Skip to main content

BARRS Your security is our concern ®

Tel: 0207 736 7668

Customer Testimonials
Contact Us
Customer Charter
Home Security
Reason to change locks
Guide to Security
Locksmiths Service
Access control
Door Entry Systems
Home Security doors
Gates and Grilles
UPVC Door Locks
Yale Snap Resistant Cylin
Evva EPS System
Mul-T-Lock System
Gun Safes
Sentri Boxes
Map & Directions
Job Vacancies
Member Login
Site Map
how to use your Visonic

Two thirds of homeowners didn’t change the locks when they moved

20th January 2011

Many homeowners have no idea who has keys to their door.
Accept Cookies?
Provided by OpenGlobal E-commerce

3.4 million spare keys ‘hidden’ around people’s homes.People are putting themselves at increased risk of burglary by failing to change the locks when they move home, reveals new research by Direct Line. Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of people did not change the locks when they moved into their current property. Millions of Britons give out keys to their home to tradespeople, neighbours and family members without keeping track of how many they have given out and whether they are stored safely. Over 70 per cent of people leave spare keys with family members and 18 per cent keep a key at a friend’s house. Over one in five (22 per cent) people trust their neighbour with a key, while almost one in 20 people give out keys to tradespeople.

The research also reveals that people still make simple security mistakes, despite investing huge sums in security lights, home CCTV systems and deadlocks. These errors include clinging onto the long-held tradition of keeping a spare key accessible in their garden or even under the doormat, a trend Direct Line has dubbed ‘the burglar’s gift.’ Over 3.4 million people (7 per cent) leave a spare door key concealed near their home. Many of their hiding places can be easily found in a matter of seconds, with the top hiding places identified as the garden (under plant pots or paving slabs), in a garage or shed and under the doormat.

Matt Owen, spokesperson at Direct Line commented: “Some people are giving out gold-plated invitations to burglars by failing to change the locks to their home when they move in, or by keeping a spare key in an unsecure place. It is important to keep a track of who holds keys to your property, and if they are left with friends and neighbours, that they are not clearly labelled with your address. If a burglar breaks into a home and finds keys for a nearby property clearly labelled with the address it makes their criminal pursuits even easier. We would recommend that all people moving into a new property change the locks and install a highly rated secure lock to maximise protection.”

Regional findings

Less than a quarter (22 per cent) of Scots changed the locks when they moved into their home, putting themselves at the highest risk of this type of burglary. Londoners are the most security conscious, with more than half purchasing new locks and bolts to ensure no previous resident or their contacts could enter their home simply by turning a key in the lock.

Percentage of householders that did not change the locks when they moved into their home:


Percentage of people that did not change the locks to their property when they moved into their home



Northern Ireland


West Midlands




North East


East Midlands


South East


Yorkshire & Humber


South West




North West