Vacant properties can be a real challenge to manage, especially if you’re not prepared. If you’re responsible for managing vacant properties, there are five issues you need to be aware of and take steps to mitigate. These include vandalism, weather damage, squatters, pest infestations, and theft. Here is a breakdown of how you can handle each of these issues.
Vandalism of vacant properties has become an increasingly severe problem in cities such as London, with over 200 vacant premises estimated to be vandalized each month. To combat this, landlords and property managers must ensure their properties are secured with locks on doors and windows, motion-activated lights, and a perimeter fence. Additionally, investing in surveillance cameras can help deter would-be vandals from targeting empty premises.
Vandalism of vacant properties can range from graffiti on the walls to broken windows and more serious structural damage. The effects of vandalism on vacant properties can be significant. Vandalism not only harms the value of a property but also increases its cost to repair. Damage to walls, fixtures, and other components may require extensive repairs or replacement. In addition, it will likely take much longer for prospective tenants to want to rent such damaged property.
Theft is another issue landlords, and property managers must be aware of when dealing with vacant properties. Thieves often look for vacant properties, as these are easier targets than occupied premises. Ensure all doors and windows have locks to protect your vacant property from theft. Additionally, a security system can help prevent thieves from breaking into a property by activating an alarm if someone attempts to gain access without permission.
Another effective way to protect vacation homes or other seasonal properties is to install “dormant security systems.” These are systems that are activated when the property is empty and deactivated when it’s occupied. For example, a dormant security system can be set up to detect when someone enters the premises through a window or door and will activate an alarm if they do so without permission. This system deters theft and provides peace of mind while the property is unoccupied.
Vacant properties are particularly vulnerable to weather damage and can suffer from the wear and tear that come with harsh climates and extreme temperatures. This could include roof damage from storms or water leaks caused by frozen pipes in winter months. It’s essential to keep up with regular maintenance, such as cleaning gutters, repairing roofs, trimming trees and shrubs, etc., to reduce the risk of weather damage. Frequent inspections should also catch potential issues early on before they become significant problems.
Landlords should also consider investing in an emergency response plan for their properties that includes regularly scheduled maintenance inspections and emergency protocols for dealing with potential damages due to extreme weather conditions or power outages. Additionally, landlords or property managers should consider taking out insurance policies that cover the cost of any potential weather-related damage.
Squatters are also a significant threat to vacant properties. Squatting is illegal in the UK and can result in substantial fines for property owners if they fail to act quickly and appropriately. To prevent squatters from taking up residence on your property, it’s crucial to ensure that windows and doors are secure and locked at all times. Additionally, landlords should consider investing in an alarm system or surveillance cameras to monitor their premises for any suspicious activity.
In properties without a structure built, landlords should ensure that the land is adequately fenced off or enclosed and that potential settlers are removed immediately. This will help to reduce the chances of an unauthorized person taking up residence on the premises. Traveller removal services may also be an option for landlords dealing with persistent settlers who cannot be removed without legal action. Additionally, it may be beneficial for landlords to enter into short-term rental agreements before any long-term tenant takes possession of the property. This can provide further protection against squatters and other unwanted visitors.
Vacant properties can quickly become infested with pests such as rats and cockroaches if they remain unoccupied for long periods. To prevent this, landlords should ensure that all food sources (including pet food) are locked away and inaccessible. Additionally, landlords should take preventative measures such as sealing any entry points for pests, cleaning up clutter and debris, and regularly checking for any signs of infestation. Pest infestations in vacant properties can have costly long-term effects. If an infestation is not addressed quickly, it can spread throughout the premises and cause significant damage to the structure and fixtures of a property.
In extreme cases, these damages may require extensive repairs or even the replacement of damaged materials. Additionally, pest infestations also attract other pests, such as fleas, ticks, and birds which can further complicate the problem. This can make it more difficult for prospective tenants to want to rent a property that pest problems have plagued. Therefore, landlords should invest in preventative measures such as regular inspections by professional exterminators to ensure that any potential issues are caught early on before they become significant problems. Taking prompt action when dealing with pest infestations can help landlords avoid costly repairs and potential losses of long-term tenants.
Managing vacant properties can be difficult, but it can be manageable if you know what issues to watch out for and how to address them effectively when they arise. By securing your property from squatters, vandals, weather damage, and pests, you can ensure that your vacant property remains in good condition until it is rented out again.