Property inspections are a valuable yet cost-effective way to retain a regular oversight of empty, vacant and void units and buildings.
With the right empty property security provisions in place, many empty properties may not require continued on-site surveillance, particularly if you have robust security screens and alarm monitoring that preclude any criminal intrusions from occurring without you being notified.
A professional, periodic property inspection assures insurance compliance, a trained security inspector will visit your property to check for environmental damage, utility issues or other problems such as fly-tipping before they become serious.
What Does a Property Inspection Involve?
There are dozens of potential problems that can cause no end of cost and stress for property owners and managers. A property inspection means you can mitigate any developing situation.
Our comprehensive property inspections include the following checks:
- External building inspections: looking for any signs of tampering with security systems, dumped rubbish, build-up of leaves or garden waste, possible public safety hazards and overgrown shrubs or trees.
- Checks on building utilities: taking verified meter readings, including photographic logs for evidence, to present to your gas, water, and electricity providers.
- Internal inspections: evaluating the necessity of any repair work from evidence of water leaks, infestations, contaminations, wind ingress or weather damage.
Having a detailed log can be extremely important in the event of an insurance claim, risk assessment or dispute, with the peace of mind that your property is not being left unchecked and uninspected for long periods of time.
Benefits of Vacant Property Inspections
The reality is that any empty building, whether a rental home, commercial site, vacant building or industrial unit, can be subject to various issues that require repairs.
However, these situations only become critical when left to worsen or accumulate.
For example, a small leak might require a repair patch, but after several months could become detrimental to the structural integrity of a property.
Likewise, a minor insect infestation can be dealt with at minimal cost if resolved quickly, but if left unchecked, could cause damage to roofing, timbers and flooring resulting in vast expenditure.
Property inspections mitigate fundamental risks, including fire, water damage and electrical malfunctions; putting you in control of the state of an empty property, and with all the information you need to take preemptive steps where necessary.
Ongoing inspections are also a clear deterrent, ensuring criminals who may target empty buildings will not attempt to enter a property which benefits from regular visitors, well-maintained locks, and verified functional alarms or security systems.
How Do Property Inspections Help with Insurance Coverage?
Insurance providers understand that ongoing deterioration or unchecked issues are the primary cause of a vacant property falling into disrepair or developing structural deficiencies that could cost more to correct than the building is worth.
Many vacant property insurance policies stipulate that the owner must implement ongoing visits, normally at scheduled intervals, from weekly to quarterly inspections, for any cover to remain valid.
Being able to evidence a professional pre-scheduled inspection timetable can protect your eligibility to make insurance claims and showcase a diligent attitude to preserving the value and integrity of your asset.
Insurance premiums for a well-managed property are also often significantly more competitive, with wider-scale coverage to safeguard your exposure to repair costs.
Ownership Responsibilities for Vacant Properties
Property owners are responsible for preventing public access to potentially dangerous sites and ensuring that the structure of a building does not pose a risk. They also have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all third parties entering the premises, whether they are legally entitled to be there or not.
Organising a professional property inspection service can mitigate those risks and incorporate several other services that may be of benefit, especially if you do not intend to visit your building regularly.
- Keyholding and opening-up services to permit entry to authorised visitors.
- Inspecting the condition of locks, security doors, window screens and access points.
- Advising where windows are broken or damaged and require boarding up.
- Sealing letterboxes and parcel boxes to prevent vandalism or junk mail.
- Isolating or disconnecting utilities and draining down water supplies.
- Logging each inspection with the date, time and inspector’s details.
Inspections can also be tailored to your requirements, such as verifying the status of alarm panels, testing emergency lighting systems or confirming that CCTV cameras remain fully operational.
What Are the Risks of Skipping Regular Property Inspections?
Even the most severe damage starts on a small scale, perhaps a minor electrical fault. If a vacant property is left unchecked these issues can develop into serious concerns that cost significantly more to repair.
In the worst cases, the damage could result in a fire, particularly if other flammables are on site, such as accumulated junk mail or fly-tipped waste. In the UK alone there are around 9000 fires each year in empty buildings.
Another risk is that an empty building will become a target for vandals and criminals. The outcomes may mean needing to cover repair work, replacing fixtures or fittings (such as radiators and copper wiring), or having to evict squatters.
Prospective thieves actively seek out empty properties, signified by heavily overgrown gardens, piles of unopened mail and having all the lights off in the evening.
Squatters and trespassers can be one of the most challenging situations. It can take months to secure a successful eviction and often involve the stress and time pressure of court costs to obtain an eviction notice.
Organising periodic property inspections can mitigate all of these risks, addressing remedial work, identifying potential concerns, and ensuring the building is in a good state of repair with suitable security precautions.
Cohesive Property Management
Where landlords or vacant property owners rely on multiple inspection services, there is a substantial risk that a problem or security issue may be overlooked.
The condition of your property is paramount to retaining market value, addressing any issues that arise, and giving you confidence that you are fully aware of any damage or necessary repairs.
Clearway’s experienced vacant property inspectors provide an end-to-end service, with rapid advisory notices where concerns have been documented, recommendations on the appropriate resolutions, and full record-keeping logs.
Please contact Clearway if you would like to learn more about how property inspections work, how these relate to your building insurance coverage, or for advice about the best checks and inspection services for you.
Mon Nov 27 2023
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