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  • Vacant property management. Guide to protecting unoccupied property

    Vacant property management guide protecting property

    A large proportion of houses across the UK are left unoccupied for a number of different reasons therefore unfortunately leaving these properties open to the possibility of misuse, vandalism, unintentional damage or theft.

    Such vacant properties carry an increased risk of fire, deterioration or will be a prime target for criminal activity. Unfortunately standard home insurance will only normally cover you between 30-45 consecutive days of your property being vacant, so if your property is unoccupied for a period extending this time-frame you will need to consider unoccupied home insurance.

    Vacant property management is key to protecting your valuable asset, whether it be a residential home or commercial property, as there are many circumstances when your property may be left vacant. Some of the most common causes of leaving a residential home unoccupied include; unoccupied properties pending sale, unoccupied properties during renovation, unoccupied properties pending probate, or an extended period when landlords are looking for tenants between rental periods, which would not be covered by standard Landlord insurance.

    Vacant Property Management will help to reduce insurance premiums

    Insurance premiums for long-term unoccupied properties can be high unless those responsible can demonstrate a good level of vacant property management. We have put together a quick guide on how to protect your unoccupied home or business property, and in turn reduce your unoccupied home insurance premiums.

    Conducting an initial risk assessment and managing that risk is a key first step to vacant property management. It should not be forgotten that as a property owner you will have a ‘duty of care’ to anyone entering the building, including trespassers and the emergency services. If you are not available to regularly review the property then it is comforting to know there are providers out there who offer vacant property management services and you can outsource this responsibility.

    Responsibilities and tasks to manage your vacant property should include:

    • Informing your insurance providers immediately that the property is vacant and seek unoccupied insurance cover.
    • Conform to any unoccupied insurance requirements and keep a clear record of how you are complying with any terms.
    • Seek the cooperation of adjacent neighbours or business properties who can report any suspicious conduct, or perhaps arrange to park one of their cars on your drive whilst the property is unoccupied.
    • Turn off gas and electric that is not needed to maintain security systems. Water supplies should be drained and switched off.
    • Remove combustible materials or anything hazardous from harm’s way.
    • Remove or place out of view any attractive items of theft. Net curtains are a good consideration for homes, and be aware of removing anything that may help an intruder to climb walls or enter the premises.
    • Maintain the building and surroundings regularly. Some insurers may have specific requirements for any contractors that are used for commercial properties so you may need to check their credentials fit these requirements.
    • Either stop unwanted postal deliveries or arrange for post to be collected on a regular basis.
    • Consider if all openings or letterboxes need to be sealed to reduce risk of possible damage.
    • Consider intruder alarm systems.
    • Check or introduce perimeter fencing or gates.
    • CCTV could be installed for commercial properties or high value homes.
    • Windows and doors should be secured with adequate locks.
    • Calls can be forwarded to an alternative number as many thieves will try calling a home to assess if anyone is in the building.
    • Commercial properties may also wish to consider closing off any access to car parks, utilising anti-climbing paint, installing movement activated lighting, or even employing a security guard.
    Want to find out more about Bluedrop's unoccupied home insurance?
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