Unoccupied premises are much more at risk to vandalism, arson, theft, and other such incidents. Read our guide to understand how you can manage the risks.
Unoccupied premises are at greater risk from arson attacks, vandalism, burst pipes, theft, fly-tipping, water damage and being inhabited by squatters.
There is the also the risk that owners might be liable for any incidents involving the public including trespassers. This outlined in The Occupiers Liability Act (1957 and 1984).
Protecting your premises:
- Turn-off all electricity, gas, and water systems at the mains
- Drain down all water systems, fuel and storage tanks
- However, you should continue to operate all alarm systems and any services needed for them to operate
- Close and secure all points of access to the premises
- Seal shut all letter boxes
- If the property will be unoccupied for a significant amount of time remove all contents from the premises
- Keep the site clear of waste materials, gas bottles and other redundant contents
- Maintain perimeter fencing and trim landscape areas so natural surveillance of the premises continues to be possible
- Where possible take measures to prevent unauthorised vehicles from accessing the site
- Provide adequate lighting, safe walkways and traffic routes for those lawfully visiting the properties
- Maintain or put in place adequate security lighting and alarm systems to deter criminal activity
- Try and maintain the impression the premises are occupied
- Notify police and fire and rescue services that the property is unoccupied
- Notify suppliers re delivery arrangements and redirect post
- If in operation, ask CCTV providers to pay even more attention
Managing the risks further
- Appoint someone to inspect the premises for any signs of damage or intrusion every week and keep a record of visits
- Review and update risk assessments for the unoccupied premises
- Ensure all keys are accounted for and this is documented