The Problems of House Clearances
Posted on 21 September 2016
When leaving a house empty for any period of time it may become a breeding ground for crime.
That probably got your attention. Actually a ‘breeding ground’ is putting it a little too harshly. It’s not that crimes converge on empty houses or that house clearances are advertisements to criminals but it can’t be denied that an empty and unsupervised house does have certain allure. The important things to remember are that you are leaving a house empty and you are getting rid of possessions that could lead to complications like fraud and identity theft.
Emptying a house of all its possessions subtly is another matter really but once the house is empty, there are still things that could be done to make sure the possibilities of crime on the property are kept to an absolute minimum.
Post: The presence of a lot of unopened mail on a property, especially if it’s visible from the road, is a clear indication for an outsider that the house is unoccupied. For this reason it is especially important to make sure that any mail for the house is cancelled or forwarded to a different address. Banks, insurers and other officials should be informed of the death or reason for change of address as standard procedure and mail like this being left behind is especially dangerous because it gives quite a lot of personal information away inside. In order to ensure that you or the person whose house you are clearing is not a victim of fraud, it is essential that you change these addresses and cancel these accounts so that personal and sensitive information cannot fall into the wrong hands.
The other post would be the real giveaway in this sense of an unoccupied house. The build-up of junk mail even is a clear indication that nobody is there to clear things away. A way to try and avoid this might be to make a quick check personally, of the property every week or so if possible and especially at the start of a month because some mailing lists will only send out post on a monthly basis. Once you are aware of the mailing lists you can cancel subscriptions. It might also be worth putting up a ‘no junk mail’ sign on the letterbox so as to try and avoid getting flyers.
Security: Making sure the unoccupied house is secure and well protected is an obvious way to prevent crimes on or against the property and as soon as it is empty a quick run round it to check that all windows, gates, doors etc. are as secure as they can possibly be will hopefully make a big difference. Checking everything with as objective a view as possible is essential because it means that someone who wouldn’t know the property wouldn’t have access. Finally, ask neighbours and try to find out if there are any spare keys floating around. This is not a trust issue; it’s more just scaling down the access options to the property.
Finally, just try to keep the property looking clean from the outside as much as possible. Nothing says abandoned house like overgrown gardens and cobwebs in all the windows.