At any given moment, there’s a considerable number of unoccupied residential and commercial properties all over the country. Without proper protection, most of these properties could end up being subject to either unintentional or deliberate damage or misuse. The provision of reliable alarm systems, adequate physical protection, and other types of security solutions could help minimise, and will, in a sense, prevent damage and misuse of said properties.
Empty buildings are at a higher risk of deterioration, criminal activity and fire. Such things could harm the reputation of property owners and could put the relation between them and their neighbours under strain. Furthermore, insurance premiums for properties that have been vacant for a long time often tend to be high, unless those responsible prove that they’ve taken the necessary precautions to warrant the safety of their property.
Arson is liable for over half the known causes of fire damage in industrial and commercial properties. It’s, therefore, essential to take every step possible to minimise risks of fire. Managers and owners of vacant properties have a ‘duty-of-care’ to everybody that enters the building.
One of the first actions owners should prioritise is allocating clear responsibilities for all aspects related to the management of vacant properties. This is an essential role and usually involves shutting down the building, reducing different risk factors, and conducting risk assessments. It is also advisable that property owners exercise ‘duty-of-care’ to everybody entering the building from emergency services members to trespassers.
Using property guardians to look after your property is one of the solutions that we will be talking about in this article. But how does using property guardians work, and is it really the best option for your property?
There are many reasons why you may have to leave your property unoccupied for months or even years. For instance, property owners may have to travel for work commitments abroad, leaving their homes empty. Rental properties might be left unoccupied as the owner looks for new tenants. Lastly, commercial and residential properties might be empty as the owner waits for the approval of construction permits or the processing of funds needed to cover construction costs.
Properties that remain unoccupied for an extended amount of time are exposed to a variety of significant risks. First and foremost, owners do not receive any rental income from unoccupied rental properties. Empty properties are also likely to attract the interest of vandals and squatters. The squatter eviction process is usually quite lengthy and tedious to say the least. Illegal squatters and vandals could also damage the property or use it as a base for carrying out illegal activities.
Property guardians can help property owners avoid the above risks associated with leaving a property unoccupied for an extended period of time, in addition to savings them a variety of costs that they would otherwise incur.
Also referred to as a legal squatter, a property guardian is a person who agrees to live in an empty property in exchange for paying a lower rental amount. One of the main differences between property guardians and regular tenants is the fact that they pay a substantially lower rent; this can be half the normal rent or even lower. In exchange the property owner gets a live-in security guard, of sorts, to look after their property.
Over the last few years, the number of property guardians in the UK has skyrocketed as a result of the rising rentals all over. Furthermore, there has also been a rise in the number of unoccupied properties in the UK, creating the need for their unique services.
In addition to unoccupied residential properties, property guardians can also live in empty commercial properties such as pubs, office spaces, fire stations, police stations, hospitals and even castles! Caverswall Castle has to be seen to be believed!
As a legal squatter, a property guardian usually pays for a license to live in an empty property for a sum that is lower than the regular rental amount. Since the property guardian does not occupy the property in question under the standard tenant agreement, there is no requirement for the property owner to keep the property up to a suitable standard. Getting property guardians to vacate your property is also easier than getting rid of squatters. However, since they will be living within the property, running water, a bed and toilet are all necessary.
Read on to find out how property owners can take advantage of property guardians to save money on their unoccupied properties.
As previously stated above, property guardians usually pay a lower rental amount as compared to regular tenants. However, considering that they do so to live in an empty property, this represents an important cash inflow for the property owner. The money received by the property owner can be used to cover a variety of costs associated with the property in question including local taxes, insurance and mortgage payments among others.
This saves the property owner from having to cover all these costs entirely out of pocket. Any remainder can supplement the property owner’s income as well.
Unoccupied properties attract vandals and squatters; who may damage the property. Property owners usually have to hire security personnel and/or install costly security systems, locks or boards, to keep such individuals out of their empty properties. These security costs may represent a huge cash outlay for these owners. Property guardians eliminate such costs altogether, helping property owners make huge savings.
These guardians act as live-in security guards as mentioned above. This means that their presence effectively helps keep would be squatters and vandals from occupying the property in question and wreaking havoc. In fact, this is considered to be one of the main advantages of property guardians.
Empty properties, whether commercial or residential, can be costly to insure. For starters in the case of residential properties, insurance policies expressly state that insured properties should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days. This means that residential property owners face a high risk of voiding their policies by leaving their property empty. Having a property guardian look after your residence while you are away can ensure that you continue to enjoy the protection provided under your home’s insurance policy.
Insurance policies for commercial properties that are left unoccupied for extended periods of time tend to be quite expensive. Having a property guardian living in an empty commercial property, be it an office building, pub or even hospital can help lower the cost of such policies.
With a property guardian in your property, you also get to save on the cost of any insurance related requirements to secure or board up the property.
Depending on where your property is located within the UK, empty residential properties may attract higher council tax rates. Local councils may increase the Council tax on empty properties by 50 percent. If the property remains empty for more than two years, this rate may even double. This represents a huge and unnecessary cost to property owners.
Property guardians can help ease the burden on property owners by occupying empty properties and eliminating the likelihood of such property tax increases.
Commercial property owners, unless otherwise stated, are also required to pay property rates on empty properties; the rent paid by property guardians can be used to offset such costs.
The condition of unoccupied properties may deteriorate quickly as there is no one there to look after the property and report any issues that require urgent attention. Tiny roof leaks may become serious, and even cause extensive damage to the underlying structure or its valuable contents, overtime. Furthermore, mould may spread all over the property if left unchecked for an extended period as well.
Repairing such damage and replacing damaged valuables may be a costly affair for the property owner. A property guardian living within the structure can save property owners from such costs by identifying and reporting such issues as early as possible.
Loss of property value may represent a huge financial hit to a property own. As time passes, unoccupied properties usually fall into a state of disrepair. Broken windows and overgrown lawns can negatively affect the value of the property in question.
Furthermore, these signs of disrepair also work to attract the attention of squatters and vandals. Such individuals may further damage the property, by breaking even more windows for instance; or even break into the property and take off with any furniture, strip away the plumbing and any fittings they consider valuable. This further devalues the property, costing the owner even more.
Property guardians can look after the property and ensure that it retains its curb appeal during this period. This will save the owner from suffering from the financial loss described above.
As you can see from the above, unoccupied properties can be quite costly for owners to maintain. Fortunately, property guardians give property owners an effective means of avoiding some of the costs incurred on empty properties, in addition to providing them with some much needed income in the form of rental payments. This is the best time for property owners to take advantage of the cost saving benefits of engaging property guardians given their rising numbers across the UK.
As you can now see, leaving a property vacant for any length of time can be risky. Not only can you end up with squatters, you can end up with all kinds of issues with regards to maintenance. Generally though most of these aspects wont be come bigger issues if caught early. Burst pipes for example, for a plumber it’s a relatively straight forward fix, but if a burst pipe goes unseen for weeks, even months, you’ll end up having extremely serious problems with damp etc
Our vacant property services are a cost effective way to reduce potential problems a vacant property can cause when left unmanaged. Our property guardians can provide an extremely cost effective solution for your vacant property requirements. We deal with residential, commercial and also office space, contact us today for further details.