No matter how good you are at marketing your property, there will be times when your rental is vacant. During these times, your property will run a higher risk of theft and property destruction. While the prospect of this happening can be terrifying, there are several steps you can take to protect your investment:

Switch the Locks

You legally need to change the lock between tenants for security purposes to begin with. For suggestions on how to do that, look here. However, it is better to get that done sooner rather than later. There is no way to tell if extra copies of the key were made and what hands it may have gotten into.

Leave the Lights On

While this may go against the desire to go green, leaving lights on is one of the easiest ways to deter potential burglars from targeting your property. Something as simple as keeping the porch and living room lights on will give the feeling that someone is home. It’s also a good idea to go in and switch which lights are turned on every once in a while to give the appearance of actual tenants in the building.

Security Systems

Lights are a good start, but they can’t alert you or the authorities if the property is broken into. Installing a security system can help you respond to a threat to your investment more quickly than if a neighbor notified you or if you had found the house broken into while checking on the property. Having a security system in place is not only a good idea for when there aren’t tenants renting the property, but can be a selling point for marketing to new tenants.

Checking In

As great as security systems are, they can only help you once something has already happened. There is no better preventative step you can take than stopping by the property. There is the chance that someone looking to take advantage of an empty property will scout the location beforehand; if they see that someone is looking after it they will be less likely to follow through. Because of this, it is also important to check in on the property at random times rather than on a schedule because if the house is always empty between certain hours, burglars will have a solid time frame of when the break in.

Let Neighbors Be Nosy

You don’t always want to have nosy neighbors, but when the property is vacant, letting them know it’s a good idea to let the neighbors know that it would be appreciated if they could keep an eye on the property. They are likely to appreciate knowing when a house on their street is vacant and for how long. Make sure to let them know you are stopping by the property regularly to make sure your neighbors don’t feel like you are leaving your job to them.