Property Guardian Schemes are a great idea for people moving to London who require affordable accommodation. The schemes have been in operation for years throughout the UK and Europe, but they’ve recently seen a huge increase in popularity due to the recession.
The idea behind property schemes is that empty buildings, that range from large houses to former office blocks are put under the watchful eye of a ‘property guardian’. The scheme benefits both the building owner and the guardian. The guardian gets a roof over their head, sometimes quite a spectacular 5 bedroom house in Central London, for a shockingly low amount of rent. The owner on the other hand, gets the assurance that their building is being occupied and looked after by a guardian whose presence is likely to deter potential squatters. Using a property guardian is also a much cheaper option to hiring a 24/7 security guard and installing all kinds of CCTV equipment.
The types of building that a property guardian could occupy include the following: offices, schools, shops, village halls, police stations, castles, hospitals, swimming pools, flats, town halls, fire stations, retirement homes, barracks, sports halls, theatres, cinemas, family homes, churches, farms, mansions, industrial sites and monasteries.
The rent or management fee payable in guardian properties, is extremely cheap and you could pay as little as £50-100 per week. There are some downsides to becoming a property guardian though. First of all, the situation is always only on a temporary basis. You could be guardian of a building for as little as a few weeks or as long as a few years. However, as the situation is temporary, you will find that when the owner wants their building back, they will expect you to vacate in as little as 2 weeks time. Often though, the property agency will attempt to rehouse you. Whilst you have the opportunity of living in an extremely spacious building, the facilities will be extremely basic although you can often ask permission to have a phone line fitted. Most of the properties you live in will be unfurnished. There are also often restrictions on how you use the space that you’re living in. You shouldn’t expect to be able to have any large parties or to be able to use the space in a commercial capacity. Finally, as affordable as this accommodation is, for those who are scared of the dark or have a fear of watching ‘The Shining’, you should really think about whether you’d be suited to living in an abandoned building!
If you’re willing to sign up to the adventure of living in an unusual property, you’ll need to gather up various references before you sign up with an agency. Typically, you should take an employers (or client if you’re self-employed) reference, 3 months of bank statements, passport and proof of address. You should have no dependents or pets.
Contact these property agencies if you’re interested in becoming a property guardian. For keyworkers, students or freelancers, they could be the perfect solution to your housing needs!