How to secure a vacant commercial property

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Security

Securing your vacant commercial property is essential to avoid potential risks leading to financial loss and damage. As the owner of an unoccupied property, it becomes a target for trespassers, vandals, and thieves. These unwanted intrusions can result in significant harm, from graffiti and broken windows to more serious structural damage or the theft of any items left behind. The lack of regular activity and presence on the property makes it especially vulnerable, with no immediate way to monitor or report incidents as they occur.

Additionally, your vacant property’s condition directly impacts its value and the safety of the area around it. A neglected building can quickly become a hazard, posing risks not only to the structure itself but also to public safety. Issues such as water leaks can lead to problems like mold, while unrestricted access can turn the site into a haven for unlawful activities. By taking proactive steps to implement robust security measures, you can protect your investment, preserve the property’s value, and contribute to the safety and well-being of the wider community.

This approach shows a commitment to your responsibilities as a property owner and is crucial for effectively managing and maintaining your commercial real estate asset.

Understanding the Risks

When you leave your commercial property vacant, you expose it to several risks that can compromise its safety, integrity, and value. You must understand these risks as the first step towards taking effective security measures to protect your property.


Your vacant property can become a target for vandalism. Without regular activity and oversight, it’s easy for individuals to vandalise your property with graffiti, break windows, and cause other forms of damage. This not only affects the look of your property but can also lead to more significant issues if not addressed quickly.


With no one around regularly, your property is at a higher risk of theft. Any fixtures, fittings, and remaining equipment or materials can be stolen, leading to financial losses and the hassle of replacements.


Empty properties can attract trespassers looking for a temporary shelter or engaging in illegal activities. This unauthorised access can lead to various security issues, including damage to your property and potential legal complications.


In some cases, your vacant property can become home to squatters, claiming rights to your property or refusing to leave. Evicting squatters can turn into a lengthy, complicated, and costly process.

Fire Hazards

Your property might be more susceptible to fires, whether accidental, due to neglected maintenance issues, or intentional, as a result of arson. Such incidents pose a severe risk not only to your property but also to nearby structures.

Water Damage

Without regular checks, minor leaks or plumbing issues in your property can go unnoticed, leading to significant water damage over time. This can cause structural issues, mold growth, and other related problems.

Given these risks, taking proactive security measures is not just advisable but essential for you. By implementing robust security systems, conducting regular property inspections, securing all entrances and exits, and maintaining the appearance of occupancy, you can deter potential vandals, thieves, and trespassers. Taking these steps not only protects your property but also helps preserve its value and contributes to the safety of the surrounding community.

Conducting a Security Audit

To ensure your commercial property remains secure while vacant, it’s wise to start with a thorough inspection to identify potential security weak spots. This proactive step can significantly reduce the risks associated with leaving your property unattended.

During the inspection, focus on the following basic aspects:

Doors and Windows

Check all doors and windows carefully to ensure they are not only intact but also secure. Damaged doors or windows can serve as easy entry points for trespassers or burglars. Look for signs of wear and tear, broken locks, or frames that might need repair or reinforcement.


Well-lit areas are a key deterrent for unwanted visitors. Examine the exterior and interior lighting around your property. Make sure there are no dark corners or poorly lit areas that could provide cover for illicit activities. Consider installing motion-activated lights to improve security during the night.

Locks and Access Points

Assess the quality and condition of locks on all potential access points. This includes not only doors and windows but also gates, service entrances, and any other entryways into the property. Upgrading to high-security locks can provide an additional layer of protection.

Perimeter Security

Assess the boundaries of your property. Check for any breaches in fencing, walls, or barriers that could allow unauthorised access. Ensure the perimeter is secure and consider enhancements where necessary to prevent easy entry.

By conducting a detailed inspection and addressing these basic security concerns, you can strengthen your property’s defence against potential threats. Regular checks and maintenance of these areas are crucial to keeping your property safe in the long term.

Physical Security Measures

Ensuring the security of your vacant commercial property is essential, and one of the foundational steps involves the use of robust locks and effective key management. High-quality locks on all doors and windows form the first line of defence against unauthorised entry. You need to use locks that meet industry security standards, as these are designed to resist picking, drilling, and other forms of tampering.

Equally crucial is key management. You should know who holds the keys to your property and maintain a strict log of key holders. Limiting the number of distributed keys reduces the risk of unauthorised copies being made. In cases where keys are lost or not returned, changing locks is a prudent measure to ensure security.

In addition to secure locks, consider the installation of security doors, shutters, and grilles, especially in areas that are particularly vulnerable or have been previously targeted. These physical barriers serve as a strong deterrent and an effective means to protect glass doors and windows, which are common entry points for intruders.

