With the summer approaching, your rental property might be left unoccupied while your tenants go travelling. So what do landlords need to consider when their tenants go on holiday? Here’s how to limit potential risks.
First of all, maintain a good relationship with your tenants, which includes appropriate and regular lines of communication. Encourage your tenants to let you know whenever they plan to be away from the property for more than a few days. Most rental agreements state that the landlord must be informed if the property is going to be empty for a fortnight or more.
Make sure the property is safe and secure, with door and window locks, and a working intruder alarm. Outdoor security lighting is an extra option worth considering for more secluded properties. Talk to your tenant and ensure that they know how to operate all security measures, and that they agree to use them before they leave. Most tenants will agree, of course, since this also protects their possessions.
Consider having a lettings agent assist you by checking in on the property whilst the tenants are away. This can be particularly useful if you are very busy, or if you live in a different town.
Be sure that your buildings insurance is up to the job. If you’re not sure, seek expert advice about insurance cover for landlords of rental properties. Does your cover take into account security measures like CCTV, external lights and intruder alarms? Have any of these changed since you took out buildings insurance? And do check the policy document as many insurance companies restrict cover on rental properties once they have been empty for an extended period of time (typically 30 days). In the event of a break in, fire or flood, what exactly are you covered for? Insurance for landlords is a complex area particularly when tenants are away from the property, or when the property is empty between one set of tenants leaving and the next ones moving in.
Finally, ask the tenants if you have their permission to enter the property including garden sheds and outhouses whilst they are away, should you have any legitimate concerns about a security breach, or potential lack of safety and security to doors, windows or the exterior of the building.