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10 jobs to do before leaving a property unoccupied


Leaving your home unoccupied for extended periods means it’s more open to risks. These could be burglary, vandalism, squatting, fire, or flooding, to name just a few.

This guide highlights measures you can take before your property is left vacant for a time and 10 Jobs to do before leaving a property unoccupied.

1. Check your locks

Check the condition of all locks, window latches, and garage access points. Faulty, loose or rusty locks could allow someone to gain access to your property more easily. Make sure you repair or replace any malfunctioning locks and secure any entry points to your property as soon as possible.

2. Inspect batteries and bulbs in alarm

Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors’ batteries and make sure they have enough power.  You should also check that all alarms are in date for them to work effectively. To test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, press and hold the test button on the alarm. Refer to the user manual for your specific model.

Bulbs in security lights and indoor timers should also be checked. Replace any non-functional bulbs prior to your departure.

3. Keep on top of radiators and taps maintenance

It’s important to address radiator leaks and dripping taps immediately, especially if you are planning on leaving a property unoccupied. Repairing any problems like this will help to prevent further damage and potential flooding to your property.

4. Consider switching off utilities

Depending on how long the property will be unoccupied, think about whether to turn off water, gas, and electricity. There are many pro’s and con’s so it’s important to do your research on what’s best for you and your property.

Here are some things to consider:

  • In Winter, pipes can freeze and burst if they don’t have water running through them regularly. So, it may be worth leaving the heating on a timer.
  • A good way to prevent frozen burst pipes is to insulate them with foam or fiberglass sleeves.
  • Make sure your fridge and freezer are empty if you are turning off the power too to avoid rotten food when you return.

5. Optimise ventilation to stop mould and damp

Leaving a property locked up for long periods can cause mould. You can prevent mould growth by fitting air bricks and window vents. Professional help may be needed for proper installation.

Increase the air circulation in your property by opening internal doors and moving timber or other furniture away from walls slightly. You can also open the doors of cupboards that are in colder damp rooms.

Damp and mould are huge health hazards – so make sure you tackle it as soon as possible.

6. Fridge and freezer preparations

If you leave your fridge or freezer on and frozen while the property is unoccupied it could end up flooding your house in the event of a power cut. You should defrost, clean and dry fridges and freezers to prevent this risk. Keep doors propped open for ventilation and leave appliances switched off.

7. Prevent rodent or pest infestation

Get rid of any food sources and seal openings in skirting boards and windows to deter pests like rodents and ants. Small pests such can fit through almost any tight space.

It’s also important to leave a property clean, any crumbs or sticky spillages could attract pests. The simplest way to do this is to empty any kitchen bins, fruit bowls, cupboards, and the fridge-freezer.

If all fails, you should always call in the expert pest control companies.

8. Inspect the property boundary

Check boundary fences and walls for damage caused by varying weather conditions. Make sure you repair loose panels and crumbling brickwork as soon as you can. This will help stop opportunist intruders or animals such as foxes gaining access to your land.

9. Carry out any garden maintenance

Before you leave you should trim back bushes and cut the grass. This will reduce the growth need to come back to. You should also securely store garden tools, including ladders to deter opportunistic burglars. Make sure any sheds or outbuildings are secure and locked too, as bikes and lawnmowers are an easy target for thieves.

10. Update your home insurance

Though insurance is not a legal requirement; it can financially protect your building and contents against fire, flooding and theft. It’s important to make sure you have the correct home insurance coverage for leaving your property unoccupied.

Most policies cover unoccupied properties up to a maximum of 30 days, although some insurers will offer cover for longer, you can find out by checking your documents or contacting our home insurance customer service team on 0344 7765 311

Want to learn more about home security? Check out our step by step guide to moving house!

Get covered with GoSkippy home insurance today.

Call us on 0344 7765 395