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How to help your tenants keep your buy-to-let property safe during the holidays

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1 Aug 2019

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As we enter the peak holiday season, it’s a good idea to check that your tenants are clued up when it comes to locking up.


Before they fly off for their two weeks in the sun, drop your tenants a letter or an email with a few last-minute tips on keeping the property safe while they are away. 


1. Make it look like someone is in

This is the oldest trick in the book, of course, and keeping one hall light on is not going to fool anyone. But technology means it’s much easier to make a place look occupied. Buy-to-let properties are rarely smart homes, but if the technology is available for your tenants to control everything - from the lights to the thermostat - from their beach lounger in Marbella, then make sure they’re up to speed with it. Individual light timers and television simulator lights can work just as well as a deterrent so consider supply your tenants with some and explain the importance of using them.


2. Lock up

It’s not impossible when rushing out the door at 5am to a waiting taxi with one mind on that first cocktail, to forget to lock up. Impress upon your tenants the importance of double-double checking that doors and windows are locked before they go away - including backdoors, sheds and garages. The best way to ensure everything is locked and bolted is to do most of them the night before and get two people to check just before they leave. 


3. Keep a window open

That said, if they can safely leave a window open - for example the property is on a second floor or higher and impossible to access without some very nifty and obvious manoeuvres- then this might look less conspicuous than a closed up property on a hot day. But bear in mind, this could invalidate any insurance claims in the event of a burglary even if the thief gained access through another way. 


4.  Ask for permission to enter the property in their absence 

This is where a good landlord/tenant relationship comes into its own. Assure your tenants you will only enter the property in the case of an emergency and won’t be snooping about - although offering to water the plants/feed the cat (if they’re allowed one) could be beneficial to both parties if you have that kind of relationship.

And talking of emergencies, suggest to the tenants that they leave your number with a neighbour in case of a problem. 


5. Make sure any alarms are more than just decoration 

Have an alarm? Make sure it’s in good working order and the tenants know how to use it. It’s a good idea for you to know the code in case of any emergencies. If the tenants are happy to give it to you, they can always reset it to a different number once they’re back. 


6. Does your insurance company need to know?

Many landlord insurance policies include a clause that a property must not be left vacant for more than a specified number of weeks. This is more likely to be longer than your average fortnight’s holiday, but check your policy and ask your tenants to let you know if they are going to be away for longer than a couple of weeks.


With Discount Insurance you can get great value Home InsuranceLandlord Insurance and Tenant's Contents to protect your home and belongings.

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