leaving a flat empty for six months - precautions?

(21 Posts)
Playduh Wed 01-Jun-16 11:25:27

Any advice?

If you were leaving your flat empty for the second half of the year (back home in Jan), what would you do to keep it from getting musty / damp / pipe problems etc?

May be able to get someone to drop in on it every couple of months but nothing guaranteed.

Thanks in advance!

cozietoesie Wed 01-Jun-16 12:52:38

What sort of flat is it? (Eg old/new, part of a massive block with management and lots of neighbours or the upper half of a remote property with no neighbours, etc etc etc.)

Playduh Wed 01-Jun-16 12:54:45

London, so loads of neighbours but not all friendly. Not managed.

Playduh Wed 01-Jun-16 12:55:09

And prewar.

Keithyoustink Wed 01-Jun-16 12:56:32

You need to check your insurance - there may be a clause about leaving your house empty for 30+ days. I had a massive insurance claim when a mains pipe burst in the loft of my house while I was on holiday - one of the first things they asked for was proof of my departure and return dates.

Alanna1 Wed 01-Jun-16 13:15:33

In your shoes, I'd probably let it at mate's rates to a friend. Six months is a good length of time - I imagine you could find someone who'd be very happy to look after it for you for in return for covering your overheads on it. Or you could rent it through Foxtons or similar for short-term lets. I think leaving it empty for 6 months is rather sad in the face of London's housing crisis (as well as likely to be in breach of your insurance, with a chance of a burst pipe in a pre-war build with nobody checking over winter).

Var123 Wed 01-Jun-16 13:52:51

switch off the electricity at the mains and unplug everything
Give everything a good clean before you leave
dust sheet everything
redirect your mail (you do not want it piling up behind the door)
switch off the water and run the taps until the tank is empty
empty the fridge/ freezer and leave the doors wedged open
Pay standing charges in advance (so as to avoid disconnection)
put bleach into the drains and leave
get rid of dried foods like cereals
double lock and leave a key and your/ your Mum's contact phone number with a trusted neighbour

cozietoesie Wed 01-Jun-16 14:37:04

The insurance cover is a big one. You'll almost certainly, as the flat isn't managed, be uncovered for both contents and buildings if the absence is for six months. Check your policy.

You could be lucky and have absolutely nothing happen but the consequences of bad fortune could be large.

thatsn0tmyname Wed 01-Jun-16 14:39:54

My boyfriend left his flat empty whilst he moved in with me on a trial basis. I would recommend timers on the lights and regular weekend visits to air the flat and clear the pizza leaflets out from behind the front door.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jun-16 14:44:05

Honestly, I really think you need to have a rethink.

You definitely need to sort out your insurance, but you also need someone to checkup on the flat regularly - as a PP suggested yoj could let it out on a short term let.

InTheSandPit Wed 01-Jun-16 14:52:01

Get it insured properly! You may find this very difficult if you can't find someone to pop in once a month.

Consider letting it, if you can clear all your stuff out.

Keep the heating on to ensure you don't get caught by a cold snap.

cozietoesie Wed 01-Jun-16 15:12:48

Are there companies who might take over the management of an empty property? I don't know of any personally but I have a feeling that there ought to be.

cozietoesie Wed 01-Jun-16 15:16:11

Actually, a quick internet search tells me that there are - I just haven't had to use one myself so don't know of any pitfalls.

notagiraffe Wed 01-Jun-16 15:17:19

I'd rent it out on a short term fixed contract on low rent to someone who isn't likely to become a problem to get rid of (e.g. foreign students on a short term language course or people renting while they try to buy in the area etc.)

JaneAustinAllegro Wed 01-Jun-16 15:19:17

Let it for short term rentals through one of the Air BnB type agencies who have a cleaning service etc that goes with it. few nights here and there (normally needs to be in a good location / well furnished for them)

Keithyoustink Wed 01-Jun-16 15:56:17

If you are going to let out the property you will need to get permission from your mortgage provider and inform your insurer.

Toohardtofindaproperusername Wed 01-Jun-16 19:50:22

I know a young person who desperately needs a place in London while she does a year masters. She would love something on a basis of " very reduced rent In exchange for her looking after your flat -" suits both of you kind of e X change. As long as you can find the right Person this would be much better than empty flat for six months surely?

Playduh Wed 01-Jun-16 20:17:09

Can't let it as there's a small but significant possibility that the six months won't be six months, so it will be needed back asap.

Good point about the insurance, will check.

Iflyaway Wed 01-Jun-16 22:08:41

Got a friend of a friend type thing that needs somewhere to base from while looking for something else while you can come back whenever?

Yes, insurance check before you go!

flyingintheattic Wed 01-Jun-16 23:52:49

Be very careful with renting out, even just letting someone use it. There are responsibilities involved which will be hard to take care of while away and when you come back it can take months to evict.

cozietoesie Thu 02-Jun-16 00:22:13

That's why I was musing about possibly using a company that 'supervises' vacant properties. It might cost - how much I have no idea - but at least you'd know that you could return to a place 'as was' and to your own timescale. (Or, presumably, have legal redress if you couldn't.)

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