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Photo: iStock/boggy22.

As the weather warms up, Australian rental property website Rent.com.au urges tenants to use common sense and security measures to reduce the chance of a holiday headache.

The festive/summer season leaves an influx of new (and often expensive) presents lying around in houses, which creates a key opportunity for opportunistic thieves to strike.

The typical Aussie lifestyle (we’re talking relaxing by the pool and boozy backyard parties) can make all homes a target for thieves.

We asked our customers (a sample of 1,300 renters) about security in their rental and were able to determine the following:

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People want to live in a safe suburb

The survey determined that a suburb’s safety and security was the number one priority. Some 28% of respondents said they’d had valuables stolen while renting, with the most common items stolen including cash, jewellery, audio equipment, bikes and cameras.

When asked about how safe they felt in their property, 77% of respondents said they felt safe in their current home, but 23% did not. Of the latter, 32% said they had proactively asked their landlord or property manager about improving the security in their home, but had either seen no follow-up (39%) or found the landlord/property manager was ‘unwilling to help’ (26%).

Adopt a back-to-basics approach to home security

Be wary of social media
With the advent of social media, people are quick to share pictures of their latest holiday ventures across their accounts – potentially alerting any opportunistic burglars to their absence. Be cautious about sharing if you have a huge network – most platforms are defaulting to overexposure unless your privacy settings are good. Better safe than sorry.

Cover your stuff with renter’s contents insurance
Could you live without your furniture, clothes, personal mobile or laptop or any of your stuff if something happened? If you’re renting a home in Australia (excluding the Northern Territory) and want to keep your personal possessions covered, you might want to consider taking out Renter’s Contents Insurance. It’s a low-cost insurance policy, designed with renters in mind. Read more about Renter’s Contents Insurance here.

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Keep valuables out of sight
Having a party with friends around? Keep your wallets, purses, mobile phones and handbags out of sight and secure, especially if the bulk of the crowd is gathering away from the front of the house. Keep gifts, cash and other valuables safe and well-hidden so they can’t be seen through windows or reached by burglars.

Properly dispose of all gift packaging
Have stacks of gift wrap and boxes everywhere? Don’t leave this outside on view for the world to see. This will advertise the contents of your home to thieves. Put this rubbish inside rubbish bags or take them directly to recycling depots. Where possible, don’t display gifts in your window or doorway.

Get to know your neighbours
It’s worth building a relationship with your neighbours if you’re planning to head away. Doing this will make sure someone knows you’re gone and when someone who shouldn’t be there arrives, they can help. Simply telling your neighbours that you’re going away (if you trust them) is a good idea.

Lock up your doors and windows
The summer months encourage outdoor activity, and with it comes the temptation to leave windows and doors open. Naturally, this is an open invitation for opportunistic burglars. These burglars perceive alcohol is likely to be consumed during the festive season and the chance of vigilance around security could be lowered.

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