With most businesses and workplaces in commercial buildings having either been completely closed at some point or operating at a reduced capacity to try and limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus, it is important that buildings continue to be insured and safely maintained in order to manage risks and to meet all relevant legal duties placed on property owners.
An empty property is a vulnerable property with many potential hazards that can make the building unsafe for others and reduce its value. Badly managed vacant premises can damage reputation of property owners and put relations with neighbours under strain.
A RICS UK Commercial Property Market Survey found that the retail and office sectors have been hit hardest by the pandemic. The survey conducted in 2020 found that rents and capital values are expected to fall sharply across the office and retail sectors in the coming year, and that 93% of respondents envisaged businesses scaling back their office footprint to some extent over the next two years.
Against this backdrop and despite more positive messaging coming from the sector more recently, the challenge of managing property risk remains, particularly around vacant spaces, which will be at the forefront of risk management and spend decisions in the short to medium term.