Pending sales, bereavements, and renovations all contributed to a 35% increase in the number of vacant properties in the UK last year.
Retailers have been forced to close their doors and landlords have been obliged to wait for payment, often resulting in financial difficulties.
As more homes become abandoned, criminal activity increases, with vandals, squatters, and arsonists using vacant properties as their playgrounds, causing landlords to suffer the financial burden.
It’s difficult to know how to react when everything is going on so quickly.
If you’re a landlord or property manager who finds yourself in the terrible situation of having an empty commercial or residential property or your property becomes vacant whilst you’re waiting for the planning and development processes – this guide can help you figure out what to do next…
Why It’s Important To Secure Vacant Properties
By securing your property, you’re reducing risks of squatters and fly-tipping for example, and you’re making the process easier if you’re looking to sell the vacant property.
When a property is left unoccupied for an extended length of time, it may incur damage from the following factors:
- A fire caused by arson or a defective electrical installation
- Vandalism, which includes malicious destruction and graffiti
- Theft, such as causing damage to the property while gaining entry, or stealing building supplies and contents
- General deterioration caused by extreme weather or water intrusion, maybe as a result of neglect.
This is because when a property is vacant, it can become an easy target for unwelcome visitors such as vandals and trespassers, resulting in expensive repairs and a great deal of aggravation. Vacant properties that are well-maintained and secure pose a lower insurance risk.
You may cost-effectively protect, manage, and monitor your valuable assets by securing a property with simple deterrents like installing vacant property CCTV.
Why You Need To Secure Your Vacant Property With CCTV
Theft alone is predicted to cost the UK economy over £700 million per year, according to reports. With vacant properties being prominent targets for theft and other criminal activity, installing CCTV can considerably help counteract this.
The majority of the time, you will need to decommission your property and turn off all power meaning you’ll lose electronic protection with burglary alarms for example.
As long as there is 4G protection, wireless CCTV cameras can protect your site with CCTV by acting as evidence if something goes wrong.
Unwanted intruders are most common for commercial vacant properties because it’s not illegal to trespass/squat in commercial property but it’s a civil matter so it’s more likely to occur.
Therefore, capturing evidence of a break-in or being alerted fast means you’ll be able to protect your property immediately and the police can intervene if there’s an obvious sign of a break-in.
It also gives you a chance to give an early warning with verbal alerts if your CCTV camera has that capability.
Benefits Of Securing Your Vacant Property With CCTV
Benefits can be jargon-filled and confusing, so, here’s a breakdown of the advantages…
Triggers for CCTV Alarms
Alarm ‘Triggers’ are CCTV cameras with motion detection enabled, which is often accomplished using infrared detector technology.
A ‘simple’ option is an infrared trigger that detects only heat movement, while a more advanced solution includes video analytics.
Using video analytics tools, human movement will be recognised over ‘other’ movements, such as that of animals or birds.
A CCTV camera with this ‘smarter’ analytic movement detection technology can prevent false alarms by digitally filtering out occurrences in the event of, for example, a fox roaming your property late at night.
Responses to Security Threats
One of the most popular critiques of construction site CCTV – and CCTV in general – is that it captures the crime on camera only to be watched long after the crime has occurred and the harm has been done. On the other hand, the type of CCTV response methods used may be able to prevent a thief or vandal.
The ability to transmit an alert signal to a security-staffed monitoring centre is a crucial feature to highlight.
When a trigger notifies security employees of an incidence, they can view recently recorded or live video and offer audio warnings to intruders, summon key holders, deploy security agents, or request police help.
Selecting Monitored Systems
Monitoring can be done remotely as long as an internet connection is present. Monitoring from afar, the ARC receives images from CCTV cameras and delivers them to an external monitoring station. To defend against infiltration, theft, and property destruction, these stations are designed to respond rapidly to any suspicious behaviour.
If the ARC fails for any reason, there is a built-in redundancy that allows a second facility to seamlessly handle all data, ensuring that someone is always available to respond to live events. Generators are employed in the event of a power outage to ensure that no data is lost.
Because members of the ARC follow British Standards BS EN 50518, you can be confident that you’re getting a professional service.
Alternatives To Mobile Patrols And Security Guards
Security guards and mobile patrols can be replaced with CCTV systems, which can secure your building site at a fraction of the expense.
However, especially on large sites, CCTV can be an additional and essential benefit to security guards protecting a property, with the added benefit of detector-based CCTV guiding them to any potential break-ins.
Vacant property CCTV has better night vision with infrared capabilities, so the added vision will be improved.
