January 4

Should You Cover Utility Costs for a Vacant Property?


The rising popularity of serviced apartments attracts guests seeking hotel-like comforts while maintaining their privacy. To stand out among the competition and increase profitability, it’s crucial to enhance your marketing strategies for your multiple properties in town.

Deciding what to do with utilities in a vacant property involves practical considerations to ensure cost-effectiveness and property preservation. Leaving utilities on can create a positive impression for potential buyers, but if the property will be vacant for an extended period, turning them off might be more prudent.

Factors to weigh include the expected duration of vacancy, the costs of unused utility connections, potential hazards like stagnant water, the risk of property damage in unheated conditions, and the increased likelihood of illegal occupancy if utilities are active. The primary goal is to minimize expenses, upkeep the property, and safeguard against issues like break-ins, flooding, and gas leaks.

This guide provides practical advice on managing utilities in a vacant house, offering insights to help you make informed decisions about your empty property.


Managing Utility Costs for an Empty Home

Leaving utilities active in an empty property comes with obvious costs, encompassing monthly network connection fees, standing charges, and estimated usage fees. Even with no actual consumption, there’s a financial aspect to maintaining these utilities. However, disconnecting the supply presents its own set of issues, potentially leading to property deterioration in the absence of heating and light.

To address these challenges, I recommends a balanced approach. This involves minimizing the risk of leaving utilities on by preventing water leaks and fire damage while preserving the property’s condition for future use. Despite standing charges persisting, the overall costs are likely lower than the expenses associated with disconnection and reconnection down the line. Additionally, regular property inspections and risk assessments are advised to promptly address issues like water leaks or dampness, ensuring the property remains in good condition.


Advantages of Draining Down Utilities on a Vacant Property

Disconnecting heating and electricity isn’t the most cost-effective choice, as utility suppliers often charge for disconnection and reconnection. Opting for a professional contractor to isolate the supply without full disconnection is a practical solution, avoiding the hassle and waiting periods associated with restoration.

Draining down water from plumbing pipes is crucial to prevent harmful contaminants and infestations, minimizing the risk of burst pipes in winter. This process involves stopping the water supply at the stopcock and eliminating water from the system, preventing potential damage caused by frozen and expanded water.

Another viable option is to leave your heating running at a low level with an isolated water supply. This approach removes the chance of issues with mildew, mould, and dampness. It provides a balanced solution to maintain property conditions without the excessive costs and risks associated with disconnecting utilities entirely.


Risks Associated With Leaving Connected Utilities

Isolating each utility supply and draining the system proves essential for vacant properties, mitigating various risks:


  1. Live water supplies, if unmonitored, lead to leaks, causing flooding and structural damage.
  2. Pipe explosions from frozen water lines in winter without heating result in costly repairs.
  3. Stagnant water poses health hazards, including the risk of Legionnaires disease.
  4. Unmonitored electricity supplies may spark fires and pose a danger of gas leaks.
  5. Active utilities make empty homes a target for squatters, exploiting free resources.


We recommend full utility isolation and drain-down services for residential and commercial properties. This not only meets insurance requirements but also safeguards the property’s structural integrity by eliminating risks associated with unnecessary utilities.


What to Do With Utilities When House is Vacant?

For houses or commercial properties left vacant for an extended period, opting for utility isolation and draining is a pragmatic choice. Disconnecting utilities can incur unnecessary costs, while reactivating them when needed is swift and uncomplicated.

From both an insurance and liability standpoint, isolating utilities is recommended. Even in vacant properties, the landlord retains responsibility for public injury claims. In case of unauthorized entry leading to injuries from fire, gas, or electricity, the landlord can be held accountable.

Therefore, it’s prudent to isolate all utilities, drain the water, and leave the property in good condition for prompt recommissioning when a new tenant is ready to move in.


Vacant Property Management Services

Efficient management of vacant properties is vital for insurance compliance and asset preservation. This involves clear-and-clean practices, utility isolation, and routine inspections. Our services cater to diverse clients, including government organizations, estate agencies, housing associations, and retail businesses. Complemented by environmental services such as clearance, cleaning, and pest control, we offer a comprehensive range of vacant property management solutions.

Concrete evidence indicates a heightened risk of damage or injury in temporarily vacant properties, like those awaiting sale or refurbishment. In the UK, approximately 9000 fires occur annually in empty buildings. These incidents pose a significant threat to property integrity and occupant safety. Additionally, vacant properties are susceptible to various challenges, including theft of contents or fixtures, vandalism, fly-tipping, and illegal occupation by squatters or travellers. The prevalence of such issues underscores the importance of robust management strategies for unoccupied spaces.

Water damage emerges as a substantial concern, especially when maintenance and repairs are inadequate. Neglected properties are at a higher risk of water-related issues, potentially leading to structural damage and further complications. Our dedicated and trusted management team addresses these multifaceted challenges associated with vacant properties. By proactively managing and mitigating risks, we ensure compliance with insurance requirements, safeguarding both property value and the well-being of the surrounding community.

In navigating the complexities of vacant property management, we provide comprehensive services to various clients, including government organizations, estate agencies, housing associations, and retail businesses. Our expertise extends beyond traditional property management to encompass environmental services such as clearance, cleaning, and pest control. By offering a holistic approach to vacant property management, we contribute to the preservation of property value and insurance compliance, promoting a safer and more secure environment for all stakeholders involved.


  1. Manage alarm activations with keyholding services
  2. Keep your property secure with property checks
  3. Remove waste with vacant property cleaning / clearance


MORE Property blogs HERE: 

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Cashing Out of Buy To Let? Top Places to Make a Quick Sale

Buy-to-let Home Insurance UK

Why Are Buy-to-Let Mortgages Interest Only?

Is Buy-to-Let Still Profitable Today?

A Comprehensive Guide to Buy-to-Let Mortgages

First-Time Buyer’s Guide to Buy-to-Let Mortgages



Advantages of Draining Down Utilities on a Vacant Property, Managing Utility Costs for an Empty Home, Should You Cover Utility Costs for a Vacant Property?, What to Do With Utilities When House is Vacant?

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