All landlords will face property vacancies at one point or another. A tenant may leave suddenly before the lease expires and you may not have another renter lined up. When this happens, it’s best to find another tenant to occupy your unit right away so you can protect your rental home.

In addition to dealing with financial loss when you aren’t receiving rent payments, you’ll still have to pay for out-of-pocket maintenance costs during the vacancy. Also, vacant units are more at risk when it comes to property damage.

This article will go over the risks associated with both short and long-term vacancies.

Theft and Vandalism

Vacant rentals often attract thieves and vandals. When you don’t have a renter, it’s harder to keep an eye out for tresspassers. If you have a furnished but unoccupied rental home, trespassers may attempt to steal appliances, air conditioning units, and valuable furniture.

Additionally, thieves will often target valuable antique pieces, copper pipes and wires, and aluminum pipes that can be sold for a profit.

Vandals can cause extensive property damage by breaking windows and doors, tagging the property with graffiti, and putting holes in the walls.
what happens to vacant properties
The below actions will help deter thieves and vandals from entering your property:

  • Invest in a good security system and regularly test it from both a remote location and on the property.
  • Install a security camera and a functional alarm.
  • Set up motion sensors to detect activity.
  • Play recorded sounds, such as voices or TV programs, that can fool intruders into thinking there are occupants on a property.


Vacant homes also attract squatters. If no one is renting your property, squatters looking for comfortable shelter may move in. If your rental comes with furnishings, squatters can stay rent-free and use all the conveniences your unit offers.

Squatters can also be a threat since they earn rights to the property after a certain amount of time. Removing squatters from your rental can be difficult and may even require you to file a case at the courts so you can take back possession of your property.

Consider these ideas to keep squatters away:

  • Set up a solid security system where you can track the entry and exit of people passing through your vacant rental.
  • Make sure that all areas of your property can be seen when you install your security system as some intruders might locate your camera and keep out of its line of sight.
  • Invest in an alarm system to alert you of intruders.


Vacant rental homes are at risk of fires since the home’s HVAC systems aren’t being actively used. Your heating system may overheat from the collection of dirt if it’s not being regularly maintained. Faulty wiring and combustible materials located near the heater also pose a risk.

Your vacant property may also be subject to arson. Smokers often hang out near empty properties and may throw away their cigarette without realizing it’s still lit. Other trespassers may bring candles or light fires in various receptacles on the property for light and warmth and forget to put them out.
risks of a vacant rental
Consider the following ways you can prevent fires in your vacant rental:

  • Always look at your security system to detect any intruders.
  • Frequently drop by the vacant rental so any onlookers will be aware that someone is monitoring the property.
  • Attend to landscaping so the property looks well-tended and occupied.
  • Collect mail regularly.
  • Schedule frequent property inspections for electric and heating systems.

Water Damage and Mould

Vacant properties are at risk of water damage. Leaks and broken pipes can occur and, if left unattended, cause extensive damage. Water damage is one of the most expensive kinds of damage to address and repair. If you notice signs of water damage, be sure to find the source of the leak before the issue escalates.

Another side effect of water damage is mould growth. Mould can quickly spread if not taken care of immediately. Mould is also a health hazard and can make your property uninhabitable for renters.
what to do if my rental is vacant
The below strategies will help you prevent water damage:

  • Inspect your plumbing systems and make sure they drain properly.
  • Keep your gutter free from dirt and leaves which can redirect rainwater into the home.
  • Hire a professional to do regular mould inspections and testing.

How to Reduce the Risk of Having a Vacant Rental

One of the best ways for a landlord to protect their property when it’s vacant is to hire an expert property management company! GoodDoors Property Management can minimize the risk of your rental being broken into by thieves, vandals, and squatters. Our team will do everything we can to prevent fires, water damage, and mould.

We will also quickly source a quality long-term tenant for your rental so you can start earning income and maximizing your ROI!

Bottom line

To mitigate problems that can result from a rental vacancy it’s best to market your property immediately. You can engage the services of GoodDoors Property Management.

We provide a full suite of property management services from advertising and tenant screening to rent collection and property maintenance. Contact us today at (306) 994 5475. We offer a free rental analysis and are committed to protecting your investment from theft, vandalism, squatters, fire and water damage, and mould.