An empty property not only impacts earning ability, but left unoccupied and unkempt, can seriously affect the value of the asset too. It is in a landlord’s best interest to continue to maintain a vacant property, to minimise the risk of damage and to secure future rental income.
So, what are the risks landlords will face when a property is empty between tenants? The first issue which must be addressed is the increased risk of vandalism, burglary and squatters. Even empty properties still have valuable items such as copper piping, plumbing or domestic appliances. There are preventative measures that landlords can take to limit the chance of their investment being targeted by criminals:
- If the property will only be empty for a short period of time, use of timed lights can deter any opportunist thieves.
- If the property is likely to be empty for a longer period then it’s recommended that windows and doors are boarded up to prevent burglars and squatters gaining entry.
- Keep gardens and outside areas well maintained – an untidy garden is a sure sign of a vacant house.
- Visit regularly to keep an eye on the property and move any mail that may have built up.
Single properties are relatively straightforward to maintain, but as the size of the asset increases, so does the complexities when left unoccupied. At times, larger properties such as a block of flats or commercial office premises, can become vacant for reasons out of a landlord or tenants control.
Following the devastating fire that destroyed Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey residential tower block in North Kensington, the impact has resounded throughout the country. Cladding tests have been performed on similar buildings and at the time of writing (10th July 2017) 181 high-rise buildings from 51 local authorities had failed tests as samples were found to have combustible material. This has led to hundreds of residents being evacuated from their homes in North London after fire inspectors confirmed that five tower blocks were at risk following the Grenfell Tower blaze.
Although the safety of tenants is paramount, empty properties on this scale inevitably result in stress and reduced income for landlords.
How Miles Smith can help you
Many landlords will encounter difficulties when insuring properties which are unoccupied longer than 30 days. Some landlord insurance policies may incur changes after this time leaving the property vulnerable, and the landlord liable for any damages. We provide insurance cover for properties that are vacant meaning that landlords have one less thing to worry about.