In reality, vacant properties present a unique set of risks that must be managed effectively to avoid costly losses at a time when money may already be tight for building owners. Vacant buildings might be unoccupied, but they should not be left unattended.
Evaluate the following risks on a regular basis to avoid expensive losses:
Small hazards—like an exposed electrical wire or a slow water leak—are normally detected and repaired before they can worsen and cause loss in an occupied building. However, when buildings are unoccupied, these small hazards are less likely to be corrected immediately and can escalate into larger problems. Gradually occurring damage, such as mould, can be equally threatening.
Crime and Liability Risks
Although there are no tenants, it is important to maintain security and surveillance efforts to reduce costs, as you can be held liable for criminal activity or accidents that take place on your premises. Vacant properties attract trespassers, arsonists, thieves and other criminals. It is important to maintain an on-site or surveillance security presence to minimize trespassing or other criminal activity.
Facilities that are used to store chemicals or other pollutants on site must have these materials removed or adequately stored to prevent leaks and seepage. Businesses can be held liable for cleanup in the case of groundwater contamination. Underground storage tanks can represent an even bigger threat to the environment and property owner.
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In many cases, insurance companies will require property managers to have certain policies and procedures in place in order to obtain or maintain coverage. Assessing your exposures and taking the appropriate precautions can go a long way toward protecting your business.
Download our “Loss Control Questionnaire: Residential Property Managers” guide for an in-depth list of more ways to minimize gaps in your risk management: