When temperatures drop below freezing, this creates a threat to commercial property.
Many commercial buildings are poorly maintained – especially empty buildings. Some investors that have recently acquired older buildings may be waiting for tenants to move in. Midlands Building surveyor, James Vowles has stressed the need to inspect empty buildings during low temperatures and said:
“At this time of the year it’s especially important to keep an eye on vacant properties to ensure essential items are checked for insurance purposes.”
“Pipework is one of the most immediately vulnerable elements of a building and the mains water stop tap position should be identified for quick and easy access. Ensure all vulnerable pipework and water tanks are lagged with insulation to prevent frozen pipes.”
He recommends that vacant buildings should have the heating appliances turned on to low levels to maintain above freezing temperatures.
Whether a building is occupied or empty, it is the duty of a landlord to have heating systems checked and serviced. All draught seals should be in good condition and gutters and downpipes cleared of debris.
There are costs involved in performing basic maintenance, but this could save much higher costs and disruption if repairs are needed. If a landlord does not provide evidence of maintenance work, it could invalidate his insurance.
With the help of low interest rate commercial mortgages, a landlord can achieve high returns for commercial property investing, but this comes with the responsibility of maintaining the condition of the building all year round.