Landlords with unoccupied properties between tenants


Typically, when a tenant moves out, there is likely to be a period when the property is empty before a new tenant moves in. Every landlord wants this empty period to be as short as possible because each day will be costing money. This empty period means there are some jobs which a landlord needs to do.

Additional costs to the landlord

As soon as a tenant leaves, it becomes the responsibility of the landlord to pay council tax on his property. However, any property that remains empty and unfurnished will be entitled to exemption from council tax for up to six months. Just contact the local council tax office and notify them that the property is empty.

All the utility bills should be transferred back to the landlord’s name because as with council tax, the landlord also becomes responsible for each utility bill during any empty period. It is very important for a landlord to take readings of the gas, electric and water (if there is one) meter on the day the tenant leaves the property, and then contact the utility providers with up to date meter readings. They will then change the accounts over to your name. Then take the meter readings again when a new tenant moves in, that way you incur charges only when the property is empty.

Benefits of having a unoccupied property

Take the opportunity to fix anything which is broken during a void period, this is a much better idea then waiting until the new tenant reports that it needs fixing. It is much easier to maintain a property while it is vacant because it saves having to give the tenant notice and then arranging a convenient time which suits the landlord, the tenant and the tradesman involved in the repairs.

Tips to keep costs low

To reduce costs and also for safety reasons, ensure all of the gas and electrical appliances are turned off. Some plug sockets will have fuse lights and these can be flicked off, even with no electrical appliance plugged in the LED in the socket will still be using power, even if it is just pennies. If the property has white goods, then it might be a good idea to turn those appliances off and leave open the fridge, freezer and washing machine doors to avoid any nasty odours.

Ensure the timer settings for the hot water and heating are disabled. Failing to turn off the timer may result in utility bills for services that were never needed or realised were actually being used. However, if the property is going to remain empty for longer than a week during cold winter periods, it’s a good idea to occasionally allow the pipes to warm up by turning the heating on. This will help to prevent the pipes from freezing over, and making them vulnerable to bursting.

When a new tenant does move in, make sure your landlord insurance policy is up to date and gives comprehensive cover should the worst happen. Click here for our guide on finding the right tenants.

Get your free quote for unoccupied property insurance

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