What Are the Risks of Leaving a Property Vacant?
Although it may not be possible to have your renter property occupied all the time, your goal should be to always keep your property engaged. The reasons for this go beyond rent income lost. There are other pertinent issues you should be aware of.
Before anything else, it should be noted that there is a huge difference between a vacant property and the one that has been abandoned. If a property is abandoned, it will soon become deteriorated and starts to constitute a potential danger source for the neighborhood. A vacant property, on the other hand, still enjoys attention from the owner in terms of maintenance.
However, the fact that you maintain your vacant property is not enough reason for you to keep it vacant. This is because you may not be able to secure a homeowner’s insurance for the vacant property, and if you do, the price may be too high.
Why? The reason is simple. Vacant properties are open invitation for theft, vandalism, water damage, fire, and squatters. Locking up the property or putting it in the care of a neighbor is not sufficient to prevent any of the unfortunate situations listed above.
“Vacant properties are subject to theft, vandalism, water damage, fire, and squatters”
Sometimes, people may need to keep their properties vacant for some good reasons. For instance, in the United States, some homeowners keep their properties empty and in perfect condition too, only to be sold or converted later to get out from under rent control. However, the obvious reason for most vacant properties we see is that the landlords are between tenants.
Whatever your reason may be, we recommend that if you have vacant property, you should take proactive steps that will help you to minimize potential problems that may come from leaving it vacant.
1. Theft and Vandalism
Chances are you’re thinking there is nothing to steal on a vacant property. Think again! These days, mischievous people burgle into vacant properties to steal copper from wiring and air conditioning units causing severe damages to the equipment. They can also steal appliances or cause some random damages just for the fun of it.
What you do
If you have a vacant property, you should install a home security system on it so you can monitor it remotely. In addition, you can install motion and timed lights for the exterior and timed lights for the interior to make it seem like some is living on the property.
A vacant home that is not properly secured is an invitation to squatters. The best thing to do is to remove squatters as soon as you discovered them. Sometime it may not be easy to remove squatters, especially if they have landlord-tenant rights as holdover tenants. You may have to fight it out in court.
What you do
The home security system discussed above can also be used to detect squatters. The earlier you send them out of your property, the better.
3. Water damage
If you don’t pay frequent visit to your vacant property, water damage can occur without you being aware of it. Most of the damages to water pipes happen during the winter season due to the expansion and contraction often cause by continuous freezing and unfreezing of the water pipes. The same situation may also affect the hot water heater. These damages can lead to serious flooding and damages to other equipment if not discovered on time.
What you do
In order to avoid water damage, it is advisable to turn off your heating system completely and drain your plumbing. Alternatively, you can put on your thermostat and set it not to go below 55 degrees. If it is during the summer months, set your AC not to go above 85 degrees. By doing this, you can prevent the growing of mold.
One frequent problem with vacant properties is fire outbreak, which may be as result of a heating system not properly maintained. Sometimes it could be accidents happening to intruders of vacant properties.
What you do
As describe earlier, use your security system to monitor intruders or incidences of arson.
Consider Hiring a Property Management Company
If you know you won’t have the time to take to all the above precautions, we recommend that you engage us at DoryAngel Property Managers to help you do the monitoring. We are always ready to inspect your properties on a regular basis.
The bottom line
If you have your way, you should make sure all your renter properties are occupied. However, if any of your properties remain vacant, you may want to consider some of the safety and precautionary measures provided above but choosing DoryAngel Property Managers to manage your properties will be the best decision to make.