Empty properties at risk, says local commercial property agent September 2013

The economy may be showing signs of picking up, but it is likely there will be a lot of vacant commercial property for years to come, says Paul Keen of Penn Commercial.
He is warning that leaving property empty and unattended is a big risk, leaving it at risk from crime, weather damage and general deterioration.
The British Retail Consortium, back in the spring, said that as many as one in eight retail sites is vacant across the UK. The picture is similar across other areas of the commercial property market too, affecting industrial parks and office buildings and much of this property is being left to deteriorate.
“It’s doesn’t make any sense to let a building fall into disrepair,” said Mr Keen. “While it’s empty it’s not generating any income, but there may still be outgoings.
“But letting it deteriorate will simply compound the problem, making it harder to let or sell in the future. If the premises are just part let, existing tenants become unhappy and restless too quite often.
“There’s an old adage that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and that couldn’t be truer than in the case of commercial property,” he added.
With winter on the horizon, Mr Keen says landlords need to think about securing premises against the elements, turning off water supplies to avoid leakages (except where sprinkler systems are in place, in which case proper lagging may be a better solution), maintaining alarm systems and making sure that doors, windows, vents and roofs are properly secured against water incursion.
“Landlords are not always around on a regular basis and so, without anyone keeping an eye on things and organising routine inspections and maintenance, problems can spiral out of control,” said Mr Keen.
On industrial sites the hazards of vandalism, arson, theft and fly tipping are very real.
“Sometimes it’s just simple things like cutting grass or getting rid of weeds that make a building look occupied, thus deterring crime,” he added.
But it is important to make sure security systems are in place if the building is isolated or completely empty, he says. Exterior and interior motion-detecting or timed lighting, alarms and even occasional onsite patrols can all deter criminals and animals.

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Vanessa Penn

About Vanessa Penn

Vanessa Penn was formerly Director of Commercial Agency for Countrywide Commercial, Bradford & Bingley and Douglas Duff part of Erinaceous Plc. Vanessa now runs her own agency Penn Commercial located in Ipswich, Suffolk www.penncommercial.co.uk. Penn Commercial boasts a number of local, regional and national clients and has formed an excellent and loyal client base.
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