Student landlord? Keep your property safe this summer

Despite the dodgy weather, summer is upon us – and students across the country are heading home.

The summer break can cause problems for landlords. Whether you expect your property to be empty or occupied during the holidays, it is important that you take some simple steps to ensure that it is secure.

Here are some top tips to keep your property safe over the break.

1. Think about security

Security is a particularly pressing concern during void periods. It is important that you take steps to ensure that your property is as secure as possible while it is empty.

At the very least you need to make sure that all locks are in good working order, and that all entry points are secure. If you have a burglar alarm you should ensure that it is operating properly. You might also consider visiting the property yourself in order to make sure that it is secure after your tenants leave – but you should remember that you must arrange this with your tenants in advance.

2. Inform your tenants

You should keep your tenants informed of their rights and responsibilities. Properly informed tenants are your first line of defence, even when they are not actually in the property.

It is worth noting that many standard tenancy agreements include a clause preventing the tenant leaving the property empty for more than a specified period. If your agreement includes such a clause, you should make sure that your tenants are aware of this.

3. Check leaks

Leaks are a very common problem – and one that has become even more pressing thanks to the current poor weather. You should check regularly for leaks, and for cracks or other problems with outdoor pipes, particularly in cold conditions. Make sure that gutters are clear in order to prevent overflows. Water damage can be very expensive, but by taking a few minutes to conduct some routine checks you can help to keep your property safe.

4. Be vigilant over subletting

If you are expecting your tenants to remain in the property during the summer break, you should be particularly vigilant about subletting. If your tenancy agreement prohibits subletting, you should consider making regular visits to the property in order to ensure that it is occupied by your tenants. Remember that you must give notice before conducting an inspection.

5. Inspect regularly

Finally, if you know that your property will be empty for an extended period it is vital that you or your property manager visit regularly. A quick check-up can help to minimise the potential for expensive problems – and can ensure that you are made aware of existing issues as promptly as possible. It is also important to remember that your insurance policy may stipulate that the property should not be left empty for more than a set number of days – and that this may require an overnight stay. You should check your policy if you are unsure.