A rental property may become unoccupied at times. Whether it’s for a short period between leases or for a longer period, such as planned repairs that are simpler to complete without a tenant in place, the negative is that a vacant property is far more exposed. If there are water leaks or weather damage, it may go unseen until you visit the property again. If it’s clear that no one lives there, it might be targeted by vandals or squatters, both of which could require time and money to settle.
Here are some of our best rental property management tips for a vacant property.
If You Have A Vacant Property, Let Your Insurer Know
Many landlord insurance policies only cover a vacant property for up to 30 days, so you should talk to your insurance company as soon as you know your rental will be empty. If you don’t, and something happens that makes you need to file a claim, your policy could be cancelled.
Your insurance company will be able to tell you what you need to do to keep your policy valid. For example, they may tell you to turn off the gas and keep the heat on low during the colder months to prevent the pipes from freezing and keep the property free of mould. They can also tell you when you will need to switch to “unoccupied property insurance.” This may cost a little more, but if it gives you peace of mind that you’re safe, it’s well worth it.
Make Regular Security Checks
Your landlord insurance provider will probably want you to check on the property often while it’s empty, usually once a week, to make sure it’s still safe and in good shape.
So, when you get there, make sure all the doors and windows are locked and there are no signs that someone tried to get in. Check each room to make sure there’s no damp from the outside or a leak inside, and open the windows for a while to let the air circulate so the house doesn’t get stuffy (remembering to close them again properly before you leave).
If you can, put a couple of lamps inside on timers so they turn on and off at different times. If you don’t already have one, it’s also a good idea to install an outside motion sensor light on the exterior of your vacant property. Burglars and vandals don’t like it when it’s bright!
Make Sure The Vacant Property Is Clean
If the property is empty because it is between tenants, you might want to have a deep clean done by a professional to get rid of any surface mould, make sure all your fixtures shine, and give the property a new look and feel for viewings.
When tenants leave trash behind, it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible so it doesn’t attract illegal dumpers or become a fire hazard.