Interesting – I hadn’t thought of the possibility of insuring against vacancies, but I can see how it might give a somewhat perverse incentive to landlords!
The Evening Standard had an article on empty shops a couple of weeks back – complete with figures on the percentage of empty units on London’s high streets. Apparently the London average is 12.9%, just above the national average of 12%. Surprisingly ‘Battersea’ was reported as the sixth highest in London, at 18% empty – not far behind notoriousy empty areas like Kensal Town (the emptiest of all, with half empty) and the Dawes Road in Fulham (a perennially unhappy-looking street, with about a third empty).
18% seems a bit on the high side from what I see on Lavender Hill and Clapham Junction – the Lavender Hill probably gets to that rate at the very eastern end, but only just. But what they meant by ‘Battersea’ was somewhat undefined. It may well refer to Park Road / Battersea High Street (which has always been a bit emptier – not helped by the heavy traffic and relative remoteness from transport connections).
I found the article online (if this lets me post links) – though the table with the percentages seems to be missing in the online version –
Incidentally things are moving on well at 19 Lavender Hill – it’s covered in scaffolding and builders; whoever has taken it on looks pretty serious about getting it back together.