6,000Units Under Management
Less Than 1% Eviction Rate
Avg. Time Rental Is on Market 23 Days

How to Protect Your Vacant Rental Property

Do you own a rental home in Baltimore County? If so, you probably know that although the county’s vacancy rate is at an impressive 5.89%, far lower than the state’s average of 6.49%, your home will sit vacant at one point or another for an extended period. That is simply the nature of owning a rental property. What you may not know, however, is how susceptible that vacant property becomes to would-be thieves and acts of vandalism during its vacancy. After all, empty homes are the easiest to break into, and there is usually a relatively low possibility anyone will even notice. Today, we’ll go over several steps to help you protect your vacant rental property. 


7 Steps to Protect Your Vacant Rental Property

Although rental properties can be great investments, they can quickly become security nightmares if you do not take the necessary steps to safeguard them.


Costly property damage can put you back thousands of dollars. Replacing stolen appliances can dent your pocket even more. And let’s not forget the loss in rental profits you will experience while repairing your home so that it is livable again.

It is important that you understand the loss that can occur by not properly protecting your vacant rental property. Luckily, there are several things you can do to protect your investment property from a break-in.

  1. Ask Your Neighbors for Help
  2. Maintain Signs of Activity
  3. Use Cameras or Alarm Systems
  4. Visit the Property Often
  5. Screen Potential Tenants
  6. Use Online Advertising
  7. Get Vacancy Insurance Coverage

Ask Your Neighbors for Help

If you know your rental home will be vacant for some time, consider asking your neighbors to keep an eye on the property for you.

This is especially easy in tight-knit communities where people tend to know each other or neighborhoods with a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Ask them to report any suspicious people or noises to you or the authorities, and be sure to thank them with a small gift around the holidays or by letting them park their car in your extra space.

Maintain Signs of Activity

You can do plenty of small things to make it appear as though a tenant is living in your vacant rental.

  • Keep up on your yard’s landscaping – Lawn maintenance and tree care should be one of your first priorities when protecting your vacant rental. An unkempt lawn is the first sign that no one lives on your property. Mow the lawn, trim the trees and shrubs, watch for trash in the yard, and fix broken sprinklers. If your rental property is in between tenants for now, grooming the yard should be handled anyway to maximize your ROI by placing a high-quality tenant in it. Plus, it will make your neighbors happy.
  • Light up the exterior – Consider installing motion sensor lights on the exterior of your home to deter criminals from breaking into your vacant home in the dead of night. It is also recommended that you install timed lights on the exterior of your home. If you simply leave the porch light on 24 hours a day, it will become evident to someone scoping out your vacant property that it is indeed vacant.
  • Use your window coverings – This gives the appearance someone is home. Try leaving the downstairs ones closed and the upstairs ones open.
  • Regularly inspect the property – Check all locks on your home, including the garage door and all windows.
  • Get an alarm – A security alarm will add peace of mind, knowing someone will be alerted should anyone attempt to break in. Further, you can post signage around your home that your property is armed to prevent attempts.

Use Cameras or Alarm Systems

Using outdoor security cameras, lights, or alarm systems is a great way to ensure your property stays safe when nobody’s living there. Most modern security systems allow you to access footage from your smartphone so you can see what’s going on at your property at all times. 

Depending on your chosen security system, if someone tries to break in, the system will notify you immediately. That way, you can check right away to see who’s breaking in, giving you proof and evidence to show the authorities. 

Visit the Property Often

Visiting your vacant property regularly will do two things for you. First, it will give the impression to anyone watching that someone lives in the property.

Second, it will allow you to inspect the home for any signs of a forced break-in or property damage. You’ll want to check all locks and look for broken windows.

Make sure you visit often and never on a regular schedule. Always showing up on a Saturday morning will tip off anyone watching that you do not reside there.

Screen Potential Tenants

Though you should be using Baltimore County’s best property management company around, if you have potential tenants contacting you directly regarding your vacant rental that is available, be aware of how much information you divulge.


Compromising specific details about your vacant rental over the phone to a stranger may set your home up for a break-in.

If you own an investment property in regions such as Dundalk or White Marsh try taking advantage of Bay Property Management Group’s thorough tenant screening process to avoid handing your vacant property over to a thief.

Use Online Advertising

If your rental property is in Catonsville or Towson, you undoubtedly experience more turnover than the average landlord. Though not your fault, these student-populated areas have an influx of tenants moving through town regularly.

It would seem easiest to place a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window or yard of your vacant rental to advertise that the property is available. Yet this only signals to those wanting to break in that you are not around and the home is free to rummage through.

Try using Bay Property Management Group for marketing your available rental home. Not only will your property be exposed to the best tenants Maryland has to offer, but they can get your property leased quickly so it does not stay vacant for long.

Get Vacancy Insurance Coverage

Understanding the insurance coverage you have on your home, especially while it is vacant, is essential.


While Baltimore County defines vacant as “…any unoccupied structure that is unsafe or unfit for human habitation or other authorized use,” your insurance company may have a different definition and not cover you in the event of robbery or vandalism to your ‘vacant’ property.

Insurance companies typically allow 30-60 days for the owner to find another tenant before canceling the primary coverage policy. After the allotted time to find a new tenant expires, your insurance company may deem the property ‘vacant’ and require an additional, often more expensive policy to cover damages incurred while the home is unoccupied.

Check with your insurance company so that you are adequately covered if the unthinkable happens.

Protect Your Rentals With BMG

Living in a place such as Parkville may offer you extremely low turnover rates because tenants tend to lease for longer periods of time while they raise their families. However, tenants do move at some point and will leave you with a vacant rental. By heeding the actionable tips mentioned above, your vacant rental property will be better protected and less likely to incur costly damages due to break-ins and vandalism.

But do you want to better your odds of having a protected vacant rental?

Consider Bay Property Management Group for all of your property management needs. We pride ourselves in quick rentals through our dedicated property marketing. So, chances are your rental home will not be vacant for long anyway.

Need More Advice? contact us today!

In addition, Bay Property Management Group provides you with a whole host of other management services after leasing your property to give you peace of mind that everything is taken care of. We offer services througout Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. So, if you’re looking for comprehenisve rental management in these areas, contact BMG today to learn more.