Increased Squatters Risk in Commercial Properties

From the 1st September squatting in residential buildings in England and Wales became a criminal offence, with offenders 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 that “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.”

In light of this Darwin Clayton would like to make its Clients aware of a few basic precautions in order to help protect them against squatters.

What can you do to minimise the risk?

  • 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 does our policy wording say?

It is a material fact to notify your Insurer if an insured property should become unoccupied. All commercial policy wordings have conditions and obligations regarding unoccupied properties. If you have any properties that may become vacant – talk to Darwin Clayton.