Keeping your property development secure if it’s unoccupied

Developing a property is expensive at the best of times and that’s why securing the location if it’s unoccupied is important to do. James Dewane talks us through his top tips for keeping your empty property secure.

James Dewane talks about security for unoccupied property

"Don’t think that spending a fortune on security measures is actually going to secure the property – some of the simpler things can help as well"

Click here to read the video transcript

Security for an Unoccupied Property

If you are involved in renting, selling or developing properties, there are going to be times when the property is left vacant. During those times you need to make sure that your asset is pretty well protected, or as protected as it can be.

And there are a number of things which many people tend to overlook. Unoccupied properties are a magnet, they are a magnet to those who want to strip out the copper, maybe strip out kitchen appliances or anything that’s been left in the property that they can get away with. These burglars, they’re not particularly just after occupied properties and the goodies that are available in those. So when you’re properties empty there’s a number of things you can do to insurance that it’s less likely. I’m going to say less likely because most burglars are opportunistic. And I mean opportunistic in the sense that they will take the easiest possible target. You’re never to combat burglary but what you can do is move it down the street, move it away from your property by making it that little bit less attractive for the burglar. So what you want to avoid doing it, what a lot of property developers do, which is to white wash the windows. Which of course is an open opportunity which says ‘this is an empty property’. So what you want to do is use blinds and drapes and curtains to cover up your windows. To prevent people from realising it’s actually unoccupied.

Another thing to do is to put some standing lights on timers so that they come on at various different times – upstairs and downstairs and in the hallways. So that people get the impression the property is occupied.

Taking care of your locks. I’ve seen people spend a small fortune on locks to secure the door, completely forgetting that the window beside it allows someone to break the window and reach through and access the lock. Don’t think that spending a fortune on security measures is actually going to secure the property – some of the simpler things can help as well.

Another example are houses which have garages attached to them. Quite often, people will secure the main doors, and the main windows, and completely forget about the garage door, and the access through the garage to the house. And of course, once someone is into the garage, they have complete access to the house, and they have all the time in the world breaking in to the property because nobody can see them once they’re inside the garage.

I think another important tip is, if the property is unoccupied because you have work being carried out. Don’t allow the tradesmen to leave their tools behind in the evening. Some tradesmen believe it’s very convenient, and it’s handy, and they can store their tools there at night, but what you are doing is making it more attractive for intruders or burglars to break into your property and cause damage to your property to get to the builders tools.

So I think the key things is to remember any property can be a magnet to the unsavoury types, but you can make your property less attractive and move that problem down the road.

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