The optimal approach, however, is a combination of both security guards and CCTV together, because monitored CCTV can be utilised as a backup as well as proof when catching criminals.
In the event of an emergency, the CCTV can also alert guards to act quickly.
Additional Ways To Secure Your Vacant Property
Every property and every circumstance is different, so if you want added protection alongside CCTV or you’re looking for something else – here are additional ways you can secure your vacant property…
Boarding Up All External Windows And Doors
Some companies continue to ‘board up’ windows and doors using plywood or OSB, however, this method is less successful due to plywood’s ease of removal, breakage, vandalism, and fire.
Ironically, the money you save by using plywood instead of steel to board up your abandoned property may be outweighed by the money you lose due to damage, theft, and vandalism.
As a result, we strongly advise you to reinforce your windows and doors for maximum security. Steel is waterproof, non-combustible, and impossible to remove with standard Phillips screwdrivers.
If authorised access is only required on occasion, strong steel doors with five-lever deadlocks will prevent anyone without the proper keys from entering.
Install Perimeter Fencing To Stop Trespassers
Heras fencing is the quick and easy-to-install solution for perimeter fencing for vacant properties. However, because the Heras fence is intended to be a temporary solution, it may not be sufficient to safeguard your vacant property long-term if it is located in a more dangerous region or is under threat from criminals who want to gain access to it.
Timber hoarding is another alternative for securing the perimeter of your vacant property. This fencing is more durable than Heras fencing, and while it takes longer to install, it will keep more determined intruders out in the long run.
To ensure all-around unoccupied property security, Heras fencing and hoarding are best utilised in conjunction with other security systems such as CCTV and steel security screens.
Display Security/Warning Signage To Enhance Your Empty Property Security
Displaying signage is perhaps the quickest and most important step you can do to preserve your vacant property. If something was to take place on your property and someone was to get harmed – you’re responsible if there aren’t the right warnings in place.
Signs could include warning signs and areas that they’ll need to stay clear from.
Signs can dissuade would-be attackers briefly, especially if they state ‘CCTV in operation’ (even if you don’t have CCTV). Even if active security systems like manned guarding or CCTV are in place, clear warning signage can provide a low-cost yet effective level of deterrence.
Install Concrete Barriers Around Your Void Property
Concrete barriers can keep unauthorised vehicles and fly-tippers out of your vacant property’s entrances, parking lots, and surrounding land.
Fly-tipping is an expensive nuisance to deal with on your property, especially if the discarded material is dangerous or combustible.
Installing three-metre-wide, 2.5-tonne concrete blocks across all entrance points, on the other hand, effectively ‘cuts it off at the source,’ forcing people wishing to save money on professional garbage disposal services (or simply create a place for a new three-piece suite!) to look elsewhere.
Illegal traveller encampments are significantly more difficult to deal with. Travellers’ vehicles and caravans can come overnight if word of an ‘open’ site spreads quickly, but a few strategically placed concrete blocks will stop them in their tracks.
The number of concrete barriers you need will be determined by your specific needs, just as how you would choose the best CCTV solution. The more entrances you have, the more concrete barriers you’ll need, but a site study that evaluates all entry points will establish how to effectively use them.
Is Health And Safety Your Main Priority?
Health and safety is the first driver when it comes to vacant property, however, the risks are often missed.
Identifying risks at your premises can help you to reduce loss or damage occurring. Carrying out a risk assessment of the vacant property will help you identify any hazards and weak spots.
At Secure Site, we can review your vacant property and offer expert advice on risks and hazards.
What Are The Different CCTV Systems Out There?
Both of these systems have long-life batteries to provide effective security to even the most remote and abandoned properties, as they typically do not have a continuous and steady electrical source. These systems have WiFi built-in and a 4G router in the control part, are radio operated and are armed by a fob.
Long-life batteries provide you with a working system for over a year, however, we change them more frequently for reassurance and ultimate protection.
The main difference is that the VIDEOguard is suitable for smaller properties and for inside the premises because they have a 12m range with an infrared illuminator.
The VIDEOguard plus has better image quality available in both colour and black and white in the dark.
Properties can become unoccupied with little warning, posing a substantial and urgent security challenge for landlords and property managers like you.
Fortunately, some solutions can be rapidly and easily implemented to assist you in maintaining your assets to the highest potential standards.
You’ll benefit from high-quality software that provides quality images with Secure Site CCTV, ensuring that fewer things go wrong on your vacant property.
You’ll also get a complete permission system to cover all blind spots and protect your property.
If you have any questions about securing your vacant property, don’t hesitate to contact an expert.