How to secure an unoccupied property

As a property owner, you could find that your property becomes unoccupied for an extended period of time. Whether it's because you've gone on the holiday of a lifetime, are working away from home, having the renovation of your dreams or are in-between tenants, you need to ensure that your unoccupied property is as secure and protected as it can be.

Unoccupied properties can attract all kinds of headaches. When a property is vacant it is more enticing to thieves, vandals, squatters, fire, arson - the list is endless. So, it's important you are aware how to best protect your property during vacant periods.

Unoccupied property - Guardcover's top security tips

1. Let there be light!

A dark house is an invitation for a burglar. Set lights to go on and off using timer switches so they illuminate at different times - upstairs and downstairs and in the hallways. A lit home looks like a lived-in home.

2. Ask your neighbours for help

One of the most effective ways of protecting your home is to enlist the help of a friendly neighbour who you have a trusting relationship with. Let your neighbour know you will be away and ask them to periodically stop by your home whilst you aren't there. Not only can they report anything unusual to you, they can also keep an eye out for things such as burst pipes and catch any potential problems early on.

3. Renovating your property? Don't allow tradesman to leave tools

If you're having work carried out on your unoccupied property, don't allow tradesman to leave their tools behind after a day's work, unless it's absolutely necessary. By allowing tools to be left behind, you're making the property more attractive for intruders and burglars to break in and cause damage.

4. Remember your outbuildings

Houses can have several outbuildings including garages and sheds. And within these can be a variety of valuable tools, equipment and belongings. Some could even be used to enter your residence by a burglar, or may just attract those who want to break-in and steal your valuables. Make sure your outbuildings are locked securely and firmly anchored - particularly if your garage provides access to the inside of your home.

5. Empty bins and remove waste

Having overgrown shrubs or weeds and leaving waste such as everyday rubbish bins and litter makes your property an advert for vandals, thieves and other intruders. Clearing things like overgrown shrubs, will also help to remove any potential hiding place for intruders. A property that looks lived in is less likely to attract unwanted visitors.

6. No entry!

It sounds like a simple thing, but it's important to make sure all windows and doors (including those on your outbuildings) are securely locked. So, when you're rushing off on that business trip or holiday of a lifetime, make this an item to add to your checklist before you go.

7. Keeping up appearances

Burglars and thieves are always on the lookout for signs that a home or property is unoccupied. Ensure you ask the post office to hold your mail until you get back, or ask that helpful neighbour to collect it regularly for you.

8. Install a good alarm and CCTV system

Having a home security system is one of the best lines of defence against intruders whether you are home or away. With today's evolving technology, alarm and CCTV systems are sophisticated enough to send you any activity directly to your phone or mobile device. This provides you with the peace of mind that you can check on your property at any time - whether you are abroad, at work, or just down the road.

The key thing to remember is that any property can be a magnet to intruders, but if you make it a priority to ensure that your unoccupied property is secured and checked on, you should deter any unwelcome activity from taking place.