Although we all do our best to avoid them, void periods are a fact of life and most landlords and letting agents will find themselves with a vacant rental property on their hands at one point or another.
If you find yourself with an empty property, it’s important to keep it safe and secure. We’ve got some advice on how to protect vacant property and keep it in good condition until your next tenant comes along.
From security solutions to regular inspections, keep your property safe with these tips.
How Long Can A Rental Property Be Vacant?
If your rental property is left vacant for an extended period of time, you will need to inform your insurer. How long this period is can vary from insurer to insurer, so make sure you read the small print in your contract.
Usually, when a rental property is left vacant the insurance will go up as it is considered to be more of a risk.
Vacant Rental Property: The Risks
With no one living in the property to take care of day-to-day maintenance and inform you if something goes wrong, vacant properties present more of a risk for landlords and letting agents.
Here are some of the potential issues you could come across;
- Leaks or water damage
- Electrical faults
- Structural damage
- Pest infestations
- Weather damage
Vacant Property Security: The Solutions
While these potential issues sound scary, there are several steps you can take to ensure your property remains safe and secure.
Secure Doors and Windows
It’s good practice to change the locks between tenancies to minimise the risk of unlawful occupation. Having secure doors and windows also helps to prevent theft or squatting.
The RLA recommends using five lever mortice locks for external timber doors or a multi-point locking system for PVC doors, as well as door chains.
Regular Property Maintenance
Regular property maintenance is vital throughout the year, whether your rental property is occupied or not. By keeping on top of maintenance tasks, when it comes to vacant buildings, there is a smaller chance of structural or internal damage.
The main tasks to address include;
- Exterior maintenance e.g. replacing missing roof tiles or clearing guttering
- Regular servicing of boilers, pipes
- Interior maintenance
Depending on how long the property is left vacant, it may be wise to switch off certain utilities such as the electrics to minimise the risk of fire. However, if you’re dealing with an empty building over the winter period, scheduling the heating to come on periodically can prevent mould growth.
Perhaps the most important measure you can take is to ensure all smoke and CO checks are up to date.
Installing Security Systems
Installing an alarm system or extra site security can discourage theft or vandalism to your property. Security services can include;
- 24 hour security cameras
- Alarm system
- Security lights
- Property security services
Alert the Neighbours
Having a quick chat with the neighbours or sending round a letter is a cost-effective way of protecting your investment. Asking the neighbours to act as property guardians and alert you if they spot any suspicious activity or leaks before they create permanent damage can save you time and money in the long run.
Take Advantage of PropTech
PropTech innovation has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and there are plenty of solutions out there to help landlords and letting agents protect their properties remotely. From leak detection to remote temperature control and live streaming- you’re sure to find an app to put your mind at ease.
Vacant Property Inspections
Vacant property inspections are vital for the protection and security of your property. Most insurance companies require vacant properties to be visited weekly or fortnightly to check for any security or management issues and ensure they are dealt with promptly.
Improve Your Marketing Materials
No landlord or letting agent wants a vacant rental property on their hands. To avoid this situation from occurring in the first place, it pays to invest in quality marketing materials.
We offer a 360 degree virtual property photography service to show off your property to a high standard, producing images for use in marketing and inventory reporting.
No Letting Go’s Vacant Property Protection Services
As experienced partners to landlords, letting agents and property professionals around the UK, we understand the importance of keeping your property safe and secure during void periods.
As part of our services, we offer essential vacant property inspections to check for any damage and arrange for swift repairs. Whether you are a landlord living overseas or a letting agency needing help with your portfolio, our dedicated clerks are on hand to help.
Discover the rest of our property inventory services here.