Good exterior lighting plays a vital role in deterring unauthorised access to your property. Well-lit surroundings enhance visibility, making it difficult for intruders to approach unnoticed. Motion-sensor lights are particularly effective as they can surprise and deter potential trespassers, while also conserving energy when there is no activity. Ensuring that all areas of your property, including entrances, walkways, and blind spots, are adequately illuminated is a simple yet effective measure to improve security.

By focusing on these security measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access to your vacant commercial property, protecting your investment and contributing to the safety of the surrounding area.

Alarm and CCTV Systems

Together, alarm systems and CCTV cameras form a comprehensive security solution that deters potential threats and enables swift response to any incidents, protecting your property from damage and loss.

Installing an alarm system is a crucial step in securing your vacant commercial property. An effective alarm system not only acts as a deterrent but also provides immediate notification in the event of an unauthorised entry. When choosing an alarm system, ensure it covers all potential entry points and sensitive areas within your property. Regular maintenance of the system is vital to ensure it remains operational and effective at all times. This includes routine checks by professionals to test sensors, batteries, and connectivity to monitoring services.

CCTV surveillance is another powerful tool in your security arsenal. The presence of cameras serves as a visible deterrent to potential intruders and vandals. Modern CCTV systems offer high-quality video footage, which can be crucial in identifying trespassers and assisting law enforcement if a security breach occurs. One of the key benefits of today’s surveillance technology is the ability to remotely monitor your property in real-time, from anywhere, using internet-connected devices. This feature allows you to keep an eye on your property without needing to be physically present, providing peace of mind and immediate awareness of any security issues.

Regular Property Checks

Setting up a schedule for regular inspections of your vacant commercial property is a proactive measure that can significantly contribute to its security and upkeep. Regular checks allow you to spot and address potential security issues before they escalate into more serious problems.

During these inspections, you should look for signs of attempted break-ins, such as damage to locks, doors, or windows, which could indicate your property has been targeted. Early detection of such signs enables you to reinforce security measures promptly, potentially deterring future attempts.

Additionally, regular property checks help identify maintenance needs, such as fixing broken lighting, which is crucial in deterring unauthorised access. These inspections also provide an opportunity to ensure that alarm systems and CCTV cameras are functioning correctly, maintaining the integrity of your security infrastructure.

By maintaining a routine inspection schedule, you demonstrate attentiveness to your property, which in itself can deter potential intruders. This approach ensures your property remains secure and in good condition, safeguarding your investment and contributing to the safety of the surrounding area.

Secure the Perimeter

Secure fencing and gates are fundamental to safeguarding your vacant commercial property. Effective perimeter security acts as the first line of defence, discouraging unauthorised access and offering a physical barrier that protects the property’s boundaries.

High-quality fencing should be robust and high enough to deter climbers, with gates that are equally sturdy and lockable. The choice of materials and design can significantly impact their effectiveness; for example, metal fencing with minimal footholds can prevent easy scaling.

For added security, consider integrating barrier systems such as bollards or reinforced barriers at strategic points. These can be particularly useful in preventing vehicular access to your property, reducing the risk of ram-raiding or parking unauthorised vehicles on the premises.

By investing in secure fencing, gates, and additional barrier systems, you create a formidable obstacle to potential intruders, ensuring your property remains safe and reducing the likelihood of security breaches.

Insurance Considerations

It’s crucial to review your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage for your vacant commercial property. Vacant properties may be subject to different risks compared to occupied buildings, and insurance terms can vary accordingly. Ensure that your policy reflects the current status of your property and offers comprehensive protection against potential damages and liabilities associated with it being unoccupied. Regular reviews of your insurance coverage help keep your policy up-to-date and secure peace of mind regarding the protection of your investment.


Securing your vacant commercial property is essential to mitigate risks such as vandalism, theft, and unauthorised access. Start with a thorough inspection to identify weak spots, ensuring doors, windows, and locks are robust and secure. Implementing good exterior lighting and regular property inspections are key to deterring potential intruders.

Alarm systems and CCTV surveillance offer real-time monitoring and improve security, while secure fencing and gates fortify the property’s perimeter. Don’t forget to review your insurance policy to ensure it covers the specific needs of a vacant property.

Taking proactive steps to secure your vacant commercial property not only protects your investment but also contributes to the safety and well-being of the surrounding community. Implement these measures today to ensure your property remains safe and well-maintained.

Get In Touch

If you’re seeking further advice or assistance with securing your vacant commercial properties, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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