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Paramount Investments

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Tel: 020 7644 2333

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Preventing Squatting in Commercial Properties

Squatting in residential properties will become a criminal offence from September 1. There is the suggestion that from this date more squatters will turn to commercial properties, but is this likely to happen?

That has been the burning question since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill received Royal Assent in May. Essentially nobody knows the answer, but as ever prevention is key.

Surprisingly squatters do have rights and cannot be legally evicted from properties without a court possession order, unless they leave voluntarily or the owner secures peaceable re-entry.

We have compiled a list of things you may need to do to prevent squatters from setting up in your property.

Using a Property Guardian
There are a number of companies that offer a guardian service. A property guardian will come and live in your commercial property, preventing squatters from gaining access. Guardians come from all walks of life however the majority tend to be young professionals who have been thoroughly vetted. The benefit to the guardian is cheap rent and large amounts of space. They also report any issues to the agency immediately, whether that is a security breach or crumbling building work.

Security Companies
If your commercial building is overtaken by squatters, it can be a lengthy and expensive process to evict them and repair any damage caused. Many security firms will offer a wide range of services from hourly/daily visits to 24-hour on site manned security on vacant properties. Although permanent security is expensive, in the long-term it will work out more cost effective than having squatters and dealing with evictions and repairs.

Alarms
A good alarm system can act as a deterrent. Alarms come in various guises and in many cases are stand alone and require no hard wiring, electricity, radio frequency or telephone lines. They are usually installed in tandem with infra-red sensors, both internal and external. This provides instant detection and alerting on a range of incidents including intruders, flooding and fire. Alarms can also be paired with pressure mats, door sensors and cameras which can transmit images to a control room, laptop and iPads, providing landlords with the most advanced security solutions on the market.

Insurance
If your property is vacant you will likely need to notify your insurance company. They will almost certainly require regular checks. They will be able to advise you further on their requirements, and can make suggestions about how to proceed.

Advertisement Boards
Where feasible remove sold boards as soon as possible. This is a clear sign that the property is or is about to become vacant.

Newbould Guardians Ltd have been protecting vacant premises in London and the South East for a number of years and offer a wide range of tailor made services to help protect your building. If you have a vulnerable property in need of their services please contact the investments team at Paramount on 020 7644 2341 to discuss how they can help you.