Protecting Your Property When Tenants Are Away
Like all of us, your tenants will no doubt be in need of a holiday at some point during the year. And, if their holiday falls when they are renting your property they you may understandably be a little concerned. After all, if the property is going to be empty for two or three weeks, won’t that be like a magnet to burglars?
The answer to that is “yes.” And it is why you should consider installing a burglar alarm in your buy to let. Failing that, at least get an alarm box you can put on the outside and which, for all intents and purposes, looks part of an elaborate alarm system.
It’s not unfair of you to ask your tenants to let you know if they plan to take any extended vacations (so you can keep an eye on the property). In fact, some Tenancy Agreements (most Short Assured Tenancy leases, in fact) have a clause in them, which states this. That’s not because you are being nosey – it suits everyone, since the tenants will no doubt have property they want to keep within the property.
Don’t Get the Neighbours Alarmed
If you have gone to the bother to get a burglar alarm fitted in your property then make sure your tenants give you the code before they leave. That way the neighbours will still be speaking to them when they return since, if it goes off, you will be able to switch it off again.
Shine Some Light on the Subject
These days there are excellent timer lights on the market which come on at a certain time every night to make it look as if the property is occupied.
Don’t Be Pilloried by Post
Ask your tenants to speak to their neighbours (or you do it) about post sticking out the letter box. This is like an advert to potential burglars. Could the neighbours simply pop the post all the way through the letter box? Also, perhaps they could take the bins out and in at the same time as their own, making it look as if their neighbours are still there? Little routines like this really do matter by giving the illusion the property is being lived in.
If your tenants get on really well with the neighbours then perhaps they could even provide them with a spare key to allow them to check the property is ok?
Insure All is Well
As a landlord with a buy to let mortgage you will already have buildings insurance for the property. It is not, however, your responsibility to get contents insurance. This is up to the renters themselves and means that if the property is broken in to and their belongings stolen, then they will be compensated financially to allow them to replace what is missing.
You may also need to tell your own insurance company that your buy to let property is empty for a certain length of time. Failure to do so could invalidate your own insurance – and which is something you definitely want to avoid happening.
Being a landlord isn’t just a case of handing over the keys and inspecting the property now and again. There is also the issue of holidays and an empty flat as a result. It is both your and your tenants’ responsibility to ensure that the flat is still safe ie isn’t broken into.
Not only does this mean both parties will avoid a lot of hassle and financial expense, but everyone will be able to sleep better in the meantime. And, anyway, who wants to go on holiday and have a little niggle at the back of their mind over whether they did actually shut the bathroom window they left?
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February 12, 2021
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