Vacant or void properties are at risk of being targeted or damaged. Fortunately there are ways to protect your property.
Properties that are left empty, even temporarily, represent a much greater risk than an occupied property and this risk increases the longer the property is vacant.
Empty properties are at risk of some of the more everyday problems that occupation normally prevents.
Flooding and leaks may not be detected as quickly, causing more damage and an increased repair cost. On average, businesses pay upwards of £28000 to repair the damage done by a flood. This doesn't include things like loss of business, damage to relationships with customers/suppliers, and the loss of business assets or stock. The cost increases even further when the water damage isn't detected and dealt with quickly.
Additionally, there is an increased likelihood that your property will be vandalised, occupied illegally (squatters), or suffer fire damage.
Vacant Property Statistics
The most recent statistics state that either in or next to a vacant property, there were over 60 fires a day causing an estimated £3.4 million worth of damage per day. This is compounded by that statistic that 60% of private businesses never recover from a fire.
Squatting has become increasingly common, with statistics showing a 130% increase in the last 6 years, with recent studies suggesting over 20000 people squatting in properties throughout the UK. Legal costs to remove squatters usually start from about £5000 and cleanup can range upward from £1500, more if there has been significant damage to or theft from the property, with 'metal stripping' becoming more common.
So I understand the risks of leaving a property empty, what's the solution?
The best way to protect your property, both physically and in terms of its value, is a combination of prevention and insurance.
Insurers have much more strict compliance requirements when it comes to empty properties, and Landlords must also comply with various statutory obligations (The Defective Premises Act and Occupiers Liability). The cost of an insurance premium can also be reduced by choosing the right level of protection.
To ensure you meet all requirements (statutory and insurer), and prevent damage to your property, it's important that:
- access points are properly protected, controlling access to the property.
- intruder alarms are installed (preferably one that can operate separately to mains power)
- remote verification of system activation is available
- 24/7 alarm monitoring, operating in accordance with BS 5979 and is NSI Gold accredited
- the remote system checks once every 24 hours including low battery checks, ensuring that your property is always covered.
- weekly incident logs are available to the insurer by our Alarm Receiving Centre within 24 hours of request.
- professional key holder services are used as the primary contact in the event of intruder alarm activation, with such company required to be registered to BS.7499 and/or ISO.9000.
The policy may also require:
- Property inspections on a weekly basis
- Isolation of mains power, gas and a full drain-down of water all water systems.
This is where Secure Empty Property can help.
We offer a service that protects your empty property while also ensuring that it is fully compliant and meets your insurance requirements. We can also introduce you to insurance brokers who have a specialist understanding of vacant properties and can offer preferential rates.
For more information, you can visit our advice page, or contact us today.