Summer time is holiday time. Schools are off and most of us are ready and longing for a well-deserved get away, like a pupil awaiting the bell ring announcing the end of a school year. It’s also a good time to remember that an empty property is more vulnerable to theft and damage. So if you or your tenants are setting off on holiday it pays to take some precautions to ensure the property is safe.
Have I turned the iron off?
How many times after leaving your home have you wondered whether you locked the door or switched the cooker off? I’m sure you know this disturbing feeling… in a holiday frenzy something as obvious as locking the door can surprisingly easily slip off one’s mind, therefore, a good old school checklist might come in handy. Don’t forget to unplug appliances too to avoid any possibility of fire. Remember to also shut the windows and internal doors, as well as lock gates, sheds or garages if the property has any.
‘Honey I’m home’
What better way of keeping potential burglars away from a vacant property than making it look as if it is lived in? Simple tricks like setting timers on internal lights (that you can even sync to a control on your mobile and change times they come on from your remote location), can help keep trouble away. You can do the same with a radio… Don’t you just love technology!
It also might be an idea to have the post redirected (especially if the property is going to be empty for longer than usual) so that it doesn’t clutter behind the door as it could be a sign that nobody’s home.
Ring the alarm
Installing motion-sensor lights and a burglar alarm is worth investing in to ensure the property is well protected when tenants are absent. A well lit home that is equipped with an alarm is less likely to become a target for thieves. Just don’t forget to ensure that your tenants know how to use the alarm and remind them to set it before heading off.
Landlords keep a close eye…
While your tenants are away you may want to do regular checks for anomalies and potential sources of damage. Even a small issue or a fault can cause headaches and cost considerably more if left unattended for a longer period of time. Calling round regularly will also help in creating the illusion that the property is occupied. You can also put the dustbin out on the appropriate day, mow the lawn if it’s overgrown and if you live close enough you can even open and close the curtains every day or possibly get neighbours to do so. Just make sure you have your tenants’ consent before they are gone and if you rely on someone else’s help, ensure they know the security code so they don’t set off the alarm!
Check me out
In the social media era many of us like sharing our holiday plans with others and posting pictures and updates from our trips. A gentle reminder to your tenants that they may be putting their belongings and the home at risk if they don’t carefully chose who they share their holiday plans with, is worth considering. At the end of the day, they don’t want to attract thieves either.
Earlier in the year, three men committed a burglary on the Chelsea captain, John Terry’s mansion in Surrey, stealing £400,000 worth of designer goods, after the footballer posted pictures on social media from his skiing holiday in the French Alps. The offenders were charged and sentenced for seven raids in total across Surrey and Sussex. The judge criticised Mr Terry for posting holiday pictures to his Instagram, saying it might have been a mistake to advertise he wasn’t at home… a lesson for us all to be learnt…
Checking your insurance policy is paramount. If your tenants are planning on being away for an extended period of time, your insurer might need to be informed. To keep on the safe side and avoid the policy being invalidated and any potential claim affected, go through your policy documents in advance of your tenants leaving for holiday.
Holidays are special to everyone and neither landlords nor tenants want to come back from their vacation to find their property has suffered from damage or burglary. Taking basic precautions can help both parties better enjoy their well-deserved time off.