As a landlord, you’ll probably experience periods of vacancy. This is a normal part of owning a rental property. Typically, vacancies can be the result of market trends, poor advertising, high rent rates, or a lease agreement coming to an end. Regardless of the cause, filling those vacancies as quickly as possible is best.
Having a vacant rental property leads to financial loss. Not only will you lose your passive income from rent, but you’ll also have to spend money to maintain the property in good shape. Vacant units are also susceptible to a number of risks, from theft to property damage. This post will dive into the risks of having a vacant property and how to keep your investment safe from these damages.
Risks of a Vacant Rental Property
In addition to the loss of passive income, having a vacant rental property leaves you vulnerable to plenty of risks. Below are the biggest ones you should look out for when your rental is empty:
Theft and Vandalism
A vacant property without a good security system is an easy target for robbers. Typically, these people look for appliances, expensive furniture, and antique pieces. But even if your house is completely empty, you can be a victim of theft as thieves can sometimes target building materials such as aluminum pipes, copper wires, and sinks.
Additionally, an empty house can become a meeting point for vandals. Often, vacant rentals can be at risk of graffiti and destruction of property, which can be very costly to fix.
A noticeably vacant unit can attract people looking for a place to live rent-free. You should pay special attention to squatters because, if they stay long enough, removing them from your property can become a big and costly legal challenge. This is because, after a certain duration of time, the squatter can gain rights to the property.
Water Damage and Mold
Frozen or broken pipes can cause costly damages to your property. So can leaks in the ceiling or opened windows that allow rain and moisture to enter the house. This is left unaddressed leading to mold presence.
Another risk of a vacant home is floods caused by leaking pipes. Sometimes leaks and water damage in vacant properties can go undetected for months since no one is present to use the systems or catch the issue. These issues make your property inhabitable and can cost you thousands of dollars to repair.
Unmonitored properties are vulnerable to fires from faulty electrical or run-down heating systems. Additionally, your vacant rental can be a victim of accidental or intentional fires. Without someone using the house's systems dust can collect and fire safety hazards can go unnoticed.
How to Fill Rental Vacancies
The most efficient way to minimize the risks of a vacant rental property is to ensure your investment is almost never empty. Below are some simple actions you can take to fill up your vacancy in between tenancies:
- Keep Existing Tenants Happy - Building a good relationship with your tenants will help you reduce turnover. You won’t have to worry about filling vacancies if your current tenants are happy to stay in your rental for longer.
- Market Your Property - Successfully advertising your rental will help you attract more prospective tenants and fill your vacancy quickly.
- Maintain Your Property - Making timely repairs and performing routine maintenance on your property will help you attract more potential renters. It can also help you catch issues before they become larger and most costly to repair.
- Make Your Property Attractive - Keeping up with market trends can help you upgrade your property and appeal to what tenants are looking for. For example, you can offer incentives, such as free parking or free wi-fi, to attract more potential renters.
- Charge the Right Rent - An excessively high rent price can scare prospective tenants. On the other hand, undercharging rent can attract the wrong type of renters. Consult with an expert to set accurate rent prices.
How to Effectively Protect a Vacant Rental
Unfortunately, vacancies are an unavoidable aspect of owning a rental property. The best way to minimize the risks of having a vacant rental unit is to have a plan in place.
Below are some simple things you can do to keep your vacant rental safe:
- Install a home security system so you can monitor the property remotely. This is excellent protection against theft, vandalism, and squatters.
- Invest in motion sensors and/ or timed lights to make it seem as though the property is inhabited.
- Keep the interior and exterior of the property clean. Accumulated dirt, trash, and overgrown grass are common signs of an unoccupied home.
- Remove valuables from the property to minimize theft.
- Keep neighbors in the know and ask them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
- Shut off the utilities. Additionally, turn off the heating and drain the plumbing to prevent water or fire damage.
- Perform property inspections on a regular basis.
- Seek a professional property management company that offers routine home inspections, maintenance, tenant screening, and rental advertising services.
Having no tenants for your rental property can greatly affect your finances. Additionally, a vacant rental is vulnerable to risks such as theft, squatters, vandalism, fires, and water damage. Now that you understand the gravity of these issues, you can plan ahead to keep your property safe in between tenancies.
If you have any more questions about the risks of having a vacant rental or are looking to hire a professional to manage your property, reach out to SCUDO Real Estate & Property Management!
At SCUDO, we always have your best interests and investments in mind. Our property management services include vacancy management, so you can rest assured that your rental will be well cared for at all times.