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Top advice for students looking to rent a home.

WEST Midlands Police are issuing advice on security for students looking to rent houses from private landlords and letting agents.

January is traditionally the month when students start house-hunting for a private property to rent in September.

Often, students will not have rented a property before and do not know what to consider in terms of security and safety.

Police have written a housing checklist which they are issuing to students at housing fairs and through students' union advice centres. The checklist is also available to download at www.saferstudents.co.uk The checklist gives students a list of questions to ask landlords and items to check when viewing rental properties.

The checklist is broken down into sections covering the physical security of the property, fire, gas and electrical safety, the general state of repair of the property and a list of useful contacts for further advice.

Security advice includes:

Checking the rear security of the property.

Checking that the exit doors have at least a 5-lever thumb turn mortise lock.

Checking windows are in good repair.

Buying timer switches for lights and radios when they are out.

Property marking items with a home postcode using a UV pen and registering possessions on www.immobilise.com

Sergeant Jake Flanagan, student crime reduction officer, said: "Unfortunately, the chances of a student being burgled in the private rented sector is higher than when they are living in university accommodation.

"Every year burglary rates peak in the first academic term, so while September might seem a long way off, it is important that students consider security now so they can be protected later.

"The checklist gives some useful advice and guidance to assist them in this process."

CAPTION(S):

SECURITY CONSCIOUS... West Midlands Police are urging students to follow security advice - from theft prevention to fire, gas and electrical safety - as they look to rent houses from private landlords and letting agents.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 27, 2009
Words:319
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