If you are a landlord of a vacant building, there is still a risk of fire breaking out within it, and you need to carry out a landlord fire risk assessment in order to ensure that you have everything as secure as possible and that your building does not present a threat to others either near to it or connected to it. In fact, as an empty building owner you have exactly the same legal responsibilities as you do with an occupied one until it is taken over by new tenants or owners.
One big danger with an empty building is the entry of vandals or squatters who can cause serious damage which will cost a lot to repair before you can let the building or sell it on. Arson and criminal damage are more likely in an empty building than an occupied one. In addition, whether vandals or rough sleepers enter your building, you still have a duty of care to them and you could be responsible if anyone is injured while in your premises.
Your Insurance Could Be Void
On top of that, your insurance policy on the building will require certain safety precautions such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and so on, and your policy could become void if you are not compliant. Installing a fire alarm system is critical in order to provide an early warning if a fire should break out for any reason whatsoever. The last thing that you want is for your building to burn down because you didn’t have an operating fire alarm system.
You may also want to add a security alarm and security lighting in order to deter any people from breaking into the building.
So, you certainly need to carry out a fire safety assessment for your own good. This will determine how many fire extinguishers you need, what type of extinguisher you should have, and where they should be situated. You should also install emergency lighting since, when a fire breaks out, the electrical system can often go down.
Furthermore, there is another reason why you should carry out a landlord fire risk assessment on an empty building and that is because when you are showing potential purchasers or tenants around it they will be far more likely to be impressed with the way that you are taking care of it and therefore more interested to buy or rent it, rather than if the building is in poor condition and has obviously not been looked after.
As a minimum, if someone is going to buy or let the building, they will obviously not want to pay the asking price if the first thing they have got to do is to spend a lot of money on it. That works both ways, because if the building is in good condition and with all the necessary accompanying safety appliances and systems, you are much more likely to obtain the price that you are asking.