Your rental property might be empty, but that doesn’t mean it should sit stagnant. Whilst you’re waiting for your dream tenants to turn up, here are 6 things you can do to keep your rental property safe, secure and ticking over.
Now, while it’s empty, is a fantastic time to clean your property from top to bottom. You can bring in professional carpet cleaners and hire someone to give the oven a good scrub. Make sure all bins (inside and outside) are empty and spotless, and give the exterior of the property a once over while you’re at it: trim hedges, clear out gutters, paint the front door and mow the lawn. You could even go around the house and make a full, detailed inventory to save you time at the beginning of the next tenancy.
Do some renovations
You could go one step further than cleaning and carry out renovations on your property. Is it time for a new boiler? Are the fences around the garden sagging? Is the hall carpet looking a little threadbare? Now’s your chance to make those big changes you’ve been thinking about, whether it’s fixing something broken, or indulging in a new appliance that will make your rental even more appealing to prospective tenants.
Sort out the utilities
When there’s a gap between tenants, it’s a good idea to move the utilities (gas, water and electricity) into your name, and to take meter readings as soon as the previous tenants move out so you know exactly what you will need to pay for. You should also phone up your local council: you will be responsible for your property’s council tax while it’s empty, but an unfurnished property is exempt from paying for six months. Finally, notify the TV licensing authority that the property is unoccupied and doesn’t need a license.
Turn things off
Once the utilities are in your name, it’s time to turn things off – you don’t need to pay to cool an empty fridge or power appliances on standby. Go around switching off and unplugging anything that doesn’t need to be on, and make sure to leave fridge, freezer and washing machine doors open so they don’t get stale and smelly inside. You can also turn off any central heating timers, unless it’s winter, in which case you’ll want to have minimal heating each day to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.
Empty homes can be tempting to burglars, so make sure you pop in to your empty rental property quite frequently, and at different times, to deter break-ins. Pick up the post so it doesn’t build up on the doormat, switch lights on and off, and open and close the curtains to make it look as though the property is occupied. You could also give the neighbours your contact details so they can get in touch with you if they notice anything unusual.
Check your insurance
If the worst happens and your property sits unoccupied for a long time, make sure to check your insurance policy. Some insurers might require you to take certain actions if your property is going to be empty for a long period (eg: 6 months or more), otherwise you won’t be covered. For example, they might ask you to turn off mains water and gas, or ensure the property is heated to a minimum temperature.
If you have a rental property that needs letting in Bristol, contact Gough Quarters today for assistance.