Whilst remote working is helping the nation maintain its productivity while we beat the virus, leaving your property empty could leave you at risk of crime, property damage or accidents- all of which could cost your business money and cause you infinite hassle. To help you protect your building, even when you’re not there, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 biggest threats to your void property and more importantly, how to mitigate them.
Vacant properties are an attractive target for criminals, even if you’ve emptied out your assets and valuables. Never underestimate the extremes that thieves will go to in order to make a quick buck. Electrical wiring, copper piping and radiators are all considered valuable, and criminals won’t think twice about ripping apart your building and selling it for scrap. Besides break-ins and theft, void properties can also attract vandals and delinquents, who could end up causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to your building, with your business footing the bill for the repairs and cleaning.
Empty properties, whether they’re residential or commercial, are a popular target for squatters. Squatting refers to the practice of occupying or living in an empty or abandoned building without the permission or knowledge of the legal owner. Even though squatting in residential properties was made illegal in 2012, occupying commercial properties is more complicated in the eyes of the law.
According to Gov.UK, being on someone’s non-residential property without their permission is not a criminal offence, but a civil offence, meaning property owners must obtain a court order and issue a claim against the squatters for eviction. If other crimes are being committed on your property such as property damage, stealing or using utilities, this could speed up the process and result in the arrest of the squatters.
Whether caused accidentally or intentionally, fire or flooding can damage your building, leaving you out of pocket and stopping your business or office from reopening when you can. During cold months, void properties are at a real risk of suffering burst pipes and water damage. Water freezes when it expands, causing your pipes to burst and leak out water when the temperatures increase. If the property is unoccupied, it could be days or even weeks until the leak is uncovered. The longer it takes for you to identify and tackle a leak, the more chance there is that the leak will cause serious structural damage.
When it comes to fire damage, it’s likely that such incidents will be caused intentionally by acts of arson or unintentionally by trespassers or squatters lighting fires or candles. Void properties are a popular target for arsonists, with around 60 fires a day occurring in or near vacant or abandoned properties in the UK.
If you’re leaving your property unattended for a short while and decide not to empty your assets, you run the risk of making your business a more attractive target for criminals and losing expensive equipment. For large office buildings, it’s simply not viable to remove all equipment, especially if you plan on returning to the office soon.
If leaving a property empty for a prolonged period, you should notify your insurance company. Depending on the details of your policy, your insurance may be reduced or invalid if your property is classified as unoccupied (typically after 30-45 consecutive days empty). As empty buildings are at a greater risk of crime, damage, and decay, you may need to purchase special unoccupied property insurance to ensure your building (and its contents) are protected.
How to protect your property:
Are you looking for reliable experienced security to protect your void commercial property? Get in touch with Churchill Security today. We can offer:
Churchill Security is a leading cross-industry security company supplying professional and comprehensive security solutions to organisations seeking SIA-licensed Officer, CCTV & Event Security, Key Holding & Alarm Response, Mobile Patrols and Thermal Imaging & People Flow.
To find out more about how Churchill Security can protect your business, contact us today.