during my second and third years of uni didn't have any inside locks.
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    As a landlord myself I would expect the external doors to have certain standard of locks fitted. The 'Yale' lock ought to be kitemarked and show standard BS3621.Mortice locks should be 5 lever ones (as opposed to cheap 3 lever ones) and should also have a similar British Standard mark.Your local police may have a crime prevention officer who could pop round and give advice on your situation, and the local council will have a section within their housing section that deals with private landlords and fire safety matters.
 
 
 
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