Vacant rental properties are a problem for owners. They’re expensive, they’re at risk, and the costs of preparing a home for a new tenant are often higher than expected.
Here are the five most common dangers and liabilities that come with a vacant Chula Vista rental property. If you’re having trouble keeping your investment property occupied by great tenants, it might be time to reach out to a Chula Vista property manager.
1. Vacancy and Loss of Income
The most obvious danger of a vacant rental property is pretty simple: you’re not earning any rent. This is going to cut into your cash flow and also put the brakes on the ROI that you’re steadily enjoying when you have a good tenant in place for the long term, paying rent every month.
The loss of income is hard to recover. It’s a good reason to avoid vacancy whenever possible and to create a strong tenant retention program to avoid turnovers.
2. You’re Liable for Utilities, Landscaping, and Finding a New Tenant
The costs aren’t just measured by loss of rent. There’s also an out-of-pocket element. You’ll have to keep the lights on and the water running when your home is vacant, and that means putting the utilities back into your own name. When prospective tenants come to see the home or vendors show up to do work, they’ll need electricity.
You’ll also have to pay for landscaping and security. Finding a new tenant requires a marketing expense and the cost of screening tenants and gathering credit and background reports.
3. An Empty Home Attracts Potential Criminal Behavior
A vacant home is an opportunity for criminals, thieves, and those with bad intentions. You could be at risk for attracting squatters, who can be surprisingly difficult to evict. You might also find your property has been vandalized, used for criminal activity, or damaged in some other way. Often, thieves will break into a vacant home and steal appliances, pipes, and wiring.
The best way to avoid these risks is by giving the impression that someone is still living there. Keep your outside lights on. Make sure the curb appeal is kept up. Have someone park outside of the home or in the driveway if possible.
4. Vacant Properties and Maintenance Concerns
Another major danger is that you won’t necessarily know when something goes wrong at the property. With a tenant in place, you’ll be notified right away if a leak is detected or the outlets stop working or the air conditioning goes out. Without anyone there using the basic systems and functions of the home every day, you could invite some deferred maintenance. Those small issues can quickly lead to more expensive and complicated repairs when they’re not noticed for a few weeks or a month.
5. Insurance and Unoccupied Homes
Some insurance companies will charge you more if your home is unoccupied for a specific amount of time. Your own policy may not cover a fire or a loss if the home has been empty for a long stretch of time. Make sure you understand the limits of your policy and buy extra insurance if necessary.
These five risks can be scary, but if you’re working with a Chula Vista property management company, you’ll find some peace of mind. We’d be happy to help with avoiding vacancy and protecting your property when it is occupied. Contact us at Encore Realty.