Southwark Council pilot Loxal’s unique vacant property security service
CLIENT: Southwark Council
London Borough of Southwark’s Regeneration Development Team is piloting a new service aimed at protecting valuable public property assets from vandalism and squatting. Traditional security methods reduce the value and demand for these assets however Loxal can keep the property secure and desirable whilst improving management efficiency during the disposal process. Dan Delaney, Director, Loxal Security Ltd writes;
Areas of high housing demand such as the London Borough of Southwark affords the council an option to dispose of certain housing assets back into private ownership. Realising the property value enables the council to re-invest back into the general needs housing stock through its repairs and maintenance programme.
However, this does mean that the dwelling is vacant over the period between the last tenants leaving and the disposal of the property at auction making the property vulnerable to squatting, metal theft, arson or vandalism. These risks are generally self-insured by the council and so any losses or damage reduces the re-investment back into the housing stock. Traditional security methods such as steel sheeting or plywood boarding to doors or windows make the property very unattractive to potential private investors. The ‘unloved’ and unwanted appearance of a boarded property reduces demand and has a huge impact upon its value at auction.
Recognising the need for attractive and low visual impact security, LB Southwark is piloting a new visually appealing security system by Loxal. Manufactured locally in South London, Loxal’s range of temporary high security doors and window screens feature the Chameleon graphics system. This mimics the original entrance doors and fenestration producing an attractive visual appearance which belies its formidable physical deterrent to attack. Research is ongoing regarding how sale values are improved compared to similar dwellings secured in a less aesthetically pleasing manner but initial impressions are very favourable. A recent Loxal secured disposal achieved 6% over the reserve price at auction in a depressed market.
The Loxal security doors also feature a unique digital keyless access control system which removes the need for the landlord’s staff, agents, contractors or persons viewing the property to hunt down keys or to be met on site by a key-holder. The cost of lock changes, duplication and distribution of keys together with travel time to collect and drop-off keys is a considerable drain on resources. Staff can be needlessly diverted simply managing the availability of keys to the multiple parties who require access to the property prior to disposal. The Loxal solution is unique PIN codes which can be issued to authorised individuals who can then gain access whenever necessary without a key.
Tim Surry from the Southwark Council Regeneration Development Team says, ‘The Loxal system is considerably more appealing than traditional security methods used previously and we hope this will translate into better returns to the council when properties are auctioned. The keyless access is a real boon as it avoids wasting time meeting contractors on site to grant them access. Recently, I was able to issue an access code over the phone to an engineer performing an Energy Performance Certificate so avoiding two hours of wasted travel time’.