A large number of vacant commercial properties throughout the West Midlands have been targeted by criminals searching for metal. This issue has raised people’s awareness to double check that they have the correct insurance in place for their commercial property.
To ensure that you are covered, it is best to obtain a quote specifically for ‘unoccupied commercial property insurance’. It can be harder to obtain this type of cover than the standard commercial property insurance, and is often restricted to FLEA cover (fire, lightning, earthquake and aircraft). However many people do not see the necessity of obtaining a specific quote, as Philip Taylor, Asset Management Partner at Cushman & Wakefield, stated: “This is an underestimated and overlooked part of property management.”
The Vacant Property Specialists (VPS), who conducted the research in the West Midlands found that over 50 per cent of unoccupied commercial properties had been targeted by thieves.
Owners of empty properties should also be aware of squatters, as depending on the damage they could do, the bill could cost thousands of pounds to rectify. For example, a small commercial property, like a pub could cost around £1500 to put right if damaged by squatters, excluding the legal fees, which on average costs around £5000.
Nick Tubbs, Managing Director of the VPS, expressed: “Security and loss of income are the biggest vacant property issues for commercial property owners and managers in the UK because where there are empty buildings, squatters can soon follow. Squatters may begin to target more commercial buildings, causing increased concern and cost for commercial property owners that are already operating in challenging market conditions. If more commercial buildings that are vacant or temporarily unoccupied are targeted it could also become a real issue for surrounding communities.”
According to Aviva, £500 million of damage is done to empty commercial properties through arson and vandalism in the UK every year. With a total of £2 billion of damage done to all properties throughout the UK, vacant commercial properties are taking up a quarter of the figure, which seems very high.