5 Ways to Protect Empty Rental Properties Between Leases

There are several possible scenarios that can result in having to keep your property empty for a medium to a long period of time. You could close rental properties for refurbishment or perhaps you’re in the process of building an apartment block to eventually rent out. You may also be ‘between tenants’ or waiting for your next tenant to move in.

Whatever the reason – an empty property can be a vulnerable property. Although your property may be located in what is considered a safe area, it could still open to a number of issues such as theft, vandalism, squatters and other issues/

In the past few years, the number of crimes relating to the empty property has risen. Clearway Environmental Service, a vacant property specialist in the UK stated that:

“Time after time we are called to a scene of property vandalism or squatting where unnecessary damage is caused to a property resulting in significant financial loss and emotional strain for the property owner. Empty properties are extremely vulnerable to intrusion and are prime targets for squatters in particular.

These vulnerable properties are quickly identified and word can spread amongst the homeless community like wildfire. While squatters rights in the US vary from state to state, throughout the UK, squatting in residential property has been illegal since September 2012. This doesn’t prevent residential properties from being squatted, it simply increases the risk of fines or incarceration for the squatters if they are caught. As a result this law is often seen as an affront to squatters and the rights they believe they should have and frequently results in property being left in a virtually uninhabitable condition because of the physical damage caused and the risk to health from unsanitary conditions.” 

It’s important that commercial property owners and landlords take steps to protect empty rental properties so that they do not become another statistic. While we know that it simply isn’t viable to monitor the property yourself 24/7 (unless you’re a live-in landlord of course) there are a number of security measures that you or the site manager can take to prevent unauthorized break-ins, costly repairs, and court proceedings during periods in which your property is unoccupied. We have outlined 5 security measures you can take to protect your property. 

Protecting Your Place: Five Key Tips

There are multiple ways to maintain security on vacant properties today, and most of them are very easily accessible for all. The solutions you need will depend on the size of your property (especially the outside area), whether you own a commercial or residential property and your budget for securing the property.

1. Video verified alarms 

A video verified alarm is an effective way to monitor movement in and around a property. This type of alarm is not a CCTV solution per se, however, the alarm is fitted with a camera that will capture video footage clips when triggered. This footage will then be sent via the mobile network directly to a recipient who will be able to identify the cause of activation and respond accordingly.

Any changes in the environment can also trigger a loud alarm, a handy feature that regular CCTV or alarm systems don’t often have. This is a great solution for those who are tech-savvy and keep on top of issues by using their phone. A video verified alarm is very quick to set up and can be used in outdoor environments. To get the most from the alarm, notifications will need to be monitored and responded to quickly when they arise.

2. Temporary CCTV for outdoor areas 

Temporary CCTV solutions go a step further than video verified alarms and offer a more comprehensive and robust security solution. They also provide an excellent visual deterrent – intruders will know they are being watched.

CCTV cameras can be coupled with sensors that are placed around the site. A live feed can be sent to a 24/7 monitoring station or via a live feed on a smartphone depending on how closely you’ll need to monitor your property. They can capture movement, have the ability to rotate, zoom and focus and will work well in dark environments to ensure your property is well protected. 

Many outdoor CCTV systems run independently of mains power (using solar power) so they can operate independently of the property itself which is great if you know the property is going to be vacant for long periods of time. 

There is a range of CCTV options available for specific uses such as CCTV towers that can be used to monitor construction sites and large car parks (you can see an example CCTV tower here).

3. Vacant property security doors 

Security doors provide a durable and reliable solution to keeping your vacant property safe from break-ins. In essence, a security door is a steel-reinforced door that will easily replace existing doors and will provide an effective solution to stop anyone trying to enter the property, preventing squatters or vandalism as well as internal contents should your property be furnished. 

The doors, however, will grant access to certain people who may need to enter the house or property such as landlords, site workers or estate agents. They are cost-effective and are a temporary solution that will not cause damage to your home or commercial property openings.

4. Temporary alarms

You could opt for a standard temporary alarm system that will trigger when movement is detected. This type of alarm is fitted temporarily and runs off battery power. It is also wire-free which means installation is easy and it communicates via the mobile network which means that it can work well on commercial and residential properties alike. The only downside to an alarm system without a visual component is that you may not be able to easily distinguish ‘false alarms.’ The alarm may be triggered by wildlife or change in light settings so it’s important to make sure the alarms are set up in the correct places to avoid unnecessary triggers.

5. Concrete barrier blocks

If you own a property with a large car park or outdoor area, or are currently building a property block, access to these spaces can be restricted using concrete barrier blocks to create a secure perimeter. Unwanted guests will not be able to drive onto the property and engage in crimes such as fly-tipping or setting up a temporary residence on the land. While they cannot control who can access your site, concrete barriers will give you peace of mind that no vehicles can enter your property or land when it is vacant. They are especially effective during long term projects and refurbishments.

Wrapping It Up

Leaving property unattended can be a daunting prospect however, a combination of these five solutions would provide security and peace of mind to ensure that you can continue with your project or business without costly interruptions.

Security technology has advanced so that landlords and property owners are able to track the status of their properties in real-time, be alerted to any breaches and deal with the issue quickly. You’ll also have the proof needed should an issue result in legal action. When it comes to property security, it is better to be safe than sorry and stay one step ahead of any potential security breaches that may arise.