Unoccupied Buildings: Essential Advice.

February 2021

We sent the following advice note to our clients by e-mail in December 2020 and repeated it in February 2021.

Now that Winter is well and truly here, there are some extra precautions that commercial property owners and tenants should be taking to prevent damage to their premises. This is particularly true where buildings are empty for any period of time and with strict lockdown measures in place this is a widespread issue.

The most obvious cause of damage at this time of year is frozen water pipes thawing out and bursting. The resulting water damage can be devastating, especially if it’s not discovered for some time. We recommend that, if possible, you turn off and drain down the water supply. If that’s not practical then leave heating on a frost setting.

 Make sure all the security devices are working and are in operation. Don’t provide fuel for arsonists – remove trade waste, junk mail and clear away any combustible waste from inside and outside the building.

Turn off and unplug any electrical devices that aren’t needed. For extended periods of closure, shut off gas and electricity supplies at the mains (expect where needed to operate fire or intruder alarms).

Inspect the premises inside and out at least once a week, preferably during daylight hours. Look out for signs of damage or attempted forced entry and make sure any necessary repairs and maintenance are carried out quickly.

Most property insurance policies severely restrict cover where properties are unoccupied or not trading for extended periods, usually anything more than 30 days. In many cases cover reduces to Fire only. In addition there are usually conditions that require policyholders to take certain steps, including those above, to protect their property.

Check your policy for details and, if you have any questions at all, please speak to your usual contact at Blue Rock.

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