As a landlord, you’ve probably had a vacant unit. Depending on the state of the market, you may struggle to find another replacement tenant after your current one leaves. 

This is a very normal occurrence, but it’s crucial that you do everything you can to fill your vacancies as quickly as possible. A vacant property will lead to a loss of passive income and a gain of maintenance costs. What’s more, vacant units are susceptible to a number of risks. 

In this post, we are going over the risks that can happen if your property stays vacant for too long. You’ll also learn valuable tips to help keep your property safe.

Risks Associated with Vacant Rentals

1. Theft & Vandalism

A vacant property can have an increased risk of vandalism or theft. This is because there is no one around to keep an eye on the unit making it an easier target. 

Even if you’re unit doesn’t have any obvious valuables like TV’s or art, looters can potentially sneak out some of the following: 

  • Appliances
  • Air conditioning units
  • Expensive furnishing
  • Copper wires
  • Aluminum pipes
  • Antique pieces

There’s also a greater chance that your vacant units get vandalized. People may spray paint walls or add graffiti to your property’s exterior. All of which can be very costly to fix a resulting in longer vacancy periods.

protect home from break-ins

To guard against thieves and vandals, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Install a security system that can be programmed for remote monitoring
  • Ensure you have an alarm and security camera that works properly
  • Install timed lighting and motion sensors

2. Squatters

When you have a vacant unit, it may also attract squatters. This is especially true if your unit is noticeably vacant. Squatters can live in your unit rent-free. And, if they stay for long enough, they can gain rights and ownership over your property. This means it can become difficult and costly to remove them. 

Here are some tips to help you to deal with a squatter:

  • Install a security system. This will let you see your entire property and track squatters, even if you aren’t at the property. Ensure you have cameras in all over the property, not just in one area.
  • Get an alarm system for added security.
  • Visit the property to check for signs of someone staying in it.
  • Maintain the lawn and collect anything that may be delivered to the address to let passerby know that the property is being looked after. 

You should also familiarize yourself with the state’s squatting laws to better understand how to protect your property and investment. 

3. Fires

A vacant unit is more vulnerable to fires. This is because none of the property’s systems are being used. For instance, when heating systems aren’t maintained, they can accumulate dirt and dust. This can lead to an overheated motor system. 

fire safety in rental homes

What’s more, if there are squatters or vandals coming to the property they may leave behind lit candles or other combustibles which could result in property damage.

To mitigate the risk of fires be sure to inspect the property regularly to ensure that all systems are working as they should and hazards are removed. 

4. Water Damage & Mold

Water damage is one of the most expensive problems that can occur in your rental home. This can be caused by leaks and broken pipes. When you have a vacant rental property, leaks become hard to detect and can therefore go unnoticed for quite some time. So, water may begin to flood your home without you knowing.

Water damage can cause many issues with the walls, floors, carpets and can result in mold growth. Mold will grow when moisture gets inside the house. Mold presence can cause a health hazard and make your property uninhabitable.

Once again with regular and thorough inspections of the property, you’ll be able to detect issues before they become too large and very costly. 

How to Minimize the Risk of Leaving a Property Vacant

To protect yourself from the risks of a vacant property, here’s what you can do:

  • Use a home security system where you can monitor the property remotely.  
  • Install motion or timed lights both inside and outside the property to make it seem as though someone is living there.
  • Keep the lawn well-maintained so the rental doesn’t look vacant.
  • Prevent water damage and fires by shutting off the heating system and draining the plumbing.
  • Hire a property management company to help you find a new tenant quickly and monitor your vacancies on your behalf.

minimize risks in vacant properties

Hire a Property Management Company

While having a vacant rental property poses many risks, a great way to protect it is to hire a property management company. A qualified property manager will watch over your empty rental and ensure that everything is running smoothly.

At T-Square Properties, we can help you minimize the risk of theft, vandalism, and squatters, fire, water damage, and more. Thus, you won’t need to worry about your vacant rental causing you any costly problems.

We can also help you avoid vacancies altogether. Our property managers work hard to find you quality renters who will continuously renew their lease year after year. When renting to long-term tenants, you won’t need to worry about the risks that come with empty rental units!

Bottom Line

Are you dealing with a rental vacancy? If so, fill it as soon as possible! A vacant unit is vulnerable to risks like theft, squatters, vandalism, fires, and water damage. For help filling vacancies and protecting your investments contact an expert property manager.

For more information or to work with us, feel free to contact T-Square Properties today!

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