As a landlord, you should expect your property to be vacant every now and then. But leaving a vacant unit for too long may be detrimental to your investment. Vacancies expose your unit to harm and may become a liability as you accrue further costs.
At MN Property Nerds we believe it’s crucial for all landlords to understand the risks of leaving a property vacant. Risks like theft, squatters, leaks, and more. This is why we have put together the following article:
An unoccupied property is easily visible to thieves and other intruders. In this case, the property is likely to suffer harm or theft, especially if the house is well-furnished and has expensive décor.
Costly furniture can be attractive to thieves and it could result in huge losses for you if you have to replace these stolen items. Items such as copper and aluminum wires may also be a target for thieves as they are valuable.
There is also the threat of vandalism if the house is openly vacant. All types of vandalism are easy to execute on a vacant property as there is no one inside the property who might stop. This too will weigh heavily on you as the landlord in terms of costs.
To avoid the risk of having your property robbed or vandalized, you can take precautionary measures that will keep your investment safe such as installing surveillance cameras, or smart locks. This way, it will be easy for you to observe all that is taking place on your property from your phone or computer.
Having vacant property may attract unwanted guests. These guests may jump at the opportunity of having a free house with no occupants. But this becomes an expense for you as, by definition, a squatter will live on your property without paying rent.
If you find a squatter, it is best to force them to leave early as after the statutory period expires, they could become the owners of the property by law.
You could deal with squatters by using adequate security measures such as installing surveillance cameras that help you notice unauthorized entry by strangers. Also, you should install an alarm system to enhance the security of your house.
If you do end up with a squatter you should also enlist a lawyer to help you in dealing with them. But you can also deal with this risk by regularly visiting your premises so that they do not look uninhabited by onlookers and potential thieves.
Another risk is that fires could break out. For instance, the heating systems accumulate dust over time resulting in fires that may damage furniture or the property as a whole. Some electrical appliances in the house can also overheat resulting in a fire as there are no occupants to regulate the electrical equipment found in the house.
Vacant property may also be easy targets for arson. Arsonists easily cause fires in unoccupied premises since their chances of being caught are small.
Maintaining and installing adequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is the best way to mitigate fire or smoke damage to your property. This may also be a legal requirement depending on the location of your property.
You can also improve your fire security by consistently visiting the rental property, checking its condition, and inspecting the house appliances.
Leaking water and mold may seem like a small risk, but they are hard to detect and their effects can be far-reaching.
Failure to report broken pipes or other leakages by the previous tenants may result in flooding of the property. It might soak your furnishings or damage any electrical wiring or other major appliances.
These leaks and water damage may also cause mold, which is another nightmare itself. Mold can cause massive damage to many materials in the house such as the wallpaper, carpet, drywall, ceiling board, and other structures in the rental unit. Mold can also render your property uninhabitable from a legal perspective.
You can prevent your property from being damaged by ensuring that your plumbing is drained. Also, you should conduct regular checks on the property to find out whether there are any leaking taps or pipes and have them repaired as quickly as possible to avoid the increasing extent of the damage.
You should also ensure that there is free air circulation in the house to reduce the risk of getting mold in the house. The humidity in the house should also be regulated.
Having vacant rental property has many risks for you as a landlord. It is not only a loss in terms of income as well as various risks such as theft, vandalism, fires, squatters, and water damage together with mold. Sadly, when any of these instances occur, they require huge costs to resolve.
On the bright side, there is a stress-free way to keep your unoccupied rental property safe. You can hire a property management company that will supervise your empty rental.
At MN Property Nerds, we are ready to help you minimize the risks that come with vacant rentals. With a well-seasoned property management team, we are well-equipped to deal with all property management tasks, from filling vacancies and communicating with tenants, to repairs and maintenance.