Advice for protecting your empty business premises

While our towns are so quiet, not everyone is self-isolating at home!  Vandals and villains are taking the opportunity to break into empty premises to steal anything of value,or just trash the place.  So please share these top tips:

Keep Your Premises Protected

As the majority of our business premises face an uncertain period of lockdown we are all aware of the increased risk from break-in, arson and vandalism, but we should also consider what might happen if our properties go unchecked for any period of time – for example, a small water leak can soon become a major problem.

The first thing we must all do is contact our insurers as most policies will regard 30 days as the period after which a property is regarded as ‘unoccupied’.  At this point standard policy conditions apply and excesses may increase. 

Many properties may be multi-tenanted so it is vitally important you make contact with the others with whom you share your premises, as well as any Landlord, to understand what actions they may have taken.

Follow these top-tips for protecting your premises:

  • Check your insurance policy and understand what cover is provided for wholly or partially occupied premises.
  • Talk to your insurers and understand what the definition of ‘unoccupied’ is.
  • Depending on the nature of your work some policies may require the need for regular security checks – are these in place and is the Company providing them able to support you in accordance withthe policy terms?
  • Securing your property is the first physical step – whilst we don’t feel we are at this stage yet, if your property is likely to be vacant for any extended period of time you may wish to consider boarding up any glazed panels to entrance doors.
  • Our post is now much reduced and we can of course get mail easily redirected – so if possible, seal up any letter boxes to reduce the risk of arson.
  • Ensure you turn off all services; water, gas and electrics where possible.
  • Remove items of value where you can, such as desk top PCs, printers and even expensive telephone systems where numbers can be redirected.
  • Consider taking photographs with date stamps and record any visits you make in any similar way. 
  • Consider installing cost effective, web-based wireless cameras which can be linked to your phone.  They are movement sensitive and will alert you if someone breaks in.
  • Keep the relevant parties informed of any changes, including; staff, managing agents, landlords and your insurance broker.
  • Look out for your neighbours and other nearby unoccupied premises – more than ever we have a moral duty to look after each other.

Looking after each other and our property will enable us to get back on our feet quicklywhen our world returns to some sense of normal.