What Is Vacant Property Security And Why Do I Need It

What Is Vacant Property Security And Why Do I Need It?

Leaving a property vacant opens it up to a host of risks, from squatters and vandals to weather damage and theft. Securing a vacant building is crucial to protecting your investment and preventing legal issues down the road. Vacant property security refers to measures taken to restrict access to and monitor unoccupied premises.

There are many reasons why enhanced security is needed for vacant properties:

  • Squatters – Empty buildings are vulnerable to trespassing. Squatters may break in and unlawfully occupy the space. Removing unwanted inhabitants is difficult and costly.
  • Vandalism – Without supervision, vacant properties are targets for vandals. Criminal damage such as graffiti and broken windows can rapidly deteriorate a building’s condition.
  • Theft – With no one around, thieves may steal copper pipes, wiring, appliances and anything else of value on the premises.
  • Weather Damage – Leaks, mold and other weather damage can occur if a vacant building is not properly maintained. This leads to expensive repairs.
  • Liability – Owners can be held liable if someone is injured on the unsupervised property. Extra security is prudent to avoid liability lawsuits.

Proper vacant property security controls access, deters crime, maintains the building, and avoids the headaches associated with vacancy. It’s an investment that pays off by keeping your asset secure. Read on to learn key strategies for protecting vacant premises.

What Is Considered Vacant Property?

When it comes to security, what exactly constitutes a vacant property? There are a few common scenarios that classify a building as vacant and heighten risk:

  • Between Tenants – The gaps between leases, when one tenant moves out and another moves in, leave a property susceptible to threats. Even if it’s only vacant for a couple weeks, security should be boosted.
  • Under Construction – Buildings being newly constructed or renovated need protection during the process. While construction crews may provide some oversight, additional security is beneficial.
  • Foreclosures – Foreclosed homes that the bank now owns are vacant until they are sold. These properties need monitoring and maintenance.
  • Investment Properties – Owners who purchased a property for investment purposes may leave it vacant until a tenant is found or repairs are made. It still requires security in the interim.
  • Secondary Homes – Seasonal homes or rental properties that are only occupied part-time should have security measures to protect them when vacant.

Even if a property is only going to be vacant for a short time, precautions should be taken. The vulnerabilities of an unoccupied building make security a priority, regardless of how long it will sit empty. Don’t let your property be an easy target – take action to protect it.

How Do You Protect Vacant Properties?

Securing a vacant dwelling requires going beyond just locking the doors and windows. Comprehensive protection entails layers of physical barriers, surveillance, maintenance, and monitoring. Here are some of the most important elements to incorporate for full protection:

Hire Vacant Property Security Services

Professional security guards or patrol services are the best option for monitoring vacant properties. Having a trusted provider conduct frequent inspections and provide a security presence is optimal. They can respond to alarms, record any trespassers, document conditions, and alert police if needed. Their oversight acts as a key deterrent.

Secure All Access Points

Sealing up all possible entrances is crucial. Check windows, doors, roof openings, vents, and anywhere else a person could enter. Board up windows or install security bars as needed. Ensure locks on doors are high quality and tamper proof. The harder you make it to gain access, the better.

Regular Visits

Frequently checking on the property allows you to address risks before major damage occurs. If you don’t use a security provider, visit at least weekly yourself or have a caretaker conduct inspections. Look for signs of break-ins, vandalism, or weather damage. The more eyes on the property, the safer it will be.

Regular Maintenance

Don’t let overgrown landscaping or building disrepair turn your property into an eye-sore target. Keep the building properly sealed, the yard tidy, and everything in working order. Proper maintenance deters crime and preserves the asset’s condition.

CCTV Monitoring

Install security cameras to monitor all access points, perimeters, and interior spaces. CCTV footage will document any criminal activity and help identify perpetrators. Signage should alert that cameras are recording 24/7 to deter wrongdoing.

Motion Sensors / Glass Smash Detection

Sensors that detect motion inside the building or the sound of breaking glass alert you to a breach. These systems trigger an alarm so you can investigate and contact police if needed. They also scare off intruders by signaling that their presence is known.


Ample exterior lighting eliminates dark corners and makes approaching the property more risky. Illuminate all sides, yards, doorways, and alleyways to discourage trespassers. Use lights with motion sensors to further boost security.

Window Protection

Secure windows by boarding them up or installing unbreakable polycarbonate panes. Bars can be added for extra protection. Smash-resistant film prevents shards of glass from breaking off if struck. Removing the temptation of easy window access is key.

Door Protection

Steel doors and door frames resist forceful entries. Upgrade exterior doors to solid core or metal construction. Add deadbolt locks to exterior doors and padlocks to garage doors and gates. Secure roof hatches and basement doors too.

Access Control

Limit access by changing all the locks when you take possession. Provide keys only to those who need them, and track who has them. Have locks re-keyed if keys go missing. An access control system that requires keys, codes or electronic fobs enhances security.

Perimeter Detection Systems

Sensors around the property perimeter detect motion and alert you to any breaches. These include beam sensors, buried sensors, and fence vibration/disturbance detectors. They boost exterior security and make unlawful entry harder.

Adopting a multi-layered approach is the best way to fully secure a vacant building. Don’t rely on just one or two measures. The more barriers you implement, the more protected your property will be against threats like illegal occupation, theft and vandalism.


Protecting your vacant property requires going beyond just locking the door. Ensuring no access points are overlooked, installing alarm systems and surveillance, maintaining the premises, and conducting frequent checks are key. The more layers of security you implement, the less vulnerable your asset will be.

Don’t become another statistic of illegal occupations, theft, and vandalism. Avoid substantial losses and liability risks by taking proactive measures to secure vacant premises. Safeguard your investment and peace of mind by following these best practices for vacant property protection. With prudent security steps, your property will remain protected even while unoccupied.

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