The team at Block in a Box provide some insights into keeping your home safe whilst you’re away for the holidays.

As many of us make our way across the country to join family and friends this festive season, thousands of homes will be left unattended. While the risk remains low, this does leave them open to fires, burst pipes and burglary.

Luckily there are many easy steps you can take before heading out the door that will reduce your risk and give you greater peace of mind; allowing you to focus on the task of celebrating and making happy memories.


While some of the below may be seem obvious, going away from home for any length of time can send many of us into a tailspin. There are bags to pack (including for children and babies which can seem like a monumental task!) as well as presents to wrap and sneak into cars, dogs to pack off to pet-sitters, medicine to remember…enough to keep anyone’s mind occupied!

So, here’s a handy checklist to make sure your home security is as it should be before you hit the road:

  • Lock doors and windows

An obvious one but a good place to start! Check all windows and doors systematically before you leave. If any locks are faulty or hinges seem weak, it’s best to upgrade these before the festive season if you can.

Don’t forget the garage door- this is often an entry point for thieves, and it slips many people’s minds. This is especially important if you hold valuable items there or if the garage affords access to the house.

  • Lights

If you can, set your lights on a timer to come on and turn off at appropriate times. If you don’t have a system that allows this, ask a trusted neighbour to pop in in the evenings to turn the front-facing lights on and to turn them off in the mornings.

  • Keep valuables out of sight and away from doors

It can be tempting to set the tree up in the bay window, surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts, but this serves as an advertisement to thieves. Keep the tree away from windows and don’t keep anything valuable close to exit/entry points. You don’t want to make it easy for them.

When it comes to smaller, valuable items, hide these in separate, non-obvious hiding places. Avoid the sock drawer!

  • Remove packaging from outside

If you’re going away after the big day, it can be easy to leave the packaging for valuable gifts visible outside as the recycling bin overflows. Make sure you move obvious packaging out of sight to avoid advertising your possessions.

  • Tools, ladders and garden equipment

Lock all of the above away in the shed. If your shed isn’t secure, lock them in the house. Not only are the items valuable in their own right, they can also be used to gain access to the house.

  • Hidey keys

Resist this temptation at all costs! Never leave a spare key behind the flower pot, under the mat or in a shoe in the porch. Burglars know all the tricks and will always search for a key before trying to break in. Instead, leave a key with a trusted neighbour in case of emergency.

  • Christmas lights

Your house may be beautifully decorated, and you may want to keep the display lit at night to make it less obvious that you’re gone. An excellent point, but make sure your lights are battery powered. Leads running through windows or doors afford a burglar the perfect opportunity to gain entry.

  • Alarms and video doorbells

If you have an alarm, make sure it’s set! If you don’t, consider getting one if you can. Even a dummy alarm can scare off potential thieves. Many of us now have video doorbells which alert us to visitors and can record video of events if we want them to- consider this option and use all available functionality while you’re away, including speaking to anyone at the door. You can simply tell a stranger at the door that you’re in the back garden or bathroom and can’t get to the door.

  • Security lights

A well-lit driveway will deter most thieves. They don’t want to be caught on your doorbell camera or anyone else’s- and they don’t want to be confronted by neighbours. Make sure the sensors and any solar panels are clean.

  • Keep it to yourself

Tempting as it is to post a status about your exciting holiday plans, or to check in at restaurants and events…don’t. You never know who may see your posts and it could act as an announcement that your house is empty. The same goes for posting photos of your adventures- save them for when you get home.

  • For lengthy holidays

Add these to your trusty neighbour’s list if you’re going away for an extended period of time: ask them to park on your driveway if they can, to pick up your post and to pop your wheely bins in and out at the right time, even if they’re empty.

You should also cancel any regular deliveries such as milk or newspapers but allow any regular maintenance to continue (such as cleaners or gardeners). They can continue to let themselves in as usual and make the house seem lived in. Consider booking a gardener if you don’t already have one. They can keep on top of any visible lawns while you’re gone too.

If you don’t have a neighbour who can pick up your post, the Royal Mail provide a ‘Keepsafe’ service whereby they hold onto your posts for up to 100 days and deliver it to you once you’re home.


Before you go away, take the time to check your current policies against the circumstances you’re planning. You may need to pay a small amount for a slight upgrade to make sure you’re covered- a small price to pay versus the cost of a rejected claim.

Check your level of cover for contents and possessions is accurate and up to date. Also check for any exclusions in the policy which could render a claim void if you’re away for over a certain amount of days etc. Giving someone access to the house (pet sitters, that friendly neighbour we keep mentioning, or your cleaner etc), may also influence your policy.


The usual threats of winter temperatures continue while you’re away- preparing your house for anything that could occur while you’re gone could save you’re a lots of time, money and heartache.

  • Plugs

This is a quick, easy preventative measure. Turn off all plugs apart from your fridge/freezer. Doing so reduces your fire risk and the risk to your appliances should your home experience any flooding.

  • Frozen pipe prevention

Temperatures may plummet in your absence. Reduce your risk of burst pipes and flooding by making sure pipes are well insulated and checked pipes for any obvious signs of damage before you leave. Ask whoever will be keeping an eye on things to let you know if they see any signs of damage while you’re away. Make them aware of where the stop cock is too!

You should also replace any faulty washers (as dripping taps can freeze and block pipes) and set your boiler to keep a suitable temperature throughout your home while you’re gone. This will keep water flowing freely and prevent any damp setting in.

Hopefully that’s given you some food for thought. We also hope you have a fantastic holiday season whether you’re at home or away.

Block in a Box not only provides information on how to protect your block of flats against emergencies over winter. We can also help with utilities, repairs, insurance, health and safety, and just about any other issue a flat owner or manager might face. To learn more about leasehold management companies or freehold management companies, contact our friendly and professional team today on 0333 0154 145.