Becoming a property guardian: should I believe everything I hear?
Posted on June 10, 2016.
You may have seen (or at least seen the publicity for) the recent Channel 4 sitcom 'Crashing' which showed the fortunes and misfortunes of a group of property guardians
. The series understandably created a lot of media interest in the lifestyle of a property guardian, as well as generating a lot of commentary on the rise of property guardianship as a source of accommodation.
It's probably a sign of how prevalent property guardianship has become that a major television channel have commissioned a comedy about it! Unsurprisingly, the media interest surrounding property guardianship focused on whether 'Crashing' was giving viewers of the show an accurate portrayal of life as a property guardian.
We were particularly struck by the articles which explored the downsides
of being a property guardian. Several of the pieces we looked at focused on the unregulated nature of property guardianship, with stories of guardians forced to slum it in properties that had fallen into considerable disrepair, or tenancies ended with less than 24 hours' notice.
There also seemed to be a general narrative that property guardianship was an accommodation of last resort, where tenants can easily find themselves exploited by companies that are reckless and negligent. Another article seemed to suggest that the best days of property guardianship lay behind it.
Broadly speaking, here are the three main criticisms of property guardianship that our research turned up.
- Prices for property guardians are rising, even as guardians are forced to stay in properties that are falling into disrepair, or are not cared for adequately.
- The life of a property guardian is precarious, with tenancies ended abruptly and guardians often left to fend for themselves for long periods of time when problems arose with their accommodation.
- The property guardian market is uncertain and unregulated: guardians are unable to rely on any legal framework when disputes arise with the company in question. Additionally, property guardian companies do not take their role as a landlord and custodian seriously.
This is why Global Guardians
pride ourselves on our ability to be cost effective
We want to ensure that our guardians get value for money, feel like they are part of a wider community and have the safety of knowing that we are compliant with relevant property legislation. Learn more about these three corner-stones of our service below...
Property guardianship has been one inevitable reaction to a shortage of affordable housing, both here in the UK and across the continent. This has led, in turn, to higher rental prices, especially in densely populated urban areas.
The attraction of being a property guardian is obvious in a market where private tenants can pay a lot of money for rooms that don't offer a lot of living space. Becoming a property guardian through Global Guardians allows you the opportunity to live in a larger living space, often without many of the rental costs and fees faced by tenants in the private rented sector.
Value for money is important, especially as both our business and the property guardian sector in genera continues to grow. That's why Global Guardians prides itself on making sure our rooms and living spaces are maintained to the highest possible standard.
Many of our buildings have a great heritage and history behind them, and this means we want our guardians to both find them, and keep them, in excellent condition.
Meanwhile for property owners, property guardianship saves money on security costs and is generally hassle free. The fact that our guardians are vetted mean that you don't have to worry about who is in your vacant building at any one time.
There is most definitely a social aspect of being a property guardian and Global Guardians want this to be the cornerstone of a guardian's time with us. Our guardians get the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, and we want the property guardian experience to be a memorable and enriching experience for everyone who takes up residence in one of our properties.
We actively encourage the formation of a community amongst our property guardians. This is achieved through shared activities, as well as encouraging our property guardians to undertake community service. We try to give back to the communities in which we operate, encouraging our guardians to volunteer with organisations such as Water Aid and Age UK. Indeed we are increasingly looking more favourably on prospective guardians who demonstrate a willingness to be community-minded during their time with us.
Far from being a precarious or transient way of life, we want our guardians to feel as firmly rooted as possible in the community. This is why we place pastoral care at the heart of our relationships with our guardians. Every property we look after has a head guardian, who is a central point of contact for all the other guardians and acts as liaison for the company.
In a sector that is still relatively young compared to the property-owning and rental markets, there are understandably areas of the property guardian market that are unregulated. We at Global Guardians are at the forefront of reversing and changing this perception.
This is why we ensure that we are fully compliant with all legislation relevant to the services we offer. We take our legal obligations very seriously and we do insist that our property guardians enter into an agreement with us fully aware of their legal obligations.
We don't evict guardians at a moment's notice, as we are always mindful of their welfare and are aware that having to suddenly find a new home can be a very stressful experience. We will give our guardians four weeks' notice to vacate any premises that may suddenly become unavailable for any reason. Additionally, we will also do our best to provide new accommodation for our guardians who suddenly find their tenancies drawing to a close.
We have recently been working alongside a number of partners, including the British Security Industry Association, to draft a new framework and further guidance for companies that protect, and provide security for, vacant properties.