It is well documented that empty properties are far more susceptible to damage than lived in family homes, both through natural causes and the actions of vandals. By following our 6 simple steps below, the risk of this happening can be substantially decreased, giving you complete peace of mind that your unoccupied property is as protected as possible.
Clear the post
Having letters and promotional flyers hanging out of your letterbox, as well as piled up around your door, is a telltale sign that nobody is living at the property. More than this though, it can make it obvious that nobody is even visiting with any frequency. This obviously makes the property a much more appealing target for thieves looking for an easy break-in.
Maintain your gardens
Another giveaway that a property is long-term unoccupied is a wild and overgrown garden. This is less of a problem over the winter when not much is growing, but during the summer months it is vital that you dedicate a certain amount of time to keeping your property exterior presentable. Mow the lawn, cut back any overhanging foliage and remove any dead plants and flowers to make sure your property looks loved and cared for.
Check your doors and windows
As there will not be someone at the property for a lot of the time, you need to make sure that the best quality locks are fitted to your doors and windows to make it far more difficult to access your home illegally. You could even consider adding multi-locking deadbolts to the main access doors to provide additional security. When checking the property, make sure that all locks are in good working order and there are no signs that somebody has been trying to gain access.
Consider extra measures
Where budget allows, installing a burglar alarm can be an excellent deterrent, particularly if you invest in a system that is fully monitored by an external company. CCTV cameras can have a similar effect, as can motion sensor lights at key points around the property’s exterior. If it is impossible to access doors and windows without triggering one of these systems, it is far less likely that thieves will choose to target your property.
Ask your neighbours for help
If you have a trusted neighbour or friend who lives close to the empty property it is advisable to ask them to check in periodically. Not only will this make the property look more lived in, it also means that any damage will be picked up when it first starts and before it develops into a large problem (for example a small drip that turns into a massive leak over time). On top of this, such checks will often be a stipulation of your home insurance policy, making them a vital occurrence.
6 Maintain the property exterior
Similarly to maintaining the garden, keeping the exterior of a property looking fresh helps to keep it safe from damage. Repairing any areas of flaking paint or rotten woodwork helps to keep the property looking its best, as well as preventing any expensive damage from taking hold. This is particularly important if the property has an area that is particularly susceptible to damage, such as a flat roof. The property’s neighbours will also thank you, as an obviously empty property in a poor state of repair has been proven to bring down the value of neighbouring houses.