Research commissioned by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical and the Listed Property Owners’ Club has revealed Britain’s listed properties are being targeted by criminals, presenting an opportunity for brokers to discuss risk management with their clients.
The survey discovered the vast majority of listed property owners (92%) feel vulnerable to property crime. Theft of contents (96%), theft of metal (88%) and anti-social behaviour (76%) are the top three concerns. This is followed by arson (68%), theft of stone (60%) and graffiti (61%).
The research revealed three in ten (30%) listed property owners have been a victim of a property crime. Of those victims, more than half (52%) have experienced property contents theft, a third (32%) have suffered anti-social behaviour, while 29% have been a victim of criminal damage. One in five (20%) have been a victim of vandalism while one in ten (13%) have had metal stolen or been a victim of graffiti at their property (10%).
In the most extreme cases, some respondents to our survey had been victims of violence in their own homes. One home owner reported being “physically attacked by four masked intruders” in their home.
Two in five listed property owners (43%) believe living in a listed building makes them more vulnerable to property crime compared to those living in modern buildings. Having single glazing (62%), flimsy windows (56%) and a perception of high value contents (46%) were the top three reasons given.
One listed home owner added: “I’m worried about how easy it is for someone to break into my home because we can’t use effective security due to the listing.” While another home owner highlighted: “Due to planning restrictions it can be difficult to make external doors and windows safe.”
Ecclesiastical is encouraging brokers to speak to their clients about how best to protect themselves and their properties.
Faith Kitchen, heritage director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, we’re sad to read that 30% of listed property owners have been a victim of a property crime and most feel vulnerable to property crime. While gaining consent to make alterations to listed buildings can be challenging, there are many reversible and inconspicuous measures that brokers can discuss with their clients to improve the security of a listed building including CCTV, intruder alarms and security lighting.
Insurance can offer a safety net should the worst happen and brokers play an important role in helping clients understand the risks they are facing and in ensuring they have the right cover in place.”
Martin Anslow from The Listed Property Owners’ Club, said: “Owning a listed building can be an enormous pleasure but there are hidden costs that make ownership more expensive than the norm. The issue of criminal damage is yet another example. At LPOC we actively work to ensure parliamentarians are aware of these issues and we continuously campaign on behalf of all owners for tax and planning changes that will help reduce the cost of living in a home of historical importance.”