Property Management Blog

Risks of Having a Vacant Rental Property

Kyle - Friday, July 21, 2023
Property Management Blog

In the world of property management, vacancies are an unfortunate reality that landlords sometimes face. While it may be tempting to brush off the importance of filling these vacancies quickly, doing so can expose your property to a myriad of risks. 

At Tucson Foothills Management and Realty, we understand the potential dangers associated with leaving rental properties vacant for extended periods. Below are the various risks involved and insights on how to safeguard your investment.

Theft & Vandalism

An empty canvas for miscreants, vacant properties can be a magnet for thieves and vandals looking for an easy opportunity. Valuable appliances, air conditioning units, and furnishings can vanish in the blink of an eye. Copper wires, aluminum pipes, and even antique pieces become fair game for these opportunistic criminals. 

Vandals may take pleasure in spray-painting walls, leaving graffiti, and defacing your property for their own amusement. Unfortunately, these activities will result in a devaluation of your property and injecting losses into your investment.

To safeguard against such threats, consider implementing these measures:

  • Install a robust security system with remote monitoring capabilities
  • Deploy functional alarms and security cameras
  • Utilize motion sensors and timed lighting
  • Simulate occupancy by leaving recorded sounds, such as a blaring television, to create the illusion that the unit is occupied


Unwanted guests taking up residence in uninhabited rental units, especially those furnished and rent-ready, can attract unwelcome squatters. These individuals may take advantage of the vacant property, living rent-free while utilizing appliances and furnishings. In some cases, they might even allow others to cohabitate and collect rent from them. 

house under construction

Dealing with squatters can be a legal nightmare. Once they establish certain rights, removing them from your property becomes a complicated and time-consuming process. 

To minimize the risk of squatters:

  • Install a comprehensive security system that provides visibility throughout the entire property
  • Conduct frequent visits to the vacant property to give the impression of occupancy
  • Maintain impeccable landscaping to avoid the appearance of abandonment
  • Collect junk mail regularly to create the illusion of an inhabited property
  • Refrain from leaving your property unattended for extended periods without inspection


Vacant properties are particularly susceptible to fires due to the absence of tenants actively using the home's systems. Poorly maintained heating systems can accumulate dirt and lead to overheated motor systems. Additionally, combustible materials left near the heater can result in a devastating fire explosion. 

Arson is another concerning risk. Whether accidental or intentional, fires can be sparked by intruders or individuals smoking near the property. Even forgetfulness, such as leaving candles unattended, can turn a vacant property into a potential inferno.

To prevent fire-related incidents:

  • Regularly check your security system for signs of intruders that could turn out to be arsons
  • Remove potential ignition sources by unplugging appliances and ensure electrical cords are intact
  • Avoid leaving flammable materials such as cleaning agents or paint cans on the premises
  • Schedule frequent inspections by qualified professionals to check heating, electrical, and plumbing systems and identify potential fire hazards

Water Damage & Mold

An unseen menace lurking in the shadows, water damage, stemming from leaks or broken pipes, can wreak havoc on a vacant property. This type of damage represents a significant financial burden for landlords. 

Additionally, excessive rainfall or moisture intrusion can create an ideal environment for mold growth, transforming your rental property into a health hazard and rendering it uninhabitable.

Detecting leaks and water damage in a vacant home can be challenging, as problems may only become apparent when new tenants move in. This can lead to inconvenience for the new occupants and substantial financial strain for you.

To prevent water damage and mold growth:

  • Ensure your plumbing system is drained to mitigate the risk of leaks
  • Monitor the settings of your air conditioning unit, as mold can thrive in damp environments

Minimizing the Risks of a Vacant Rental Property: 

Investing in a Property Manager:

One of the most effective ways to minimize the risks associated with a vacant rental property is to enlist the services of a professional property management company. 

Hiring a property manager, such as Tucson Foothills Management and Realty, provides you with the expertise and resources necessary to safeguard your investment. Our team specializes in overseeing vacant properties, effectively mitigating potential threats such as theft, vandalism, water damage, and fire.

Our thorough inspections upon move-in and move-out ensure that any maintenance issues are promptly addressed, reducing the likelihood of damage going unnoticed. Additionally, we can implement security measures, such as installing surveillance cameras, alarms, and motion sensors, to deter potential intruders and vandals. 

person holding

With remote monitoring capabilities, we can keep a close eye on your property, giving you peace of mind knowing that it is being protected.

Attracting Long-Term Tenants

Another effective strategy to minimize the risks associated with a vacant rental property is to attract long-term tenants. When you have reliable and responsible tenants who stay in your property for an extended period, you significantly reduce the chances of encountering vacant units and the associated risks they pose.

To attract long-term tenants, it is essential to provide a well-maintained and desirable rental property. Ensure that your vacant unit is thoroughly cleaned, any necessary repairs or updates are made, and the property is in excellent condition. 

You will also need to perform some due diligence on the market to determine the optimal rental price that attracts quality tenants who are committed to long-term leases.

Comprehensive tenant screening is the key to getting long-term tenants. Prospective tenants must undergo a comprehensive screening process to verify their creditworthiness, rental history, and background checks. By carefully selecting tenants who are reliable and financially stable, you minimize the risk of rental defaults, evictions, and unexpected vacancies.

Furthermore, prioritize open communication with tenants to foster a positive landlord-tenant relationship. Addressing any concerns or maintenance requests promptly helps create a sense of satisfaction and encourages tenants to remain in the property for an extended period. 

Bottom Line

Do you feel overwhelmed by the tips pointed out above? Landlords in the area put their trust in Tucson Foothills Management and Realty. We have the expertise and experience of handling a plethora of property management issues. By providing exceptional tenant services, we increase the likelihood of lease renewals, minimizing the vacancy risk.

Get in touch with us today.