Squatters have been singled out as a major headache for property managers and owners, leading to an increase in agencies and landlords turning to insurance to cover any potential shortfalls.
Building insurance has been tipped as the best way to cover a rental income should a property become damaged or destroyed and work required to make it liveable. Such building insurance can cover a vacancy from between one week to a year.
Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella said she has delt with situations where a squatter has broken doors and windows to force entry into a property, punched holes in walls, ripped up carpet and sprayed graffiti throughout.
“Depending on the circumstances, there may be a delay between a squatter leaving the property and the property being re-let again, which can result in additional costs for the landlord,” Ms Parrella said.
“If your property is vacant, it’s best to give the impression the property is being lived in to keep squatters at bay … unwanted guests may scope out properties that look empty to occupy.
“If a squatter breaks into a vacant rental property and lives there illegally, it can potentially result in damage to the property and subsequent loss of rental income for landlords while the damage is being repaired.”
Ms Parella suggested a number of preventative measures to reduce the risk of squatters, such as fitting security screens and deadlocks, visiting the property regularly and make the property look lived-in.