With the slowing economy and rising rental crisis, there has been a recent influx in vacating homes, business properties, and industrial parks. This leaves commercial property owners with more vacant buildings than they know what to do with. While it’s likely that things will turn a new leaf and get better, property owners need to make sure that while their buildings are vacant, they stay protected. Unfortunately, it’s well known that a vacant building is much more likely to face problems – fire, theft, vandalism, squatting, and more – than an occupied one. If you’re a commercial property owner and want to ensure that you protect your buildings, following the 10 tips listed below. This way, when you find a new, eligible renter, you won’t need to spend thousands of dollars in repairs and delay any move-ins.
The most important thing you’ll want to do to protect your vacant building is visit it frequently – at least once a week. This is a good way to ensure that you know exactly what’s going on. Visiting your vacant property can deter thieves and help alert you to any maintenance problems that need to be addressed. If you aren’t able to do this personally, try finding someone you trust or hiring a company to do it for you.
One proactive thing you can do is keeping your vacant building clean and clear. Make sure there are no overgrown brush, trees, or other shrubbery, especially near any windows or doors. This deters thieves and allows a clear line of vision for those passing by. You should clean your exterior so there’s no garbage, cardboard, or pieces of scrap wood floating around the yard. All of which show signs of vacancy and can increase the likelihood of problems.
Keep all of your attached parking lots clear of any extra debris, in good condition, and looking new. The same goes for any sidewalks. Outgrowth and vandalism lets people know that it’s vacant and may attract more unwanted attention. During the colder months – if you live in an area that gets snow – hire someone to shovel and plow any necessary areas.
Toxic substances can begin to leak from vacant buildings if there is contamination nearby or any problems with the interior of the building. While less common than other problems, this should be addressed immediately and removed to prevent harm to anyone that might be on or near your property.
To avoid confusion, place barriers at the entrance of your parking lots or any other areas that vehicles may accumulate. You want to deter people from parking on your private lots while your building is vacant.
If you want to go above and beyond, consider hiring a professional security guard to monitor your building at night. This will help you catch any problems quickly and is a huge deterrent for vandalism, thieves, and more. Have them turn on the exterior lights when they start their shift for a stronger impact.
Make sure that any and all exit and emergency signs are kept illuminated during vacancy. This means making sure there is electricity running to these signs. You don’t need all of the interior lighting, but these are a must – especially if you periodically have people in the building.
To avoid the annoyance of bursting pipes, either run heat during winter months or drain your plumbing. It’s up to you which option you choose, but if you skip this step you will find yourself in a costly situation with a lot of damage to your building.
To save money and protect the integrity of your building, turn off all of the utilities you won’t be using. This means everything that doesn’t power your alarm – if you have one – or your exterior lights.
Finally, make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent any fires while your building is vacant. Keep fire alarms up and working and make sure you have a connected monitoring service that will alert authorities in case of a fire.
If you or someone you know owns a vacant building and are noticing signs of deterioration on the masonry, don’t wait. Call the professionals at Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. today. Our team of highly experienced professionals will come in and give you an inspection along with any recommendations for action. This is a great way to be proactive and avoid costly rebuilding repairs or demolitions. You can reach us at
708-942-1951 or by visiting our website chicagotuckpointinginc.com.