Local authorities pay close attention to vacant commercial properties and most require the landlord to keep the premises in a safe secure condition. Property that has become vacant & broken down or dilapidated often becomes a focus point for anti-social behaviour and thus the premises needs to be kept sealed to prevent access being gained. Once security at a vacant building has been breached, fire can become a major issue , especially if the property contains combustible materials.
One of the major problems with unoccupied property is that without regular inspection by the landlord, the property can degrade in a very short space of time. Once targeted, a vacant building that was previously in a good state of repair can easily become an eyesore within a very short space of time. Most councils will require a landlord to keep a property in a reasonable condition and to take steps to keep the building secure. Efforts should also be made to keep the property watertight as water ingress can also cause problems for neighbouring occupied property.
If you have a plan of action in place for looking after your unoccupied commercial property, you are more likely to be able to secure an insurance quote, also a property in a good condition is likely to be more attractive to an incoming tenant. Many companies have sprung up to help protect landlords with vacant property or of course you could look after it yourself subject to it being logistically possible.A simple plan to keep your property safe would involve the following; many of these conditions would be a requirement of insurance.
Insurance inspection terms for vacant property
- Arrange for the property to be visited on a regular basis, either the landlord or his agent should do this, records should be kept of the visit and any works carried out. On each visit, the property should be inspected both externally or internally, any damage such as broken windows etc should be fixed immediately.
- During the site visit, make sure that the building is secure and that all leaflets, newspapers etc are removed from the letter box areas, also tidy up outside if necessary and make sure all combustible materials are removed from inside and near the building.
- Damage to unoccupied property by burst pipes is a major problem and efforts should be made to switch off the water at the mains and drain down the system. This is often a condition of vacant building insurance.
Obtaining an insurance quote for an unoccupied commercial property will involve a little telephoning around and when a quote is obtained, it is vitally important that the terms and conditions are studied most carefully. Because of the increased chance of a loss, it mustnt be assumed that the cover you will receive will be the same as that under a normal policy. There may well be some perils that are excluded, there may also be warranties and conditions that place an onus on the policyholder to perform certain tasks in order to the make the cover valid. Most polices will also have similar terms for property that was occupied at the insurance contract inception but has become unoccupied throughout the course of the policy term. If you are in any doubt as to the scope of your cover, always speak to your broker or insurer. At Assetsure, we are able to offer insurance quotes for commercial buildings situated in the UK.