There are likely to be times when your rental property is unoccupied. Landlords might experience a void period due to maintenance work being done on the property. Or there might simply be a gap between new tenants moving in after the previous ones have left.
It’s important that during these periods you consider how to keep your investment safe. To help provide you with some ideas, we’ve put together the following unoccupied property security tips:
Inspect the empty property
Whenever you get the chance you might want to inspect the property, even if it’s just for peace of mind. The longer an issue goes unnoticed, the worse it can become. Each property will have different needs, so we hope to get you thinking about yours.
Check every lock
Inspect the locks on all windows, doors leading into the house, garages, and sheds. Even if the doors look shut and there are no obvious signs of a break-in, take a closer look. If you see signs of scratches or the lock is coming away from the door, then you may want to consider replacing it.
This might seem obvious, but it is vital to make sure you have locked up properly. Make it part of your routine to ask yourself whether you remember checking all locks are secure before leaving the property.
Maintain burglar alarms
If you have installed a burglar alarm, be sure to check it is still functioning properly. It may make all the difference if someone attempts to break in and can deter those who are tempted to try.
Review any CCTV footage
If you have cameras installed, take a look at the footage whenever you get the chance. Even if you haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary, you never know what might have been caught on camera. For example, a potential burglar might have stopped by to check the locks and look through windows for valuables. Any potential animal pest problems might also be caught on camera.
Technology has come a long way in recent years, to the point where we can view footage live on our smartphones. Smart doorbells with two-way audio are also popular options. When someone rings it, you can answer from your phone, wherever your location, as though you were actually home.
Deter any unwanted visitors
One major problem with having an unoccupied property is that it could fall victim to a burglary. There are certain methods that might help to prevent this.
Leave the lights on
Leaving a couple of lights on can help to give the impression that someone is home. If you aren’t able to visit the property often, consider setting up a system for having the lights on a timer. You could even invest in smart bulbs, which can be controlled remotely by an app on your phone.
Don’t leave obvious signs that the house is unoccupied
One factor to consider is the build-up of post if you don’t get it redirected. Having it pile up on the floor by the letterbox could indicate that no one is living there. Temporarily sealing the letterbox and installing an external postbox with a lock and key could also help.
A parked car on the driveway gives the impression that someone is home. Consider inviting neighbours to use your driveway for their own cars if it is currently unoccupied.
Obtain suitable protection for your unoccupied property
Looking for insurance to protect an empty property can be difficult, as unoccupied homes can present more of a risk to insurers than ones that are lived in.
Check with your current provider about whether the existing insurance will cover a period of unoccupancy. It is possible that the level of protection included in this policy will be restricted if the property is unoccupied for too long. It is a good idea to get in touch with them or check your policy documents to avoid being caught out.
If you would like to know more about the covers included as part of our Unoccupied Property Insurance, visit our dedicated page: www.justlandlords.co.uk/unoccupiedinsurance.
As we said earlier in the article, each property can have different needs, so the steps you take should not be limited to our suggestions. However, we hope you find that our unoccupied property security tips help with keeping your empty home safe.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in the above article are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The author disclaims any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.