What can landlords do to address parcel theft?

Esme Fowler-Mason is a market consultant for UK & Ireland at MyPup, a green parcel consolidation and delivery service, helping to reduce parcel theft, decrease pollution in our cities, and provide a more sustainable delivery option for apartment buildings and offices across London.

In an era where online shopping has become the norm and doorstep deliveries are a routine occurrence, parcel theft has emerged as a formidable challenge impacting both tenants and landlords. Landlords are coming under pressure to ensure that their buildings are safe and receiving multiple complaints that draw on their time and resources. As parcel theft continues to increase, what sustainable solutions exist?

How big is the problem?

New research from MyPup shines a spotlight on the alarming rise of parcel theft in the UK, particularly in densely populated urban areas like London. Nearly half (45%) of private tenants living in London have been victims of parcel theft in the past five years, with one in five (19%) being affected in the past 12 months.

The prevalence of parcel theft is causing fear and frustration among tenants. A staggering one in four (26%) of those surveyed stated they are increasingly frustrated with parcel theft from their building, with three in ten (30%) now hesitant to have their online purchases delivered to their homes.

With tenants increasingly left disheartened and inconvenienced, and some incurring financial loss or feeling unsafe in their homes, landlords need to take swift action to curb this issue.

Addressing the impact on landlords

Landlords and property managers play a pivotal role in fostering a safe and secure living environment for their tenants. When parcels go missing and security concerns mount, the negative repercussions extend beyond mere inconvenience. Landlords often bear the brunt of the issue, as the time and effort required to address tenant grievances and investigate theft incidents can be a drain on their resources.

Only around 15 per cent of private tenants reported stolen parcels to a building manager or landlord, but complaints add up quickly. In London alone, MyPup estimates that landlords are receiving around 50,000 complaints each year from tenants – and as an issue affecting cities across the UK, it’s clear that this will be adding to the burden of managing properties for many property owners and landlords.

Esme Fowler-Mason

The responsibility of ensuring tenant safety falls largely on the shoulders of landlords, and their ability to rise to the occasion can significantly impact their properties’ reputation and desirability. A lack of robust security measures leads to lower resident satisfaction, and ultimately, creates issues with retention, leaving landlords with vacancies that are difficult to fill, especially with desirable tenants.

Improving safety and reducing the burden of tenants and landlords

Various innovative solutions, combining smart technology and urban logistics are emerging, giving building owners increasing choice on how to go about countering parcel theft effectively.

  1. Enhanced Security: One approach is to bolster security measures in the building premises. Implementing high-end surveillance systems and access controls can act as powerful deterrents against theft. However, security cameras are largely useful in getting evidence after the theft has taken place, and do not necessarily prevent it in the first instance.
  2. Concierge Services: Equipping buildings with knowledgeable and attentive concierge staff not only elevates the resident experience but also serves as an additional layer of security. Concierges and receptionists can oversee package deliveries, ensuring that parcels are received by the rightful recipients, thereby reducing the risk of theft.
  3. Parcel lockers: Smart parcel lockers are an innovative solution to the issue of parcel theft at a fraction of the cost of a security system or new personnel. Unmanned, secured units offer a safe place for delivered packages, accessible only by tenants using secure codes at a time that suits them. Three-quarters of respondents in our research stated they would be likely to use a parcel locker in their building for receiving online orders.

A growing number of property developers setting aside budget for parcel management systems, which reduce the window of vulnerability where parcels are most likely to be stolen. As well as saving time and hassle associated with dealing with complaints and vacancies, some solutions can also help buildings to become more sustainable.

Consolidating parcels destined for the same building and delivering them to parcel lockers in a single trip with carbon-neutral transport can slash emissions and keep them safe, killing two birds with one stone. In 2022 alone, MyPup reduced emissions of 81,994 kilos of carbon, and a number of buildings have even received points under the BREEAM certification for using our service.

Whatever solution landlords choose for keeping their tenants, and their parcels, safe it is clear that action does need to be taken. Parcel theft is only demanding increasing attention of landlords and property managers – and with mortgage rates increasing, vacancies are a luxury that few can afford.