Having a vacancy is something that every landlord will experience. There will also be times when you’ll have extended vacant periods before you can find a new tenant. While this is inevitable, it’s important that you find a replacement as soon as possible. Not only does this impact your return on investment, but it also exposes the property to outside risks.

We at Brentwood Square Management Services, Inc put together this article so you would be aware of the possible risks that an unoccupied property will be vulnerable to as well as some tips on how you can avoid it and protect your investment.

Theft and Vandalism

Since there is nobody staying in the property, it’s exposed to burglars. The most common things they can steal are antique pieces, air conditioning units, furnishings, appliances, and even expensive wires and pipes installed in the house. This theft can be costly and also negatively impact your marketing efforts.

An unoccupied dwelling is also attractive to vandals. They could see the vacant property as a great canvas for drawing graffiti, scrawling random names, or spray painting your walls. Which can be costly to clean up and hurt the value of your property.

person looking at multiple security camera angles on their phone

How to Protect Against Thieves or Vandals

Here are some tips on how you can discourage burglars and vandals from entering your vacant rental home:

  • Set up motion sensors exterior lights and timed indoor lighting
  • Make sure you have a fully functioning alarm system and security cameras
  • Install a working security system that can be monitored even if you live far from the property’s location
  • Make the rental space appear as though someone is occupying it, so ensure that mail is picked up and the yard is well maintained.
  • Develop a good relationship with the neighbors so they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity at the property.


If your rental unit is noticeably vacant, some trespassers might invite themselves into your property and live there rent-free. Squatters who have lived on your property for a long time may be tricky to remove as they earn some rights after a certain period.

How to Deal with Squatters

Don’t let squatters take over your investment by doing the following:

  • Set up a functioning alarm system
  • Visit the property from time to time or have someone check on it regularly
  • Install a working security system that allows you to monitor the house remotely
  • Strategize where you put the cameras and avoid having blind spots


Some people can unintentionally start a fire by simply smoking or lighting candles within the vicinity of the property. There’s also the risk of intentional fires.

red fire alarm on a white wall

Aside from these external forces, the unit’s unused systems can also cause fire when left unmaintained. The heating systems, for example, can collect dust and dirt that could result in overheating. What’s more, if combustible materials are placed too close to the heater, they could also lead to a fire.

Fire Prevention Tips

Some recommendations to protect your rental property include:

  • Making sure that the space appears to be occupied by collecting mail and visiting the space.
  • Always maintain the property’s curb appeal so the property doesn’t look abandoned.
  • Not leaving the property alone for weeks without checking it. You or a trusted neighbor or property manager can check in on the space.
  • Monitoring your security system so you can track intruders even when you’re not near the rental area.

Water Damage and Mold

When property upkeep is not regularly done, there could be undetected leaks, broken pipes, or other damages. This can cause water damage, and those repairs are often some of the most expensive ones.

Often coinciding with water damage issues are mold infestations. When the house is left with a lot of moisture after raining hard or because of leaks, the unit can be at risk of mold growth. Mold presence can cause allergies and respiratory issues which can make your rental home a health hazard and unliveable.

maintenance worker in orange reflective vest and green gloves holding a yellow hardhat

The leaks and damaged pipes in a vacant home are challenging to detect since nobody is there to use the plumbing and discover the issue. When a new tenant moves in these can be uncovered and may cause inconvenience to them and could cause emergency property maintenance that’s out of your pocket.

How to Prevent Water Damage

You can prevent water damage in your unoccupied rental property by:

  • Ensure your air conditioning unit and system are checked and well-maintained. Molds can grow inside the system and would need a more comprehensive solution when removing them when detected.
  • Make sure that your plumbing and fixtures are regularly checked, used, and drained. Have someone visit the property from time to time and let them use the faucet just to make sure there are no leaks or damage to the pipes.

How to Minimize the Risk of Leaving a Property Vacant

The best way to oversee your rental properties and have the vacant ones supervised is to hire a reliable rental property management company like Brentwood Square Management Services, Inc.

We provide full-service property management to our clients and minimize the risks that come with having an unoccupied rental property. We can do this by attracting high-quality, long-term tenants with engaging property listings. We can also help inspect and maintain the unit to ensure that it stays in good condition.

Bottom Line

It’s important to fill a vacant unit as soon as possible. Having a vacant rental property not only delays meeting your financial goals but also puts the property at risk from outside factors. If you need assistance in marketing your rental and making sure your rental spaces are occupied, you can rely on Brentwood Square Management Services, Inc. Contact us today for your rental property management needs!