Professional squatters are now targeting vacant retail units as the new law making occupation of residential property illegal, displaces the problem onto the high street, warns Simon Broadbent, CEO of Secure Empty Property.

Warning on the dangers of squatting on the High Street

The company has seen a spike of High Street and retail units facing sustained attack from squatters and leaving the owners with significant costs. Once targeting residential property, the police now have powers to evict squatters and illegal occupiers without tenancy agreements from residential property. This has increased pressure on vacant retail units and commercial property initially in London and the South East but increasingly in the Midlands and North West too as a squatting ‘ripple’ moves out from London.

The effects on the property can be devastating. From minor damage to entry doors through to wholesale vandalism of the fixtures and fittings and systematic removal of high value items such as copper cable. This can leave the owner with bills of thousands of pounds. On top of this, the impact upon the business reputation, business interruption, delays in disposal or refurbishment of the property can be business critical.

Property owners forget to check the policy terms of their insurance when a retail or commercial outlet becomes vacant. They may find that after just 30-days, their protection diminishes to only FLEA cover – Fire, Lightening, Explosion, Earthquake and Aircraft perils. So any squatting or vandalism costs come out of the bottom line. Secure Empty Property work with the insurer initially providing a free risk survey to identify risks and provide cost effective solutions to maintain insurance cover. This can range from physical and electronic security through to weekly inspections, isolation of utilities and drain-down of water systems. Sophisticated alarm technology means that even without mains power, the property can be monitored for intruders and smoke 24-hours a day with a fast-response team dispatched to any activation.

Secure Empty Property was set up in 2012 by its Chief Executive Simon Broadbent, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. It now employs 27 people and is the fastest growing business of its type in the UK. The company is backed by Enterprise Ventures, which manages The North West Fund for Venture Capital which in turn is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

The company provides rapid-response security services such as steel shuttering, temporary security and alarms to clients nationwide. Its services help prevent vandalism, squatting, arson and theft from empty properties, and protect landlords against liability for trespassers.

Secure Empty Property Chief Executive Simon Broadbent says, ‘We urge property owners to be pro-active in their approach to squatting risks in vacant property. By involving both the insurer and specialist companies like Secure Empty Property, risk can be mitigated and expensive mistakes avoided’.


For further information contact Andrew Mapstone, Secure Empty Property
Tel: 01372 450 669
Mob: 07871 956 223
Email: andrew.mapstone@secureemptyproperty.com

About Enterprise Ventures
Enterprise Ventures (EV) is one of the leading providers of venture capital, growth capital and loans to small businesses in the UK. We can provide sums from as little as £25,000 up to £2 million for businesses in all sectors and at all stages of development – from funding for start-ups, including management break-outs, to investment for growth or development capital, management buy-outs (MBO) or management buy-ins (MBI), acquisition financings and replacement capital. Enterprise Ventures invested £30 million in 218 transactions in 2014 – equivalent to four investments every working week.  


The North West Fund
The North West Fund is a substantial evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding (from £25,000 to £2 million) to small and medium sized enterprises based in, or relocating to, the North West of England. The Fund addresses an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets. It is one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe and the largest in the UK.

The North West Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the European Commission's Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative – otherwise known as the JEREMIE programme.

The North West Fund is the umbrella name for the seven funds that are available to businesses in the form of debt, equity and quasi-equity. These funds are managed by individual fund managers. Each fund manager has a mandate to invest their allocation into the specific product or sector they manage, by 31st December 2015.

The fund managers are under contract with North West Business Finance Limited (NWBF), which is a private, not for profit company, established to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund.

The North West Fund has now invested over £112m in more than 330 businesses. Further funding has also been earmarked to support these businesses as they grow and many more new investments are planned throughout 2015.

For further information please visit www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk

European structure, JEREMIE
The JEREMIE initiative offers EU Member States, through their national or regional Managing Authorities, the opportunity to use part of their European Union (EU) Structural Funds to finance small and medium-sized enterprises by means of equity, loans or guarantees, through a revolving umbrella fund. The initiative was developed by the European Commission and the European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Investment Bank Group.

JEREMIE provides for a range of debt and equity financial tools to obtain the most appropriate allocation of funds according to national, regional or local requirements.

ERDF in the Northwest
ERDF is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. The current ERDF programme, which is worth €755 million, is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment.

ERDF in the North West is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government – for further information visit https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-and-resources.

The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financing institution and, provides long-term finance for capital projects promoting European economic objectives. The EIB made its first loan in the UK in 1973 and since then has lent around €75bn for investment in the UK economy. In the years from 2004 to 2009, the EIB financed investment in the UK totaling some € 23.5bn - GBP 17.5 billion.

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