According to the Government’s latest statistics on empty properties, there are just over 653,000 empty properties in England. 66,269 of these are in the East of England, with just over 3,000 in East Suffolk authority and 1,539 in Ipswich Borough.
Obviously, those who let out a property want to avoid having it empty for any period of time at all, but if you find that you are going to have a vacant property over the coming weeks then you will want to make sure that you prevent any risk you could face over the winter months.
With no one living in the property and therefore keeping it heated or nobody taking care of general maintenance or letting you know of any issues, there are greater risks for landlords. This is especially the case over very cold spells when pipes can freeze, or damp and mould can cause issues.
We recommend carrying out regular checks of the property over any void period. An inspection, both inside and outside the property, will identify any potential problems early on and enable you to take action to rectify them. Such regular maintenance of the property will help to keep it in good condition and prevent any problems from getting worse which inevitably turn out to be much more costly repairs.
If you are not able to carry out these inspections yourselves, at Pennington we provide an inspection service for all landlords, whether you are a client of ours or not. For any recommended work we can also manage the work with our trusted contractors, meaning you are protecting your valuable asset and the property is also then ready for new tenants to move in.
A winter inspection can help make sure that your property is weather-proof for whatever the winter months bring.
It is also important to make sure the property is secure, ensuring doors and windows are in good condition and locks all work effectively are all worth checking. With an empty property, you will also need to check your insurance is not affected. Insurers vary but many will consider that a vacant property is at greater risk so this might affect your policy and premium so make sure you have adequate insurance cover in place for a vacant property. This will protect you against any damage or theft that may occur.
If your property is not empty through choice, we can also help with our letting services. We have demand from prospective tenants that is outstripping supply of rental properties and as well as advising on any work you may want to get done, we can look to get the best rental income for you to ensure return on your investment.
If you would like any advice on dealing with an empty property, preparing for winter generally or anything on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help.
Managing Director / ARLA Propertymark Advisory Board
Tel: 01394 337590