There is a good chance at some point during the year that your tenants may head off for a much-needed break, leaving your property empty, and potentially vulnerable.
The below will help ensure that your property remains protected while your tenants are away.
Most burglaries take place when nobody’s home, so it is important to make sure the property appears to be occupied.
There are a few simple tricks for doing this, including setting timers on internal lights and investing in a television simulator light. These can act as visual deterrents by making thieves think someone is at home.
Ask your tenant to cancel regular deliveries, such as newspapers and if they plan to be away for a while, they may want to consider having post temporarily redirected so it’s not stacking up behind the door – particularly if it has a glass panel.
If you don’t live near to your investment property, good neighbours can be a valuable asset. Asking them to put the dustbin out on the appropriate day, or if they have a key, to open and close the curtains on a daily basis can help to create the illusion that someone is home.
The majority of burglaries aren’t pre-planned, so make sure there’s nothing left on display to tempt an opportunist thief. Always ask your tenant to store away valuable items, such as jewellery and electronic items, and to never leave money or important documents lying around. Blinds can help to reduce visibility, if your rental property doesn’t currently have them, consider fitting them, particularly on the ground floor windows.
If the property has an alarm system, make sure your tenant knows how to use it and that it is set before they leave. It’s also a good idea to ask them to provide you with the security code so the property can still be entered in an emergency – they can always change the code when they return.
Window security is often overlooked but there are several types of window alarms that you can fit which detect and sound when a window is opened or broken. Just by having these visible from the outside can help to deter thieves from trying to enter, as it indicates that the rest of the house is probably quite secure.
Well-lit areas are generally off-putting to would-be intruders so make sure the outside of the property is suitably lit. Security lights should be in full working order, with timers or motion sensors and double check that the nearest streetlights are working too.
It goes without saying, but you would be surprised to find that many people forget to lock their doors before going on holiday. Remind your tenant that they need to lock all external entry points, including doors and windows, and shut internal doors too. If the property has gates, a shed or a garage, ask tenants to lock these too, to prevent access to the premises.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure all locks are fit for purpose, your tenant has a copy of the keys, and they are aware that they are expected to use them.
Before your tenant heads off on vacation, it’s wise to ask for their permission to enter the property in their absence. This can be useful in order to make sure everything is in working order and to troubleshoot maintenance issues, such as potential leaks. Even a small drip can cause a lot of damage if left undetected for a long period of time.
It’s important that your tenant is selective in who they tell about their forth-coming trip, particularly when it comes to social media. Posting pictures and updates about a holiday online advertises to tech-savvy burglars that no one is home.
If your property is going to be empty for an extended period of time, your insurance company may need to be informed. Failing to do so could invalidate the policy, and any claims made could be affected. So, make sure to read your policy documents carefully – and don’t forget the small print!
If your tenant is going to be away for a long period of time and you would like additional advice, why not speak to your local ARLA Propertymark letting agent. They are experts in all things rental-related and will be able to give you the best tips to make sure your property is properly protected.
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