Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

Owning rental property can offer multiple benefits, such as a steady stream of income and the potential for long-term financial growth. However, one of the key challenges landlords face is dealing with vacant rental properties. When your rental property sits unoccupied, it’s exposed to a variety of risks that can impact your finances and property value. Here are the major risks of having a vacant property, along with tips on how to prevent them:

Theft and Vandalism

When your rental property is vacant, it becomes an attractive target for thieves and vandals. Empty homes are often perceived as easier targets, as there are no occupants to deter potential criminals. Here’s how to protect your property:

  • Install Security Measures: Invest in security measures such as alarm systems, motion-activated lights, and sturdy locks. Visible security cameras can also act as a deterrent.
  • Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Conduct regular inspections of the property to detect any signs of break-ins or vandalism. You can also maintain the property’s exterior to indicate that the property is regularly visited.
  • Neighborhood Watch: Encourage neighbors to keep an eye on the property and report any suspicious activity.

Water Damage and Mold

Water damage can be a significant issue for vacant rental properties. When left unchecked, it can lead to mold growth, which is harmful to both the property and the health of its future residents. 

a drop of water causing a ripple 

Here’s how to prevent and address water damage:

  • Routine Maintenance: Regularly inspect the property’s plumbing, roof, and gutters. Fix any leaks or issues promptly.
  • Turn Off Water Supply: If the property will be vacant for an extended period, consider turning off the water supply.
  • Mold Prevention: Ensure proper ventilation and use dehumidifiers to reduce the risk of mold growth.


Vacant properties are more susceptible to fires due to the lack of occupants who can quickly report and respond to potential hazards. To mitigate fire risks perform the following tasks:

  • Check Smoke Alarms: Ensure working smoke alarms are installed and replace batteries regularly.
  • Inspect Fire Extinguishers: Place fire extinguishers in easily accessible areas and provide clear instructions on their use.
  • Conduct Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect the property for fire hazards such as faulty wiring.


Squatters are individuals who unlawfully occupy vacant properties. Dealing with squatters can be legally complicated and costly. In some cases, squatters can even earn rights after living in your property for a certain period. It’s, therefore, best to prevent squatters in the first place. Here’s how to protect your property:

  • Security Measures: Implement the same security measures mentioned earlier, as they can help deter squatters.
  • Regular Visits: Visit the property regularly to check for signs of unauthorized occupation.
  • Legal Action: If squatters do occupy your property, consult with a legal professional to take appropriate action to remove them.

a no trespassing sign placed on a tree

Loss of Income

Every day your property remains unoccupied is a day of potential income loss. To mitigate this risk implement:

  • Competitive Pricing: Price your rental property competitively to attract residents quickly. Conduct market research to determine the optimal rental rate.
  • Effective Marketing: Invest in marketing efforts such as online listings, professional photos, and writing descriptions to attract potential residents.
  • Thorough Resident Screening: Screening residents thoroughly can help you find those who will likely stay for the long term.

Pest Infestations

Vacant properties can become breeding grounds for pests. To prevent pest infestations:

  • Regular Maintenance: Keep the property well-maintained to eliminate hiding spots for pests and seal any potential entry points.
  • Pest Control Services: Consider hiring a professional pest control service to conduct routine inspections and treatments.

Property Depreciation

A vacant property may suffer from neglect and deterioration, leading to a decrease in its overall value. To prevent property depreciation:

  • Regular Maintenance: Continue to perform routine maintenance, such as lawn care and exterior cleaning, even when the property is vacant.
  • Scheduled Repairs: Address any necessary repairs promptly to maintain the property’s condition and value.
  • Property Insurance: Ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect your investment.

Decreased Neighborhood Appeal

A vacant property can negatively impact the overall appeal of the neighborhood, potentially leading to lower property values for surrounding homes.

a stack of cash, house figurine and a notepad on a table

To maintain a positive neighborhood reputation:

  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure that the property is well-kept and aesthetically pleasing to avoid attracting negative attention.
  • Community Involvement: Consider participating in neighborhood associations or community improvement efforts to demonstrate your commitment to the area.

Why You Should Hire a Property Manager to Mitigate the Risks

Hiring a property manager is a smart move when it comes to mitigating the risks associated with vacant properties. Reliable property managers, like those at Five Star Property Management, bring invaluable expertise and a range of services that help safeguard your investment. 

We’ll conduct regular property inspections, reducing the chances of theft, vandalism, and unnoticed maintenance issues. Our team also excels in marketing and resident screening, minimizing the risk of extended vacancies. 

Moreover, our local Pocatello, Idaho property managers handle legal matters efficiently, including eviction procedures, compliance with local regulations, and liability concerns. Our proactive approach to property maintenance and neighborhood relations preserves a property’s value. 

Bottom Line 

Owning a rental property can be a rewarding investment, but vacant properties come with their fair share of risks. To protect your investment and ensure a smooth landlord experience, it’s crucial to be aware of these risks and take proactive measures to prevent or address them. 

By implementing security measures, conducting regular inspections, and maintaining open communication with your neighbors, you can minimize the risks associated with vacant rental properties. 

Also, it’s best to find a reputable property manager to help you minimize these risks. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a steady stream of income while preserving the value of your property. Contact Five Star Property Management if you need help with your rental properties!

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