A large number of residential properties are standing empty, mainly due to economic issues that have been created by the pandemic. In popular coastal areas such as Cape Town, for example, homes that belong to overseas holidaymakers are unoccupied while in other parts landlords are struggling to find tenants who can afford to pay rent.
“Whatever your unique situation might be, there are easy ways in which you can make sure that your property will be safe and secure while it stands empty, whether it ends up being for a few days or weeks or even months. Your insurance company will also have some specific requirements which must be followed,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity ADT.
A great place to start, she says, is by getting to know the neighbours.
“The people living next door will be the first ones to see if anything is wrong, for example, a broken window or signs of unauthorised entry. Speak to them and make sure that they have your contact details. The same can be said for making contact with a body corporate if your property happens to be in a block of flats.”
The next step is to focus on the perimeter.
“Start with the border wall and check that there are no holes in the fence or other easy ways for would-be criminals to gain access to your property. Lock all outside gates, doors, and windows, and give some consideration to using an electric fence or a beam alarm that is linked to an armed response company. Draw the curtains, and also consider installing a light system that is linked to a timer which can help create the impression that someone is home,” says Hattingh.
Step three, she adds, is to cancel deliveries and take care of the garden.
“It is very easy for a property to look unoccupied if the newspapers start piling up outside the front door or if the lawn starts growing out of control.”
Hattingh also recommends that home owners alert their armed response companies about properties that will be standing empty for an extended period of time.
“By letting us know that no one will be home, we can ask our armed response officers to keep a lookout for any suspicious activity in and around your property. It also means that we will know exactly who to contact in an emergency, especially if we need to gain access to your home as quickly as possible.”
*Article sourced from My Property*