Both residential and commercial properties left unsecured and unoccupied leave themselves at risk in a variety of ways. Potential risks include the elements [weather, unexpected flooding and so forth], trespassers on site or becoming vulnerable to other criminal activity. For example, in the UK, around 750,000 empty properties are vandalised each year, according to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics. The costs of repairs can sometimes even end up costing more than the actual cost of the building itself.
These things can happen regardless whether or not the property is vacant on a short-term or a long-term basis. This is one of the main reasons why as the owner of any empty and unoccupied land, there are certain precautions that you should take to ensure that it remains secure.
Protecting Against Trespassers
If there is no security in place to cover an unoccupied property, you are leaving it at great risk of being unlawfully occupied by trespassers. If you find yourself with squatters on site, you could end up with legal costs to consider in order to try and evict and prosecute them. If you own a commercial property and find that it is unlawfully occupied it is even more difficult to remove them, as legislation does not work in quite the same way as it does for residential cases.
This means that it can end up becoming much more laborious and expensive for owners, and that isn’t even including the potential costs incurred as a result of damage to the building or utility bills that may well have been run up as a result of the trespassers’ activities on site. This is why preventing this from happening in the first place is key; making it difficult for trespassers to access the site at all. Ways in which you can secure vacant properties from trespassers include the following:
Steel security doors – It is well worth investing in steel security doors if you are concerned about trespassers, as it can help improve security of unoccupied buildings, as well as hazards such as a fire. Steel security doors are stronger than other materials used to protect buildings (for example, timber) and for added security, they are also fitted with tamper-proof fixings and are damage resistant. In layman’s terms this will mean that it is very difficult for trespassers to break into the building using a heavy object like a crowbar.
24-hour monitored CCTV – It could be worth investing in 24-hour CCTV surveillance and monitoring managed either on or off-site to help deal with trespassers on site of vacant properties. Security on-site will ensure that the police are alerted promptly about any criminal activity. If you are looking for a means of security that can be discreet, you could also look at covert CCTV. It is a popular option with owners of both residential and commercial buildings as it is possible to hide these kinds of cameras from plain view.
Preventing Break-ins and Vandalism
Possibly the most common outcome of a property being vacant for too long, even more so than trespassers is the risk of burglary, where anything valuable is removed unlawfully from the property (including copper cable and even fixtures and fittings) and vandalism of anything from the windows to the walls. By properly protecting the vacant property in question, both these risks as well as the many others that exist can be greatly reduced, perhaps even eliminated through some fairly easy and cost-effective methods:
Alarm systems – Alarm systems are another way in which you can make a vacant property safer, protecting it against squatters and vandalism. Having installed an Intruder alarm system is one of the most popular options on the market to help counteract this issue for vacant building. A 24-hour monitored alarm system provides enhanced security compared to standard burglar alarms available. This means that if there is an attempted intrusion trained, a security personnel will be immediately alerted about it.
The Award Winning Secure Site team can provide licenced uniformed security officers who can immediately attend if the alarm goes off whatever the time of day.
Heras fencing – Heras fencing is made from anti-climb mesh, making it difficult for burglars or any other kinds of trespassers trying to access the property. Another advantage is that Heras fencing can also be installed very quickly.
Live-in guardians – You could also have the issue of trespassers causing a lot of noise, becoming a nuisance in your community and a breeding ground for anti-social behaviour and even drug taking, which will then require specialist hazardous waste removal services. However, responsible and vetted live-in guardians could be a cost-effective way to ensure the property is secure. Empty property guardians (almost like a house-sitter) means that your property remains fully maintained and lived in, as well as helping to make sure that it keeps its market value too, as break-ins and damage as a result of the building being unsecured would inevitably lower its value.
Maintaining Insurance Policies
It may be the case that in order to keep a buildings insurance policy valid, or to satisfy a bank or other lender of a first or even second charge mortgage to lend you the money you may require, secured against your property, that there needs to be sufficient security if it is empty for a period of time. in fact, many insurers will insist on both vacant property inspections as well as a good level of security to protect the property.