Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

For landlords, a vacant rental property isn’t just an inconvenience; it can represent a significant financial risk. Every day a property sits empty means potential loss of rental income and exposes the property to various threats. From vandalism to squatters, the risks associated with vacancy can quickly escalate. 

Let’s explore the dangers landlords face when their properties remain unoccupied and discuss strategies for mitigating these risks.

1. Financial Loss

One of the most obvious risks of having a vacant rental property is the loss of rental income. Every month without a tenant means money out of the landlord’s pocket. This loss can be particularly burdensome if the property remains vacant for an extended period. 

Expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance costs continue to accumulate, further exacerbating the financial strain. 


Landlords should prioritize finding new tenants quickly. This may involve new marketing tactics, such as advertising on multiple platforms, offering incentives like reduced rent or move-in specials, and ensuring the property is well-maintained and attractive to potential renters.

2. Property Damage

An empty property is more susceptible to damage than one that is occupied. Vandals, squatters, and even curious trespassers may see a vacant property as an easy target. 


Broken windows, graffiti, and theft are just a few examples of the damage that can occur when a property is left unattended.


Landlords should take proactive measures such as installing security cameras, alarm systems, and motion-sensor lighting. Regular property inspections can also help identify potential issues before they escalate.

3. Decreased Property Value

A vacant rental property can have a negative impact on its overall value. Properties that sit empty for extended periods may become run-down or fall into disrepair, leading to a decrease in value. Neighboring properties may be affected, further diminishing the rental property’s desirability and value.


Landlords should prioritize maintaining their properties, even when they are unoccupied. This includes regular maintenance, landscaping, and addressing any issues promptly.

4. Liability Risks

Vacant properties pose significant liability risks for landlords. Without a tenant in residence, there is a higher likelihood of accidents or injuries occurring on the property. Slip and fall accidents, fires, and other hazards can result in costly lawsuits and legal expenses.


Landlords should ensure their properties are properly secured and maintained. This includes addressing any safety hazards, such as uneven walkways or broken handrails, and carrying adequate insurance coverage.

5. Increased Insurance Costs

When a rental property is vacant, insurance premiums may increase. Vacant properties are considered riskier to insure due to the higher likelihood of damage or vandalism. 


Insurance companies may view vacant properties as more susceptible to issues like water damage, fire, or theft, which can lead to higher premiums or the requirement of specialized vacant property insurance.


Landlords should inform their insurance provider when a property becomes vacant and inquire about any specific requirements or coverage options for vacant properties. They should also take steps to minimize risks, such as installing security systems and conducting regular inspections.

6. Negative Impact on Neighborhood

A vacant rental property can have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Vacant properties may become eyesores or attract unwanted attention, leading to decreased property values and quality of life for nearby residents. 

Vacant properties may become targets for illegal activities such as drug use or squatting, further contributing to neighborhood deterioration.


Landlords should take steps to maintain their properties and minimize their impact on the neighborhood. This may include regular maintenance, addressing safety hazards promptly, and actively seeking tenants to occupy the property.

7. Vandalism

Vacant rental properties are prime targets for vandalism. Vandals may see an empty property as an opportunity for mischief, resulting in damage to the building’s interior and exterior. Common acts of vandalism include graffiti, broken windows, smashed doors, and destruction of fixtures and appliances. 


Not only does vandalism decrease the property’s aesthetic appeal, but it also requires costly repairs and may deter potential tenants.


Landlords should implement security measures such as installing security cameras, motion-sensor lights, and sturdy locks on doors and windows. Maintaining a visible presence by regularly checking on the property and promptly addressing any signs of vandalism can help deter would-be vandals.

8. Squatters

Vacant properties are vulnerable to squatters who unlawfully occupy the premises without permission. Squatting poses significant challenges for landlords, as it can be difficult and time-consuming to remove squatters through legal channels. In some cases, squatters may assert tenant rights, complicating the eviction process and prolonging the property’s vacancy.


Landlords should take proactive measures to secure their properties and make them less attractive targets. This may include boarding up windows and doors, installing security systems, and conducting regular inspections to detect signs of unauthorized occupancy. 

Staying vigilant and promptly addressing any reports of squatters can help prevent prolonged occupation and minimize potential damage to the property.


While having a vacant rental property poses various risks for landlords, these risks can be mitigated with careful planning and proactive measures. By prioritizing tenant acquisition, maintaining the property, and implementing security measures, landlords can minimize the financial and legal consequences of vacancy. 

Staying informed about local market conditions and rental trends can help landlords make informed decisions to keep their properties occupied and profitable. Ultimately, proactive management is key to safeguarding against the risks associated with vacant rental properties.

It’s best to hire a professional property management company to ensure that your property doesn’t stay vacant for too long. Contact Home Choice Property Management to know what we can do to help keep your rental business at its best.