Here are five checks we’d recommend are made whenever your property is empty – whether that’s because your tenant is away or you’ve got a void between tenancies:
- Insurance: how long can the property be left empty?
Your landlord insurance policy will have a clause that states how long the property can be vacant before the policy becomes invalid. Normally it’s 30 days, so if your tenant is just going on holiday for a week or two that should be fine, but it’s worth checking. If you know the property’s going to be empty for more than 30 days, contact your insurer so you can make the necessary arrangements for extending your cover.
At Your Move we can help provide standard landlord insurance, but also ‘non-standard’ insurance, for example, for unoccupied properties, especially if they are undergoing renovation, you are waiting for a sale, or in probate.
For more information visit our insurance pages
- Safety checks after your tenant leaves
It’s an awful feeling when you’re on holiday and suddenly wonder whether you switched everything off at home. So, your tenant will probably appreciate it if you tell them you’ll visit the property after they’ve left, just to make sure they haven’t left any appliances on and all the windows and doors are properly locked.
- What maintenance can be done?
Carrying out maintenance can be disruptive for your tenant, especially if it’s a bigger job, like redecorating or repairing the roof. So, as soon as you know your tenant is going to be away either you, or Your Move can organise an inspection, so that a list of jobs to complete can be drawn up and the necessary contractors can be booked, ahead of time. Doing the work while the property’s empty is much easier for everyone: you and any contractors can come and go without having to keep arranging access with the tenant, and they’ll return to a much improved home!
- Security: making the property look lived-in
Empty properties have the potential to attract burglars and squatters, so do what you can to make it look as though there’s someone living there. We’d suggest:
- Visit every 7-10 days
- Clear any post that’s piling up
- Move curtains and blinds around
For new or existing tenants (although you will need their permission) have timers on lamps in a couple of rooms, so the building isn’t completely in darkness at night and consider fitting a motion-activated security light outside.
- Inspect the property after bad weather
Although we get more sunshine in the summer, warmer weather can bring heavy thunderstorms – as we’ve seen in parts of the UK already this year. That can result in flooding and other potentially serious damage to property. So, if there’s a spell of bad weather and nobody’s currently staying in the property, it’s important to visit as soon as it’s safe to do so to make sure it hasn’t been affected. And remember that if there’s an emergency or a suspected emergency, you can enter the property without the tenant’s permission.
If you have any question about any of the above your local branch will be happy to help. You can search for your local Your Move branch here.