Monday, 01 June 2020

Preventing your Rental Property from Squatters During The Lockdown

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 13 May 2020 00:11

As we witness the spread of COVID-19 across the world, all countries have experienced extreme measures to stop the spread of the virus. The extent and speed of the government measures have caught many businesses by surprise, potentially spelling the end of many organizations as cash flow dries up. Those in the business of commercial lettings who have been fortunate to survive this time are having to implement measures to protect their vacant properties and also to protect those new vacant properties that have come about as a result of a business closure. Protecting your property from vandalism, squatters, and fly-tippers presents a significant challenge to those in the property industry, however, there are measures that businesses can put in place to prevent any potential headaches. 

Concrete Barriers 

 

To reduce illegal dumping of rubbish near your property, the property business is investing in concrete barriers to lay across any property entrance, car park, or driveways. 

There are several concrete block options available. Concrete bollards are precast short posts that are relatively benign in appearance and can even add a decorative statement. However, don’t underestimate the added security that these bollards provide. The heavy-duty posts deter theft, vandalism, and illegal dumping without being overt. One of the added benefits of using attractive bollards is that it does not scream, “vacant property,” as much as a larger barrier can. They come in a variety of sizes, and some various shapes, ranging from a traditional post to a pyramid-style. These concrete barriers can limit unwanted access and are usually reinforced with steel rebar.  

The next option for concrete barriers to limit unwanted access to your property is that of a concrete perimeter or security barrier. These come in a variety of sizes depending on your intended purpose, but the most used options are approximately a meter in height. Shorter ones will stand out less while still providing security to your uninhabited property during the shutdown. 

If you are intending to sell your property after (or during) the shutdown, opt for a more attractive option so that potential buyers don’t have a jarring image of large concrete barriers when they consider the property. Also, this will block vehicle access to the building. 

When concrete barriers aren’t enough, there are also options to have the addition of security Heras fencing attached directly to the barrier. This will provide an even greater level of theft and squatting prevention. If your first concern is preventing theft and trespassing, then a concrete barrier with an attached security fencing might be an ideal option. However, consider the regulations where you are placing them to reduce any friction with potential neighbors, and also take any “for sale” signs down, since an obviously boarded-up property is not appealing to a potential buyer. 

 

concrete blocks

                                                                                                                                                                   Image credit: Problock.co.uk

Point of Entries

 

The most obvious point-of-entries for trespassers are your windows and doors. If you anticipate your business or property staying closed for the remainder of the shutdown, these areas should be secured with a steel security screen. These screens are particularly important if there are still valuables to protect the property. 

Some security screen doors offer interesting patterns, but the most important aspect is keeping your property locked down and secure. Steel screens offer more than a typical window board since they are not only hard to break into, they are also knife and razor-resistant. Deterring squatters and trespassers starts by not allowing an easy access point, and by installing metal screens, you cut down dramatically on this.  

Ordering steel screens for doors is straightforward since most doors, but your window screens will need to be custom-fit and installed to properly fit your property’s windows. Steel screens greatly reduce threats to your property and are aesthetically less obvious than window security bars. 

Temporary Security Solutions

 

If you do not currently have an alarm system, you can install a temporary video verified alarm. These alarms, when triggered, send a video clip directly to a landlord or security firm. When a motion activator is tripped, the video begins to record, typically for ten seconds. The security firm will then immediately validate if it is a trespasser and can alert police, a landlord, or you to inform of what is going on. 

If you would like to bypass the security firm, consider installing one of the many options on the market that alert you when there is movement detected, such as Nest video monitoring, which connects to your smartphone. This can be relatively less secure if you are not glued to your phone for these alerts. 

If you have a large property, another option is to have a security guard patrol as needed. Another important aspect is to consider how well-lit your property is. Installing extra lights in or around your property can be an automatic deterrent for trespassers.

CCTV Cameras on the Property 

 

Depending on the type of property you are protecting during the shutdown, a final option to increase security against trespassers is to install CCTV cameras. Unlike a video verified alarm that records short clips, closed-circuit TV cameras are always recording, providing more details to what is occurring on your property. 

Prominent CCTV cameras should be installed with large notices to potential transgressors. While the cameras themselves are useful, specifically because they monitor 24 hours a day, the physical notices that they exist can be deterrent enough for many potential trespassers. CCTV towers are particularly effective at reducing theft of and from vehicles, so they can be ideal for car park security. 

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