How to keep your second home in France secure
- Credit: Archant
Physical and technical deterrents as well as some local manpower can help keep you French property secure while you are away says Joe Wilson of LBV
Q: I am buying a second home in France, do you have any advice for keeping it secure when I am back in the UK? Are there any important checks or procedures I should carry out when I leave the property each time?
Joe Wilson of Les Bons Voisins (LBV), an extensive network of property managers in France, replies:
There is nothing worse than arriving at your holiday home after a long absence and seemingly longer journey, and having the excitement of being there turn cold when you see that your beloved property has been broken into and that the start to your well-deserved holiday is now marred by calls to insurance companies, clearing up and making the property secure again. Unfortunately, this can happen and those with second homes in remote locations are arguably more at risk. But there are various steps and measures, many of them very simple, that can be taken to help secure your property and persuade would-be burglars to try their chances elsewhere.
• Always ensure all doors, shutters, windows and locks are in good condition, are properly fitted and that locks are used each and every time you leave the property. Install a horizontal security bar that latches or locks to all ground floor shutters – this helps prevent them being forced open.
• Do not leave spare keys under rocks, pots, etc. If needed, correctly install a suitable combination lock key safe.
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• Do not leave tools, ladders or other such items in plain sight or unsecured as these could assist opportunists to gain entry to the property.
• Keep attractive items out of sight from prying eyes and cash, jewellery, important documents etc in a correctly fitted, fireproof safe.
• Install external motion-activated lighting, triggering a bright light to vulnerable areas after dark.
• Consider CCTV cameras and an alarm system that notify you/first responders when activated.
• Use timer devices to activate various internal lights and even the television at different times to imitate the property being occupied.
• Ideally employ a suitable company to maintain your property and garden, as well as conduct regular security checks. A visibly well-maintained property is less likely to be targeted.
• Inform trusted neighbours when you will be away and ask them to look out for any unusual activity.
The aim of security measures is to deter and delay intruders gaining access to your property by making it as difficult as possible so that they quickly move on to an easier, less protected property. Every time you leave your property, take a good and critical look around the full perimeter and put yourself into the mindset of the criminal – what looks attractive and how can I get to it? If you can significantly limit these factors, you are on the way to securing your property and ensuring your peace of mind while away from it.
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