It’s common for a landlord to experience a vacancy every once in a while. The tenant may have reached the end of their tenancy or it’s possible that you’re a new landlord and are renting the property for the first time. 

But whichever circumstance you find yourself in, filling the vacancy should be your utmost priority. This will not only ensure you earn the much-needed cash flow, but that you protect your property’s value as well. 

You see when a property is vacant, it becomes vulnerable to certain risks. Especially, if the vacancy runs for quite some time. In this post, we at Keyrenter Hampton Roads will cover the risks associated with vacancies and how to avoid them!

Property Theft 

This is a common risk you’ll have to deal with when you have a vacant property. A thief can sneak in and steal valuable property, such as an air conditioning unit, an appliance, and expensive furnishing. Other valuable items include aluminum pipes, copper wires, and antique pieces. 

And even if your property doesn’t have such valuable items, there is also the risk of vandalism. A vandal can break into your property and draw graffiti or spray paint walls. As a landlord, it’s important to do everything you can to protect your property against thieves and vandals as repairing and replacing their damage can be costly. 

security camera and bright light against a dark blue night sky

The following are a couple of things you can do to protect your property: 

  • Install a security system that you can monitor while away 
  • Install security cameras and an alarm system to alert you when an unwanted guest enters your home
  • Collect junk mail on a regular basis
  • Give the impression that the home is still occupied by, for instance, leaving recorded sounds or installing timed lighting. 


This is another group of intruders you’ll need to protect your property from when it becomes vacant. A squatter is someone that stays on a property without the owner’s legal permission. And in addition to lacking proper legal means to occupy a property, a squatter also doesn’t pay rent. 

Squatters are especially attracted to habitable properties, such as furnished units. And if the property is spacious enough, they may also invite others to live with them. 

Now, squatters have certain rights. Unlike trespassers, removing them from your property can be a long, draining process. You won’t be able to evict them from the property through ‘self-help’ methods such as shutting down their utilities, removing their belongings from the unit, or locking them out. You’ll need to obtain a court order to evict them from the premises. 

a private property and no trespassing sign outside a home

Luckily, you can protect your property against squatters and trespassers in multiple ways: 

  • Install a security system that allows for remote monitoring of the property
  • Install a working alarm system that notifies you when an intruder accesses your property 
  • Place no trespassing signs and maintain the curb appeal to give the impression that it’s occupied
  • Visit the property regularly or enlist the help of someone to do it for you
  • Take action immediately if you notice a squatter living on the property 


Uninhabited properties are also prone to fires. Without proper maintenance, heating systems can overheat due to the accumulation of dirt and dust. There may also be an explosion if there are combustible materials left near a heater. 

Aside from the risk of fire, there is also the chance of arson. A fire outbreak can start in a myriad of ways including from someone smoking near the property, an intruder setting the property on fire on purpose, or a malfunctioning electrical system. 

The following are a few things you can do to prevent a fire outbreak on your property when it becomes vacant:

  • Install a security system 
  • Inspect the property regularly 
  • Update the properties fire safety protections

Water Damage 

A vacant property is also at risk of water damage. The damage often occurs from broken pipes and leaky faucets. It can be one of the most costly repairs you can make, especially if the damage occurs over a long period of time. 

a bathroom tap dripping water against a yellow background

The following are some telltale signs of water damage you may want to look out for when inspecting your property:

  • Water stains
  • Swelling in your walls
  • Peeling, bubbling, or flaking paint
  • Warped floorboards
  • A persistent damp odor
  • Sounds of dripping water
  • Pools and puddles
  • Discoloration or stains on walls or ceilings

Excessive moisture in the home could also lead to the growth of mold. And this has the potential to make your property uninhabitable. The following are a couple of things you can do to prevent water damage in your home:

  • Drain the plumbing system during the cold season 
  • Monitor the air conditioning system regularly
  • Check the gutters and downspouts and remove any debris
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles 

Loss of Rental Income

In addition to the aforementioned risks, having a vacant property also means loss of rental income. Over time, this can add up to a significant amount.  

What’s more, having no rental income means you’ll experience negative cash flow. You’ll need to look for money elsewhere to pay for property expenses, such as property taxes and mortgage payments. 

The best way to safeguard your rental income is by hiring a competent property management company. The following are some of the benefits you may be able to enjoy by doing so:

Bottom Line

As can be seen, a vacant property is prone to multiple risks. Your goal should be to fill it as soon as possible after a tenant leaves. If you need expert help in filling a vacant unit, then look no further than Keyrenter Hampton Roads. 

We are a quality property management company that services Chesapeake and the surrounding areas. We can help you minimize stress and maximize your income. Get in touch to learn more!