Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

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Why Landlords Need to Avoid Vacancies in Their Rental Properties

March 6, 2023

Are you a landlord with a vacant rental property? Read this article to understand the risks of property vacancies and how you can protect your rental home.

No property owner wants their rental property vacant. The longer a landlord’s rental home stays vacant, the more of a liability it becomes. A vacant property doesn’t generate income for you, but you still incur costs for its maintenance.

Besides the financial loss you’ll incur from a vacant property, leaving your property vacant also leaves you vulnerable to intruders and property damage.

Financial Loss

If your investment property isn’t rented out, it won’t generate income for your business. Even if this is the case, you still need to pay for all costs associated with owning a property. You’ll need to pay for property maintenance, repairs, utilities, taxes and insurance, among others.

While vacancies are fairly common, leaving the property vacant for a long time can be detrimental to your finances. Since you won’t earn income from the property while it sits vacant, you’ll likely have to pay for any expenses from your investment savings.

And what happens if your funds run out? You’ll have to sustain your property with personal funds, resulting in financial loss.

A group of property managers examine figures and marketing data at a desk, pointing to smart devices and a clipboard.

To prevent financial losses due to a vacant rental unit, we suggest beginning the marketing process as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your tenant has moved out to post your property listing! Have an effective marketing strategy and make sure to list your rental unit on various advertising platforms to get it filled in no time.

Theft and Vandalism

A vacant property is at risk for theft and vandalism. Intruders can easily sneak into a vacant property to steal appliances, furniture and fixtures. Thieves might even look for things like aluminum pipes, copper wires, electrical parts and aesthetic pieces. All of these are expensive objects that can be costly to replace.

Vacant rental units are also easy targets for vandalism. Intruders might spray paint or draw on the walls or surfaces of your rental unit. If this happens, you’ll need to have your property repainted and repaired—another costly endeavor that can be avoided by filling your property with tenants.

To discourage intruders and vandals, it’s important to secure your property. Invest in a fully functioning security system that can be monitored remotely. Make sure to install a working security camera and alarm system.

You can also install motion sensors and timed lighting for added protection. This will give the impression that the property is not vacant.

Mold and Water Damage

A vacant property also poses a risk for water damage and mold growth. Water damage usually occurs from broken pipes and other sources of leaks. Water damage is one of the most expensive repairs you want to avoid.

A property manager with a beard works to fix a leaky pipe in a rental property.

Properties with no occupants are also prone to mold growth. Moisture can easily get trapped inside the house during humid conditions. Since no one is there to tend to the property, the moisture can quickly cause mold to grow.

Mold is a serious health hazard that will make your property uninhabitable, meaning it won’t be safe for tenants and will leave your property vacant for longer.

To prevent water damage and mold growth, make sure to inspect your property regularly and clean it thoroughly. It’s best to have the plumbing drained if no one is using it. Moreover, ensure that the HVAC system is well-maintained.


Vacant properties that are not tended to regularly are also at risk for squatters. This is true especially if intruders can easily notice that your property is unoccupied. Squatters can live in your house rent-free—they’ll use your appliances and furniture, as well as your utilities.

If your property has more space, squatters might even let others stay on the property and collect rent from them. Keep in mind that squatters can earn rights after a certain period, even without a lease agreement.

It might be difficult to get rid of squatters when they’ve gone unnoticed in your property for a long period of time. In fact, you might need to undergo a legal process and file a case to remove squatters from your rental unit.

A tenant punches in a secure code in their home system just before leaving their rental unit.

A working security system is a great way to prevent squatters. Make sure you can monitor your property remotely and that you can view all areas of the property. This way, you can see if there are intruders inside your property. Having an alarm system will also help prevent people from squatting on your property.


If no one is using your property, your vacant rental home will be vulnerable to fire. Your HVAC system can accumulate dirt which can result in an overheated motor, which is a fire hazard.

Your empty property might also be at risk of arson. Someone smoking near the area might accidentally set your house on fire or intruders might purposefully start a fire.

Again, a working security and alarm system is essential to help prevent a fire on your property. Regular inspections and maintenance of the rental unit, especially your heating system, is necessary. Make sure to visit your property regularly to check for any possible fire hazards.

Bottom Line: Hire a Property Manager

A vacant rental unit can be dangerous to your overall bottom line. One efficient way to prevent the risks of a vacant property is to work with a reliable property manager. Professional property managers can help ensure that the property is tended to while it’s unoccupied.

What’s more, property managers have tested and proven marketing techniques that will get your property rented out in no time. If you need help with your vacant rental unit, contact Innovative Property Solutions today by dialing (904) 321-9020. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about our property management services.

Innovative Property Solutions

8833 Perimeter Park Blvd Suite 301, Jacksonville, FL 32216

(904) 321-9020

Office hours:

Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 5:00pm

Sat - Sun: Closed