Keys conundrum leaves home owners vulnerable

More than half of UK homebuyers (58%) did not change the locks when they purchased their property – meaning that they could not say for certain who has access to their home, according to research from Ocean Finance.

Ocean Finance’s research reveals that just one in three (30%) of us changed the locks on all exterior doors when we bought our property. A further 12% changed the locks on some of the exterior doors.

Ian Williams from Ocean Finance said: “Most, if not all, homeowners would say that securing their house was very important to them. So it’s really odd that we don’t take the basic precaution of changing the locks. We seem prepared to take it on trust that the vendors and estate agents have given us all the copies of the keys.”

Perhaps understandably, city dwellers seem less trusting, with almost half (48%) of them changing all the locks when they moved in. People from more rural communities such as Devon and Cornwall seem more relaxed, with over two thirds (70%) leaving the locks unchanged.

Young people (those under 25) seem significantly more likely to change the locks when they buy a home, with 54% changing some or all of them. By contrast, 41% of people over 65 said they did the same when they last moved.

Williams said: “For most people, buying a house is the largest purchase they’ll ever make. So spending a few extra pounds just for the peace of mind of knowing who has a key to it seems sensible. For those with a burglar alarm, changing the de-activation code would also be a wise precaution.”

Have your say on this story using the comment section below