Allianz, one of the UK’s leading commercial insurers, has raised awarenesss regarding a potential increased risk of squatting in commercial premises.
Unoccupied Commercial Property Insurance – Increased Risks
From the 1st September squatting in residential buildings in England and Wales became a criminal offence, with perpetrators facing up to six months in jail and a maximum £5,000 fine. This legislation does not apply to commercial properties, which may now become more vulnerable as squatters seek alternatives.
Allianz Property Risk Control manager, Andy Miller, warns;
this could lead to significant damage to commercial properties, such as that caused by fire whether deliberate or accidental. This could lead to serious disruption for our clients. Even more so, because with winter around the corner, the nights are growing colder and the hours of daylight are getting shorter.
What Can You Do To Minimise Your Risks?
- Ensure an adequate level of physical protection to windows/doors/perimeter.
- Consider boarding up windows and doors
- Keep both intruder and fire alarm systems fully operational.
- Removal of any unfixed combustible materials from the premises and surrounding areas.
- Frequent internal and external inspections.
- Ensure that all CCTV equipment is in full working order.
- Consider installation of a temporary intruder alarm system while the property is unoccupied (recommended in accordance with the SSAIB code of practice for temporary alarm systems).
- Employment of security guards – either for periodical visits or permanently based staff.
- Retention of working sprinklers.
- Turn off, drain down and secure any mains water supplies, tanks and pipework etc, to prevent use or abuse by squatters.
What Effect Can This Have On Policy Cover?
It is a material fact to notify Allianz if an insured property should become unoccupied. This would in fact be the case for all UK Insurers so please ensure that you notify us should your property become unoccupied. Further there will be specific policy conditions and obligations that will apply in relation to unoccupied properties so contact us for advice regarding this aspect.
Allianz Vacant Buildings Information For Commercial Property Owners
We deal direct with Allianz and can offer their commercial property insurance policies which provide excellent cover for commercial landlords. In addition, whilst some brokers struggle to arrange cover for unoccupied commercial property, we deal with a number of specialist insurers who can offer quotes. Please contact us for further details.
If you require a quote for commercial property insurance please contact us or you can find out more about landlords insurance.