The closure of a commercial venture is often fraught with challenges, tinged with emotional issues such as disappointment and practical problems such as the costs of winding up a business or shutting up shop – at such a time, considering the future of your commercial property may not seem to be a high priority. However, it would make sense that even if the long-term future of your premises is undecided, its short-term security should be a paramount concern.
Vacant commercial properties are currently under the spotlight in terms of their vulnerability. Since legislation relating to trespass and squatters made squatting in residential properties in England and Wales illegal in 2012 (source: BBC), vacant commercial property has become the new magnet for squatters, as well as holding a substantial appeal for those seeking out of sight opportunities for:
- theft of fixtures, fittings and valuable materials such as copper and lead;
- anti-social behaviours;
- criminal activities such as drug dealing and prostitution;
- vandalism and structural damage;
As such, your empty commercial premises could quickly become not just a personal liability, but a source of public nuisance which could even result in action against you in the event of problems within the local community.
Time for preventative payments, not cutting costs
Although meeting the costs of winding up a commercial venture and the loss of income that may result from this could have a considerable impact on what remains of your commercial budget or company finances, taking preventative measures to secure your vacant commercial building isn’t an area of cost to cut back on. In reality, to do so may leave you counting considerable costs later on, particularly as insurers often have some fine print which comes into play the moment your property becomes vacant. Failure to adhere to the requirements of your insurers and of public safety and local council legislation could lead to you being more severely out of pocket than if you had paid out for preventative security in the first place.
Additionally, and particularly if the closure and vacancy is a temporary issue, efforts taken to secure the property initially could prevent additional expenditure and loss of income later on if the property were to be broken into and vandalised. It might even prevent excessive costs , such as business rates which may be payable even when the property is empty or unusable in the event of damage, such as in the case of a landlord charged £6,000 in business rates for commercial property rendered uninhabitable following fire (Source: Fenland Citizen, April 2015).
Security – for your property and you personally
Rather than being anxious about your own liability and the vulnerability of your property, it’s easy enough to identify several cost-effective options to secure your own type of vacant commercial property. Such options include:
- Steel security doors, which can be hired at a low weekly cost and installed quickly;
- Steel window protection, including anti-tamper fixings;
- Perimeter security, including concrete barriers and blocks, palisade fencing – add advertising to these to off-set costs;
- Making regular checks on the property, including ensuring that there is no weathering or tampering of the measures you have put into place;
- Visible alarm systems to act as a deterrent;
- CCTV and monitored remote surveillance systems.
What makes many of these options cost-effective is that they can be installed quickly and efficiently through companies such as Safe Site facilities. Their prompt installation protects the revenue and assets you have as part of your premises and can also help to avoid insurance difficulties which arise if the property is empty but not fully secure whilst you’re waiting for another company to get around to you.
Finally, using products and services of 100% reputable security companies is essential for both your premises security and your peace of mind. Engaging the services of a security guard patrol alongside using preventative measures and products from Safe Site Facilities means that your property is not only protected 24 hours a day, but also brings you access to a 24 hour ready response team in the event of problems. When your commercial property becomes vacant, it’s still vital to protect its commercial potential, so ensuring its security will help you gain security for your own too.