Written by: Charlotte Peel on Wednesday 21/09/2016
Research from Getwestlondon has revealed that there is more than £26 million worth of commercial real estate standing empty in Brent. They requested a register of empty business property in the borough, and received an extensive list of 949 commercial properties including offices, warehouses, and shops. If rented out over the course of the year, this property would cost a whopping £26.8 million. The findings also revealed that much of the property has been vacant for several years, with some last being occupied as far back as 1994.
Many businesses are thought to have been put off by the sky high rental rates, which has meant many potentially profitable buildings now lie empty.
Entoria House in Wembley is the most expensive vacant property in Brent, and has been vacant since July 2014. Valued at just over £1 million, the property tops the list of the most expensive empty properties in Brent. Located on Cumberland Avenue, near to Central Middlesex Hospital, the property could fetch £1.05 million a year in rental income. Following Entoria House, a former Wickes branch located near to Wembley Stadium is also empty, with an annual rental price of £825,000. A total of 55 of the 949 properties reported would cost at least £100,000 to let for a year, but many of these have been collecting dust for decades. In fact, 20 properties have been vacant since the turn of the Millennium, while nearly 200 have been empty since 2010. Eight properties have been registered as vacant from 1994, a whopping 22 years ago, while a further 11 have not been occupied this century.
The local council are aware of the many empty commercial properties in Brent, and so are offering grants and incentive schemes in a bid to attract investment. “If you leave a property empty, the condition and value of your property will depreciate, the property could be the target of arson, vandalism and squatters,” reads the council website. “You may be faced with high insurance premiums, and you will receive no rental income.”
Vacant commercial properties are hotbeds of theft and damage, at risk of fire, criminal activity, and overall deterioration. Landlords can incur millions of pounds worth of damage, which may not be covered under insurance if they have not notified their insurer that the property had become vacant. Examining vacancy rates and the local economy of an area before deciding whether to invest in a commercial property is therefore nothing short of crucial.