Vacant Property

The importance of security at empty commercial properties

18/10/2023

Insights

The importance of security at empty commercial properties

The combination of a tough retail environment, rising interest rates and the popularity of remote and hybrid working is contributing to an increase in vacant commercial properties in the UK. 

At the last count, there were over 170,000 empty commercial properties in the UK, with office vacancy rates in most cities currently on the rise. Left unsecured, empty commercial properties can become an easy target for criminals and anti-social behaviour, potentially leaving you with an expensive repair bill that can sometimes exceed the value of the building itself. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together this guide to some of the risks associated with commercial properties and the steps you can take to secure them. 

Why should I be concerned about leaving a commercial property empty?

Vacant buildings are more likely to be affected by numerous risks, including:

  • Vandalism
  • Arson
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Burglary and theft
  • Squatting
  • Trespass
  • Environmental damage
  • Fly tipping
  • Metal theft

These heightened risks can lead to other undesirable consequences for building owners. For example, your relationships with neighbours can be put under strain and your reputation as a landlord can be damaged. The local councils and emergency services can also insist on extra security measures if the property becomes a nuisance and if you don’t adhere they can enforce action and even take you to court and implement fines.

Owners and managers of empty properties also have a duty of care to anyone entering the building, even if you haven’t invited them onto the premises. These varied risks mean insurance policies for empty buildings are harder to find and the premiums are usually significantly higher. However, it is possible to reduce those premiums by putting appropriate security measures in place.  

I’m leasing commercial premises but will leave it empty for a time - who’s responsible for insuring it? 

Under the terms of most commercial leases, landlords are responsible for insuring the building itself while the tenants insure the contents. As a tenant, you should inform the landlord in advance that you intend to leave a commercial building empty as they may have to make amendments to their cover.  

Most commercial buildings insurance provides some degree of vacant cover, typically up to 30 days, but the landlord may need to take out a specific policy if the property is empty for longer. This type of policy may also come with additional restrictions and security requirements.

How can I reduce the risks when leaving a commercial property empty?

Putting additional security measures in place is the most effective way to protect an empty commercial property. However, there are also a few other steps you can take to reduce the risks, including:

  • Arranging periodic inspections
  • Keeping up with maintenance tasks
  • Removing any valuable items
  • Clearing any waste and unwanted items

These actions might sound obvious, but it’s often the little things you might not think of, such as the build-up of post or the lack of lighting, that signals to criminals that a property is unoccupied and unsupervised.

Are there temporary ways to safeguard an empty commercial property?  

It used to be the case that safeguarding empty commercial property was the work of property guardians and manned security. However, a shortage of SIA-qualified security professionals and inflation-driven pay rises have made manned guarding an unviable option for many landlords. Thankfully, there is an alternative.

Many landlords now rely on remotely monitored security systems, which can be deployed in place of or alongside other security measures, to provide peace of mind. It is a simple and cost-effective solution that allows you to continuously monitor commercial premises and respond to threats immediately.     

What is RemoteZone?

RemoteZone is a complete security solution for empty commercial properties. You can implement it quickly through the use of wireless passive infrared CCTV image capturing (PIR) detectors, making it well-suited to temporary and short-term vacant periods. The fact they're completely wireless also means there are no added costs of electric bills or phone lines required.

The PIR detectors allow you to monitor all internal and external areas of a building and protect specific items of plant and equipment. The PIR detectors are linked to a secure and tamper-proof control box onsite. The alarm is monitored 24/7 by a UK-based NSI Gold alarm receiving centre and any sign of an intrusion is immediately tracked and initiates an instant response.

You can also use the remote login facility to monitor your alarm system from a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can review the security status of the property and view the history of logged events.

Remotezone alarms are fitted in line with SSAIB regulations so are recognised and approved by all Insurance companies

The flexible security solution for empty commercial properties

Ideal for empty or void properties, RemoteZone can be installed quickly and is completely wireless and self-powered, creating a simple but highly effective security solution. Find out more about how RemoteZone works and call 03300 411 744 to discuss your requirements with our team. 

Get in touch with the Eddisons team

Please contact us for more details and information

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