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How to Protect and Preserve the Value in Unoccupied Property


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Commercial properties can provide reliable, consistent returns for individuals, organisations, asset managers, governments and other related parties. Key risks arise, however, when these properties remain vacant for any period of time.

In addition to the matter of lost rent income, unoccupied properties can also rapidly become targets for crime including:

  • Theft of copper, and other easily monetised items
  • Graffiti and vandalism
  • Squatting, unlicensed parties and other illegal use (including use of illegal substances)
  • Arson
  • Urban exploration, which typically has a principle of ‘leave no trace’ but still involves illegal trespass
  • Dumping of rubbish, including asbestos, and other activities.

These activities can cost the property owner both in resources and inconvenience, but there’s also public liability to consider. If someone enters the vacant property and becomes injured, and this is found to be due to the property owner’s negligence, then in some regions the property owner could be held liable for damage.

In some cases, where the risks of crime are high or there are multiple events, vacant properties can become uninsurable and the value of the property rapidly declines, which can create further issues when there is debt associated with the property.

The common challenges in protecting a vacant property

There are a number of typical obstacles when it comes to protecting and preserving the value of a vacant commercial property.

  • Conventional lights and security cameras are not typically an option, because the power has usually been turned off.
  • Full time guards are too expensive, which can be particularly problematic at a time when there are no revenues coming in from the property.
  • It may not be viable to check vacant properties regularly, which could allow smaller security issues to continue or escalate
  • Boarding up and / or fencing the property is a costly process, and the aesthetics of this can even discourage future tenants.

What is needed is a solution that requires no power and can substantially discourage and reduce the impacts of crime. This in turn can help to get vacant properties insured, and let or utilised once more.

There are two key convenient strategies to protect vacant properties

Solar powered lighting and smart security systems, used with or without guard call out services are the optimised solution for such applications.

Solar powered lighting

Solar powered lighting can be provided for temporary or permanent locations, or even be mobile to light up access points, high value locations and other key areas. Criminals do not like to operate in the light, and these solutions are very difficult to disrupt. They’re also cost-effective to install and run, and require no cabling or wires.

Smart security systems

In conjunction with lighting, or separate to lighting, a smart security system using camera vision and artificial intelligence can monitor facilities with active deterrence. If trespassers appear, the system will warn them immediately to depart with a spoken warning, illuminate them or provide other visual deterrents, and send an alert so the asset owner or a guard service knows to respond. These cloud-based security cameras can also be viewed remotely in real time and, for the Spectur STA6 model in particular, can be used for real-time communications with individuals.

In more than 90% of cases potential criminals, when they’ve been identified and deterred by Spectur security systems, leave the site. This does not happen with cameras or CCTV alone, which are more likely to simply record a crime than to stop it.

Spectur’s solar-powered, cloud-recording active deterrence security cameras are fully self-contained for power and 3G/4G internet connectivity, and operate 24/7. They don’t get tired, they don’t mind working in the rain and they can’t be argued with. Quite simply, they are the perfect insurance to make sure you can keep your insurance.

We have a long history of working with customers to protect their vacant properties until they can be re-utilised. To discuss your requirements, get in touch with the Spectur technology team today.

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