Written by: Charlotte Peel on Wednesday 11/04/2018
These are just five of the reasons why it’s crucial to take action to protect your empty property, and quickly secure your asset.
1) Reduction in police numbers
The number of police officers in the UK has reportedly fallen by around 20,000 since 2009, alongside a drop of 40% in Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) patrolling our streets.
This lack of police presence and visibility has removed a deterrent that may have once protected vacant properties, leaving owners exposed to a greater risk of their property being damaged, and incurring financial loss.
2) Rise in homelessness
Government figures show that 4,751 people slept rough in England in 2017, representing a rise of 15% from 2016. Furthermore, between July and September 2017, 15,290 households were categorised as statutorily homeless - an increase of 6% from the previous quarter.
This steep rise in homelessness and rough sleeping numbers places the security of vacant properties at risk. It can also have an adverse impact on the wider community by lowering other property values if a vacant building is vandalised or being used as temporary shelter.
3) Vandalism and arson
The potential for vandalism and fire-setting are significant concerns when a property lies empty. In fact, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) states that “arson is responsible for more than half of the known causes of fire damage in commercial and industrial property.”
4) Asset stripping
Copper piping, the lead from roofs, and other metal fixtures and fittings, are an attractive commodity for thieves, but significant damage can also be done to the property in the process of asset stripping.
The potential for asbestos to be released in older buildings is a serious issue which can lead to expensive remedial action being required from the owner. Even after property repairs have been undertaken, however, thieves may continue to target the building knowing that it’s empty, and stripping it of newly installed metal fixtures.
The legal process of removing squatters from a vacant property can be a costly and lengthy one, as commercial buildings don’t receive the same legal protection as vacant residential property.
Aside from the legal costs of removal, the potential damage inflicted on a property by squatters is a further expense that owners have to bear. As a property owner you also have a duty of care to anyone entering your premises, whether their intention is lawful or for criminal purposes.
Eddisons’ RemoteZone service protects vacant sites and properties. It offers you peace of mind that your building is safe and that you are doing all you can to mitigate the risks. Please contact our specialist team for more information.