6 tips to keep your property safe and secure
With summer fast approaching, shouldn’t buy-to-let landlords prepare for their properties to be vacant? Your tenants will probably go on holiday this year. A vacant property is a target for vandals, burglars and squatters. They are more likely to suffer damage from adverse weather, too.
Savvy landlords make sure their property is protected while their tenants are on holiday. Here are six things you should be doing ahead of the summer break.
1. Speak to your tenants
Ask your tenants if they are going on holiday this year. Find out the dates they are away and remind them about their obligations. Make sure they are aware that your insurance doesn’t cover their belongings – they should make certain they have household contents insurance.
2. Beware of social media
People get excited about their holidays. It’s natural that they want to share the event with their friends. Many tenants post their holiday countdown on Facebook and Twitter. They post and tweet while they are sunning themselves on a beach hundreds of miles away. Do you really want thousands of people knowing that your property is vacant?
It might be wise to alert your tenants to the potential pitfalls of using social media to tell all their friends, and their friends’ friends, that they are going to be away.
3. Organise property inspections
It’s a good policy to inspect the property before your tenants leave and arrange for a property inspection while they are away. You must ask their permission to do this. If they don’t want you to enter their home while they are away, ask them if they have a trusted neighbour who could keep an eye on the property. Give the neighbour your contact details in case of an emergency.
If you inspect the property before the tenants go on holiday, pay great attention to door and window security. According to ONS crime statistics, 70% of burglars enter a property through a door and 30% through a window. Remind your tenants to lock all windows and doors before they leave – including gates, garages and sheds.
4. Suggest precautions
A property that looks occupied is less likely to be burgled or vandalised. Here are a few suggestions to give the impression that your property is occupied:
- Have someone put the dustbins out on the appropriate day
- Use a timed electric switch to turn lights on and off
- Ensure that the lawn is mowed
- Have the post redirected during the holiday
- Make sure that regular visitors (such as the ‘Avon lady’) don’t leave brochures hanging out of the letterbox
Suggest that your tenants close all internal doors, too. This will slow a fire should one occur while the tenant is away.
5. Employ burglar deterrents
Timed, automated lights are not the only deterrent against burglars. You might also consider providing motion sensor outside lighting and a burglar alarm.
If your rental property doesn’t currently have a burglar alarm or motion-sensor lights, consider installing these features to deter any thieves that target your investment.
6. Check your landlord insurance
You’ve explained the importance of the tenant having their own insurance. Don’t forget to check your landlord insurance. Make certain that the policy provides cover for the period that your property will be vacant. You may need to inform your policy provider – some policies have clauses that negate cover while a property is vacant.
Put it in the tenancy agreement!
It is always good practice to include holiday terms and conditions in the tenancy agreement. It is not unreasonable to ask tenants to take reasonable precautions, and most will – it is there home, after all. And who wants strangers in their home? Reminding a tenant of their obligations is a good landlord – and it shows you care about your tenants, too.
Finally, remember that people also go on holiday in the winter – when bad weather is more likely to cause damage to your property. If your tenants plan to be away from their home in the cold months, advise them to keep the heating on low to avoid frozen water pipes and flooding.
Oh, and don’t forget to wish your tenants a happy holiday.
If you use a professional and highly qualified property management service, you shouldn’t have any of the above hassle. To learn about effortless property management, contact Ezytrac today +44 0 1522 503 717.
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