I'm a long time reader (or stalker depending on your point of view!!) but have only just joined. I've looking for some general advice / opinions on leaving my house unoccupied. The situation is as follows:
I'm married with 3 children.
Husband and I own our house (with a mortgage) in Wicklow. In November my husband was offered a new job in Canada which he has accepted and now we are in the process of packing up etc. We are leaving in mid February.
We had considered renting out the house but have ultimately decided against that as we would be concerned getting a bad tenant, damage to the house, non payment of rent and not being able to get rid of the tenant if it came to that!!
So our plan at the moment is to leave the house unoccupied for now and then in about 1 year we would know whether we want to remain in Canada or not and then either sell it or return home again.
If the house is unoccupied would we need a different type of house insurance? If so, what type?
We will be keeping an electricity supply at the house would it be better to remain with Electric Ireland and continue paying by direct debit or would a pre pay provider be better? I have checked online and it appears that you can top up via an app from anywhere in the world.
We would keep the house heated via the oil timer. How many hours a day would the heat need to be on? It's a 4 bedroom semi-detached house. What would be the best way to have the timer set up i.e come on a a set number of hours in one go or stagger them through out the day / night?
What type of alarm should we get?
The furniture and household appliances will be remaining in the house, should they be covered?
Anything else that I should consider when leaving the house unoccupied?
Other information which may or may not be relevant to the thread - we purchased the house during the property crash and as a result we have a very small mortgage. We're paying just under €250 per month which is the only reason we have the option of leaving the house unoccupied. If we were to sell the house now we would make a nice profit, however we don't want to do that yet as if Canada doesn't work out for us we would be paying very high rents on our return or taking out a much larger mortgage.
My family live nearby so they will be key holders and will regularly check on the house for us. It's a small estate of approximately 75 houses. It's nice and quite and there has never been any issues in the estate (fingers crossed!).
Any advice / opinions gratefully received
You will need a specific type of insurance as most regular home policies stipulate that your home is not unoccupied for more than 30 days per year.
I insured an unoccupied house with this company, their quote was lower than any others I could find, but be aware, insuring an unoccupied house is a lot more expensive than an occupied one for obvious reasons.
Thanks for your reply. Would you remember the name of the insurance company you used? (I don't know if you're allowed to mention companies by name on boards, so if not sorry!!)
Ah sorry, meant to post link.
Have you a sibling or cousin or similar to could live in it while you are gone?
Realistically I would examine renting it. Or at least a family member living there.
You would be throwing money away for a year . But also leaving the house vunerable.
Of the handful of bad tenant stories you read on boards there are hundreds of thousands of good tenants these boards cast a bad light on renting.
My buddy rented a house from his partners sister in law for a year whilst they saved for their own home.she also went to Canada. And recently decided to sell the house up. My buddy has closed on their own home nearby.
Hi, I have a friend in a similar position to yourself, he didn't want the hassle of renting out the house so he has a friend who he knows and trusts living in the house rent free. So the house is looked after, the lad staying in the house covers all the bills etc and gets a free house for a while, 2 years at this stage. It's an option if you know someone who might fit the bill and is renting somewhere.
Op I understand completely your rationale. Renting out your home is very different from renting out a property bought specifically for that purpose. The items in your home are much more valuable both emotionally and financially. Also, if the move doesn't work out, then you have to option of moving straight back into your house. The worst case scenario is that you move home and either can't get the tenant out, the tenant knowing you are abroad stops paying rent, or the tenant trashes your belongings. If you can afford it, leave it unoccupied, you'll be able to come home and use it in the summer.
Would you think about a house sitter? If you use one of the main house sitting websites you can choose someone with references from other assignments they have been on. Much like Airbnb they would have no rights to remain in your house should you choose to terminate.
Plenty of people would give their right arm for free rent for a year. You get peace of mind that the house is kept in order and you also have the flexibility of asking them to temporarily leave if you want to come back for holidays in between.
Is there any way you can find a ‘caretaker’, a trusted person who could live in the property, perhaps just paying for the utilities? This person would have no rights as a tenant.
One part of this is that it is a pity to leave a house vacant at a time like this when there is such a shortage.
It is also just hard to guarantee the safety of a house that is completely unoccupied.
It’s also very risky leaving a house empty for a year. The empty property will be noticed and could be targeted. I think it would be best if you could get a family member or close friend to live in there, at least part-time
Thank you everyone for your replies.
My brothers and sisters all have their own houses and the oldest of my nieces and nephews is only 15 so that rules them out!! Of my cousins the few that I would be close with are not currently in need of a house. On my husbands side he is an only child as was his father and his mother had only one sister and she and her family live in Australia. So they are also ruled out.
Just so we look at all our options, if we were to look at using a caretaker would there be any tax liability on us? How would you find someone looking for such an arrangement? Also, would a estate management company take care on an empty house - the thought has just popped into my head?
They'd probably rent the place out.
Is your house near anything nice? Maybe check with your insurance company if it'd class AirBnB lettings as having your house "occupied"?
If it were empty for a year, a certain group may drain your oil tank dry, and may take all the copper in your house whilst they're doing it.
Could you find someone brought work who might benefit from living in the house?
You are understandably nervous about this and the best thing is to find someone suitable through people you know.