24 May 2021

How to protect your empty property

By Kevin Meek New Business Senior Account Handler
Empty room with server and mirror illustration

The stamp duty holiday has really boosted the property market – not only keeping it afloat during the pandemic, but helping it grow too. So it’s not surprising that many people have snatched at the chance to purchase buy-to-lets to add to their property portfolio or as financial future proofing. But what do you do if your new let needs renovating or you haven’t found tenants yet? There are lots of reasons why your rental might be sitting empty right now – and if it is, you need to protect it with empty property landlord insurance.

Full cover for your empty house

Property is classed as unoccupied when no one lives there for more than a month at a time and, unfortunately, empty houses can attract trouble. Normal house insurance won’t cover it, so you need empty property landlord insurance instead. This specially-designed flexible cover helps protect your investment – and is a big must if your let is empty.

This type of landlord insurance provides flexible and comprehensive cover to give you complete peace of mind, including buildings and contents cover, liability, and cover for construction or refurbishment. You can also insure an empty property while it’s up for sale – because if anything happens to it in that time, it could impact your asking price. And if you know your property will only be empty for a brief time, you can take out short-term policies too, from as little as 90 days’ cover.

But even with a policy in place, you still need to take steps to cut the chances of making a claim – so we’ve pulled together a few key points to remember:

Make your house look lived in

One of the best ways to keep trouble at bay is to make your empty house look occupied, which helps deter thieves. Hanging curtains or blinds at the windows, keeping the garden and fences in good condition, and removing any rubbish can all give the appearance that your property is lived in. If you trust the neighbours, ask them to keep an eye on your property. You could even invite them to park on the driveway.

Prevention is better than cure

Try to prevent as much going wrong in the first place as you can. Obviously, keeping on top of basic security like locks and bolts is vital but you could also fit a burglar alarm or security lighting. Not only are these excellent deterrents to potential burglars, but they can help alert neighbours if someone is acting suspiciously around your property too.

Consider turning off the mains supplies and drain the water to prevent electrical fires, burst pipes, water leaks or gas leaks – all of which can cause serious damage. In fact, some landlord insurance policies ask you to do this upfront. Just remember to let them know if you need power for lights or alarms.

Redirect attention

Not drawing attention to your empty let is a sure way of helping it stay safe. Seal the letterbox and redirect any deliveries and post to your address. If there’s a landline in the property, re-route the number to your own phone rather than disconnect it. Some thieves will call a property they suspect is empty and a disconnected line or continuous answerphone will confirm it’s unoccupied. Likewise, if you’re having renovation work done, ask the builders not to display advertising signs and avoid leaving a skip outside for too long – it could be a magnet for thieves.

 Check-in as regularly as you can

It’s important to inspect your property regularly so you can spot any problems before they become too serious. Some insurers may even ask you to keep a record of each visit. If you can’t get there yourself, think about asking a trusted local friend, neighbour or family member to visit instead. Just remember to take care who knows your property is unoccupied – don’t share it on social media or you could be asking for trouble.

Make sure you’re insured

From burst pipes to break-ins, your empty property is at risk. But regular maintenance will only go so far – you still need a robust landlord insurance policy in case something goes wrong.

Empty property landlord insurance is the best way to make sure you can cover the costs of damage or emergencies and there are many flexible options available to help save you money while reducing your risk. So don’t leave your unoccupied property unprotected. Take out an empty property landlord insurance policy – and protect your let until it’s lived in again.

Pot plants

Landlord insurance for unoccupied properties: We can help!

You can find further useful information about landlord insurance on our unoccupied property page where you can also get in touch with a member of our team or submit an enquiry.


Related articles