Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

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Property vacancies can be distressing for landlords since they can lead to security issues for their investment property. The best thing to do is find potential tenants right away to avoid your rental home from sitting empty. Not only is your income interrupted by a vacant rental space, but you can also risk encountering property damage and trespassers on top of it.

Below are the common risks faced by landlords when their rental properties are unoccupied:

Squatter Issues

You might be surprised to find out if your empty rental unit has been taken over by squatters on your infrequent visits. Vacant rental homes appeal to the homeless since it’s rent-free and offers ready-to-use furnishings and home systems.

You might even learn that the squatters are also renting out your empty property to other homeless people, too. A squatter problem can become a headache if left unattended since under the law, squatters can gain rights after a certain period.

You may even spend a lot of time and money to get rid of them in your rental home. This can lead to legal battles that can become expensive to ensure that your property remains under your possession.

family with moving boxes

Resolution for Squatter Problems

The important thing to do when faced with squatters is to take action right away.

Consider these tips to avoid a squatter situation:

  • Install a solid security system that lets you track the presence of squatters in your vacant rental property. Position security cameras at the entry points to monitor if any squatter has entered your unit.
  • Pay a regular visit to your rental home and inspect the entire house thoroughly.
  • Set up an alarm to alert you of any intruders. It’s best to discover the presence of squatters at the outset so you can remove them as soon as possible.

Fire Risks

It's common knowledge that vacant rental properties are exposed to fire hazards. Without a resident to report any home system problems, it might be too late to spot any damage that needs emergency repairs.

Property inspections are critical since you need to keep up with the rental maintenance. However, with no occupants, this will be conducted rarely. If your empty rental unit attracts trespassers, it can be at risk for fire from intruders who recklessly smoke.

Check out these tips to prevent fires and trespassers in your rental space:

Drop By Your Vacant Property Often

If a property appears deserted, trespassers will want to spend time in it so if you want to leave no chances to trespassers, you should arrange visits regularly. You don’t want to risk having intruders casually smoking near or inside your empty rental space.

hardwood floors

Check the Security Camera Footage

Monitoring your security system is essential to spot if anyone is trespassing. Avoid having unwelcome guests inside your property. Take time to review the security footage to discover any trespassing incidents.

Prioritize Your Rental’s Exterior Upkeep

Maintain your curb appeal as if your rental home is filled by residents. Arrange to mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, clean up the dead leaves, and maintain the landscaping. Doing this helps to eliminate interested trespassers knowing that the rental unit is taken care of.

Mold & Water Damage

An empty rental unit can offer little ventilation. There might even be leaks that are not spotted which can contribute to a mold issue. This can place future tenants’ health at risk and can be an expensive issue to resolve.

If your rental home is in a flood zone area, the water damage can also become costly. It can lead to damaged floors, furniture, walls, and other home furnishings. With no renter residing in the unit, plumbing problems remain undetected.

living room furniture

Tips to Prevent Mold & Water Damage

Landlords can handle potential mold and water damage concerns by:

  • Draining the pipes to avoid frozen water that can result in leaking.
  • Inspecting the gutters often, especially after a storm to check if blockages occurred that block the normal direction of overflow. It can be easy for dead leaves and dirt to pile up on the gutter so periodic inspection is advisable to determine water overflows.
  • Properly ventilating the rental unit by turning on fans and opening windows. With excess moisture caused by humidity, mold can easily grow. But when your rental property has dry spaces, mold won’t grow and spread easily.

Theft & Vandalism

Aside from squatters and intruders, vacant rentals are also at risk for burglary and vandalism. Empty units can be accessed quickly and available valuable items at unoccupied rentals can encourage robbers to steal furniture, appliances, and even copper wires.

Another set of people that cause heavy property damage are vandals who get excited about spraying graffiti on the property. With no residents finding out about their presence, it can be difficult to trace their identity.

Tips to protect your rental property from thieves and vandals:

  • Invest in an excellent security system.
  • Hire a property management company to oversee their vacant rental units and maintain them on their behalf.
  • Set up alarm systems and motion sensors.
  • Play recorded sounds to drive intruders away. They can interpret these sounds coming from people residing inside the unit.
  • Collect mail. Strangers can detect a vacant rental home by seeing the pile of mail on the doorstep. Trespassers are encouraged by this site and may schedule a break-in to find some valuable items around the property.

Bottom Line

It’s a must for landlords to secure their vacant rental properties to continue reducing maintenance costs. But this might be challenging if you live far from your rental unit or your time is limited. You can always engage the services of a trusted property management company to perform your landlord tasks.

This way, your vacant rental is safe from the risks of fire, mold and water damage, squatters, vandals, and burglars. The best thing about partnering with a property manager is extra assistance in property marketing to find quality renters. If you’re looking for one, contact Evolve Real Estate & Property Management today!