A standard insurance policy for an unoccupied rental property will provide you with cover for three months, after which time you are seriously at risk. Here we have a look at the reasons why properties are left vacant and what you should do to protect yourself.
When a property is left unoccupied, the chances of being the victim of a crime or experiencing unwanted accidents increases dramatically. Thieves are always on the lookout for vacant properties, as there is nobody about to stop them gaining access and taking anything of value. Furthermore, if your rental property is empty, there will be no one around to spot a water or gas leak, which could be catastrophic and expensive to fix.
Find a good policy
Making sure your property is well insured at all times is really important. Finding a good policy which is right for you will take some time, as there are lots of options out there. You want to have peace of mind that you have proper cover against storm damage, the effects of a possible flood and the potential of fire. It is staggering how many unoccupied properties there are – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/200000-homes-sitting-empty-england-worth-total-43bn/.
Empty rental properties are popular with squatters, particularly in built-up areas. If you don’t have the right protection and your property is occupied by squatters, the legal costs can be considerable, not to mention the time it takes to free up your investment. Use good property inventory software to list contents.
What is not covered
Make sure you take proper precautions when your property is vacant, First and foremost, don’t leave the place unprotected as this will affect your cover. Make sure all doors and windows are locked securely and make sure you use property inventory software, for example, inventorybase.co.uk. If you are having major works were done, such as an extension or roof repairs, always use a reputable contractor who, if anything goes wrong, will have their own insurers.
Who is unoccupied insurance for?
There are all sorts of reasons why a property may be empty for a period of time. If you are a landlord, it may take time to find a new tenant when a tenancy expires, for example. Probate on the death of a relative sometimes takes months to come through, and renovation work can take time too.