Vandalism is the cause of a third (32%) of malicious damage claims to landlord’s properties, an analysis by Direct Line for Business has found.
Police forces across England and Wales investigate 283 incidents of criminal damage to properties every day, the equivalent of one every five minutes.
Criminal damage includes issues such as vandalism, graffiti and even arson.
Sarah Larkin, landlord product manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “The scale of vandalism, arson and property damage across the country is frightening.
“Not only are property owners faced with the cost of repairing damage, there is the emotional stress that a home has been attacked.
“We need the enforcement of tough penalties to discourage people from vandalising properties and ensuring those that commit these crimes feel the full force of the law.”
The highest number of incidents of malicious damage to property in the first half of 2019 were investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service, with 6,014 cases recorded in London.
This was followed by Greater Manchester Police with 5,170 cases investigated and West Yorkshire Police with 4,207.
Former and current tenants are responsible for causing damage to a property in 31% of incidents.
Larkin added: “Landlords can reduce the risk of criminals targeting their properties by installing security measures such as CCTV and motion sensor lighting.
“However, our analysis shows that rogue tenants are also a cause of significant damage to properties.
“To reduce the risk of renting a property to someone that won’t treat it responsibly, landlords should complete comprehensive checks before signing a contract.
“These checks would identify irregularities such as if an individual has any CCJs against them, will confirm their current address, search for any aliases used and verify bank account details amongst other checks.”