Reducing the risks of managing your empty property

If one of your properties becomes vacant, you take on the responsibility for an empty building or purchase a property which will not be occupied, here are some handy tips on minimising risks, keeping your property secure and reducing any additional costs.

1. Arrange vacant property insurance

You need to notify your insurers that the property has become empty to ensure you have sufficient cover in the unfortunate event of a claim.  Your insurer will be able to offer a bespoke policy to suit your requirements.

2. Change the locks

You don’t know how many sets of keys have been cut or who has a copy!  Ensure you have full control over your property and change the locks straight away.

3. Make sure all the windows are fully closed and locked

If windows have been put on the latch, help deter opportunists and make sure they’re closed properly.  If you have keys, make sure you lock them for extra protection and peace of mind.

4. Take photos of the property condition (inside and out)

In the event that a dispute arises about the condition of your property when it was vacated or a claim for personal items left by the previous occupier, photographs will provide evidence of the condition at the time you took over.  If you have a shed, garage or loft, make sure you take photos of these areas too.

5. Read all utility meters

You will be responsible for the utility services from day one.  Help to make sure the charges are accurate by taking meter reads (with photographs).  This will also help resolve any dispute should the former occupier give a meter read which does not match yours.

6. Check who your electric and gas is supplied by

The previous occupier may have switched the supply for a better tariff.  Remember too that for any commercial property, your water may no longer be with the regional supplier.

7. Switch off the electric, gas and water

Limit the risk of potential damage to your property by switching off these services as far as possible.  If you have an intruder alarm, all circuits with the exception of the alarm can be disabled.

8. Drain the water system

Certainly, during colder months, any water left in pipes can freeze and cause the pipes to burst.  Drain the water system (including toilets etc) to eliminate this risk.

9. Seal the letterbox

Whether it’s letters for the previous occupier or junk mail, anything that’s posted through the letterbox can pose a fire risk.

10. Remove and correctly dispose of anything which may be combustible

Tins of paint, cleaning products, old linen, wood, papers or anything which could catch fire if ignited needs to be taken out.  Remember this includes anything in the shed or garage.

If you need any specific advice on managing your property, please do not hesitate to contact our team on 01527 889180.