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4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

The Latchel Team
November 29, 2018
4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

You may not have your rental properties rented 100 percent of the time, but you ought to be looking to occupy them as fast as possible — and for more reasons than simply losing out on lease income.

An abandoned property fast becomes an eyesore from negligence and is terrible for the rest of the neighborhood values, while a vacant property could be well preserved by the owner or manager.

However, even in the event that you decide to keep your house vacant, it is not ideal for maintenance and upkeep. This may sound counterintuitive, since tenants often cause different forms of wear and tear. However, the risks of a vacant property far outweigh the benefits as we’ll show below.

Why Is It So Important to Keep Your Property Occupied?

Only locking up or requesting a neighbor to watch out is likely insufficient to protect against massive damages and risks that can happen. Let’s start with an example that Latchel recently had to address.

We had an emergency work order called in by a property manager on a vacant unit. A water heater began leaking because a rubber gasket was simply old and began to erode. Because the property was vacant, the property manager didn’t find the leak until serveral days later after massive amounts of money were needed for cleanup, remediation, and of course, fixing the water heater.

You might have good reason for keeping your house empty. New York City and San Francisco landlords are famous for leaving perfectly excellent apartments vacant so that they could convert or market them to escape from landlord laws.

Regardless of your motive for keeping a property vacant, you need to be aware of the dangers and how to minimize any problems.

4 Biggest Risks For Vacant Properties

1. Theft and Vandalism

You may not worry about thieving with a vacant house, but there is actually a lot of value that isn’t obvious. Burglars steal aluminum from pipes and ac components, and in doing this, cause a lot of harm. Additionally they steal appliances. Occasionally break-ins are only to cause mischief. Drawing graffiti and inducing arbitrary damage make for an enjoyable night for a number of people… apparently.

How To Protect Your Property

Install a house security system that lets you remotely monitor your premises. And while you are at it, then use movement and timed lights to the outside and timed lights to the inside. This makes it seem like somebody lives there. You might as well throw in some faux furniture while you’re at it. Styrofoam is cheap enough, right?

2. Squatters

All these people today figure that because nobody is residing at the home, they can take over.

The dilemma is that it may be hard to remove squatters. Certain city laws actually protect squatters! When they won’t depart, you have got an issue. Following that, you would most likely need to get the courts involved.

Back to that Security System

That house security system that you installed to prevent theft will even catch squatters.

3. Water damage

Water harm tends to take place in empty properties during winter when the pipes freeze and burst. Another issue is that the hot water heater can burst or leak, flooding the home. And if the home is empty, your water issue might be going on for a little while until you detect the damage.

How to protect against water damage

Switch off your heating, and drain your plumbing. Pipes can’t burst if there is no water in there to freeze. If you do not want to do so, keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 to keep things from freezing. You should also make sure the home doesn’t get too hot during humid, summer months to keep mold from growing.

4. Fire

Arson is a frequent issue with properties that are vacant. Or when not arson, injuries can occur from unwanted “guests,” lighting candles at a vacant house with no power. Fires may also break out from a heating system which isn’t maintained.

The Main Point

It is not ideal to have vacant rentals. However, in the event that you’ll have a vacant house, be sure to take care of it. Maintain the lawn, check the mailbox regularly to eliminate junk mail, and flip away outside faucets. Also stop by frequently and set up a security program or hire a property management company that is going to check for any kind of harm.

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