Maintaining your unoccupied property

May 19, 2012

Landlord Information

We are sometimes asked questions relating to unoccupied property, both in terms of insurance and legal requirements.

We are not qualified to offer legal advice and you may be advised to obtain your own legal opinion, however, the following general points may be of interest:

  • if your property is going to stand unoccupied for more than a specified period of time (typically around 30 consecutive days) then it may be officially categorised as an unoccupied property;
  • in such situations, you may need to take out unoccupied property insurance (whether you have cheap landlords insurance are not) if you wish to see continuity of cover on your property;
  • even if your property is unoccupied, you may still have certain legal liabilities relating to it being a safe structure – for example, if someone is injured by it they may have the right to sue you for compensation;
  • this therefore means that it is highly advisable to keep your property well maintained, even if it is currently not being used for letting purposes;
  • remember that unoccupied property may be particularly appealing to thieves, vandals and possibly those that may seek to occupy it without your consent, therefore, it makes sense to try and keep the building concerned in lived-in appearance;
  • it is typically sensible to ensure that all mains services are shut off at source though if you have sprinkler systems, you may need to leave elements of the water systems connected;
  • it may be important to keep external areas of the property in well maintained condition and appearance for a number of reasons;
  • if you do not, its appearance may deteriorate and cause friction with neighbours;
  • if you are trying to let it, untidy and poorly maintained property may be that much more difficult to find tenants for;
  • little may discourage potential purchasers, if you are trying to sell, than an untidy and poorly maintained external appearance;
  • if you have a buy to let mortgage, you may find that there are clauses in the contract requiring that you keep your property in good condition and attend to all appropriate maintenance as required, in order to protect your asset and the funds of the lender.


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