Leaving a house unoccupied for an extended period requires careful consideration and planning to ensure the property remains secure and well-maintained. Whether you’re going on an extended holiday, a business trip, or considering leaving a property unoccupied for any other reason, this guide will provide you with essential information on how long you can leave a house empty in the United Kingdom and the necessary steps to protect your property during your absence.

 

What Is Empty Property Insurance?

Before leaving a house unoccupied, it is crucial to review your insurance policy. Most standard home insurance policies have a clause that limits coverage if the property remains empty for an extended period, typically exceeding 30 consecutive days. Contact your insurance provider and discuss your plans to ensure appropriate coverage or explore options for empty property insurance.

Short-Term Vacancy

If you plan to leave your house empty for a short duration, such as a vacation, most insurance policies will cover your property for up to 30 days. However, informing your insurance provider about your absence is recommended to avoid any potential issues. 

Extended Absence

If your property is unoccupied for more than 30 days, you should notify your insurance provider, as they may require additional coverage. Depending on your policy, insurers may offer various options, such as unoccupied property insurance or vacant property insurance.

 

Notify Key Parties Of An Empty House

Before leaving your house empty, there are several people who you’ll need to inform of your absence. 

Neighbours

Inform trusted neighbours about your absence, providing them with your contact information. They can keep an eye on your property, report any suspicious activity, and assist in case of emergencies.

Postal Services

Arrange for post redirection or ask a neighbour to collect your mail. An overflowing mailbox is a sign that a property is vacant, attracting unwanted attention.

Utility Providers

Inform your utility providers about the duration of your absence to prevent any billing issues. Consider shutting off non-essential services or installing timers for lights to give the impression that the property is occupied.

 

How To Ensure Property Maintenance

Just because you’re going away doesn’t mean your house no longer needs looking after: keep reading as we outline how you can ensure your property can stay in top shape during your absence.

Security Measures

Ensure all doors, windows, and other entry points are secure. Install robust locks, consider a burglar alarm system, and activate motion-sensor outdoor lighting to deter potential intruders.

Regular Inspections

Arrange for a trusted friend, family member, or a professional property management company to conduct regular inspections. They can check for any maintenance issues, water leaks, or other problems that might arise during your absence.

Heating and Plumbing

In colder months, maintain a minimum temperature to prevent freezing pipes and potential water damage. Consider draining the water system if the property will remain unoccupied for an extended period.

Garden Maintenance

Arrange for someone to mow the lawn, trim hedges, and maintain the garden to avoid an unkempt appearance that may attract attention.

 

Financial Considerations For Leaving An Empty House

There are even a few financial considerations to leaving your property extended for a period of time, so make sure you check thoroughly that you won’t incur any financial consequences for leaving your home empty.

Mortgage Provider

Notify your mortgage provider about your plans to leave the property unoccupied for an extended period. Some mortgage agreements may have specific conditions related to property occupancy, and breaching them may have financial consequences.

Council Tax

Contact your local council to discuss the possibility of a reduced council tax rate or exemption for an unoccupied property. Each council has its own rules and regulations regarding this matter.

Leaving a house empty in the UK requires careful planning and consideration to protect your property and comply with insurance requirements. Whether it’s a short-term vacation or an extended absence, inform your insurance provider, secure the property, and arrange for regular maintenance and inspections. Following these guidelines lets you enjoy peace of mind knowing your unoccupied property remains secure and well-maintained until your return.