What are the risks associated with leaving your properties empty?
Posted on May 6, 2020.
As a property owner, there are many factors to consider regarding your portfolio, especially when one or more of your buildings become empty. In order to get ahead of potential issues, you might well ask yourself questions like, ‘What do I need to do in terms of health and safety?’, ‘How do I best secure the property?’ and ‘How much is this all going to cost me?’
We know that properties can become vacant for any reason and for varying amounts of time so for your piece of mind and to preserve the integrity of the building, the above questions need to be answered.
Identifying potential risks associated with the lack of occupancy in a property is the quickest way to do that. Here are the top associated risks as identified by GGM’s security and management experts.
Health and Safety
Keeping compliance documents up to date as well as ensuring all necessary checks and assessments are done on the property is the best way to ensure continued onsite safety. The following assessments should always be considered and carried out where necessary to protect anyone who enters:
- Fire Risk Assessment
- Asbestos Risk Assessment
- Gas Safety Check
- Electrical Safety Test (NIC)
- Legionella Risk Assessment
- Security Risk Assessment
Theft can be isolated to the non-fixed items in a building such as furniture and appliances. However, more commonly, it extends to the more expensive fittings like metal piping, boilers and and roof tiles which can be far more costly to replace.
To many property owners, a building’s monetary value is its primary value. Once a site becomes vacant it is very easily dragged down by the antisocial behaviour it inevitably attracts. Squatting, arson and graffiti can all mean the property becomes less desirable and therefore less valuable.
Squatters have legal rights to remain in situ within commercial properties without an occupant attached to said property. Removing squatters once they have legally occupied your premises, without your permission, is a long and painful journey that could take months and thousands of pounds to resolve.
The financial costs associated with empty properties can be astronomical once factoring in security, necessary risk assessments and possible squatter removal. Having a site sat empty also costs a great deal of time and effort to manage and secure. That is on top of everything else that needs to be done to progress the property onto the next stage of its life, be that sale, redevelopment or re-letting .
A local community should care about its buildings, especially those that are vacant and, in our experience, they usually do. It only takes one incident of property breach or antisocial behaviour to create a very negative opinion amidst local residents. If a more serious issue arises such as a fire then people’s lives are at risk and this can be a very strong catalyst for a public relations nightmare.
In order to best mitigate the above risks, you must find a solution that provides the peace of mind you need. There are many security and management solutions available , many of them static and reactionary rather than proactive and socially conscious.
Property Guardianship is the best way to secure and manage your vacant property, from the onsite occupational security element, to the full safety assessments packages on offer.
At Global Guardians, we provide ‘safe hands’ solutions that will mitigate all of the above risks, provide you peace of mind and protect your investment.
If you would like to find out more please call us today on 0203 818 9100 (option 3) and one of our dedicated experts will be here to assist you