Landlords of both residential and commercial properties that, for one reason or another, lie empty for any period of time, can find themselves constantly plagued with worries about squatters occupying their property at any time, possibly vandalising it in the process, and the costs associated with evictions as well as the damaged caused. They often resort to boarding up their properties or paying for expensive security companies to patrol the building. The property may also not be insured correctly since when it is empty, many insurers require constant inspections of the site to assure them that the property is not considered higher risk.
None of the options are satisfactory, since boarding up a building with metal sheets is unsightly, costly and the surrounding neighbours are never happy with a building being left like this. It looks ugly and can devalue the neighbourhood itself. In addition, it can encourage those who are seeking to perpetrate crime out of sight. Security companies are expensive to maintain over long periods of time and they are often unable to check all parts of the building or apprehend intruders.
However, Guardians of London (www.guardiansoflondon.com), an innovative organisation that offers a ‘guardian’ scheme for empty residential and commercial buildings, can provide a solution to all of the above issues by arranging for responsible and reliable guardians to move into empty properties, not only to look after them and keep them secure, but also to provide an extra and unexpected income for the landlord.
Landlords stand to benefit financially from this scheme through Guardians of London’s unique offering, where a landlord is paid a monthly amount that is calculated depending on the number of guardians and the size of the building. This puts the landlord in the much more satisfactory position of actually earning money on the empty property, instead of continuously spending money to keep it secure and not generating any funds to negate the losses of an unoccupied building.
The guardians themselves are always carefully vetted and have full time employment. They abide by a strict set of rules laid down by the Guardians of London licence. They must keep the property clean and tidy and maintain minor DIY tasks. Guardians of London management will often need to put a number of people into a larger property to ensure that guardians can be there on a shift basis.
Properties that the organisation currently looks after include multi-storey office buildings, doctor’s surgeries and ex-council offices, as well as houses and flats of all sizes across London and the home counties.
Vacant possession can be organised with a 16-day notice period and this allows the landlord to keep their options open regarding what they wish to do with the property.
The benefit to the guardians is that this scheme allows individuals struggling to find affordable property to rent in London to take advantage of and live in properties that would otherwise remain vacant. They are also given the opportunity to live in quirky or unusual properties in some of London’s prime locations, for a fraction of the price they would normally have to pay in rent. Rooms are available from £60 per week, inclusive of utility bills.
Gavin Handman, Head of Facilities at Guardians of London said: “Guardians of London are committed to offering landlords a way out of the current empty property nightmare, which at times can seem a bottomless pit of expenses and statutory charges. A guardian-occupied building will provide the landlord with a regular income from their empty building. It’s a win-win situation!
If a landlord is currently paying up to £8,000 per month on a security firm to patrol and secure their building, by putting 15 guardians into it to keep it secure and prevent it from becoming dilapidated, instead of losing £8,000 per month, the landlord can actually earn up to £1,500 per month instead.
We are also committed to providing affordable housing to young people and key workers throughout London, who may be struggling to find a decent place to live and, to this end, we work with a number of housing associations, the NHS and local schools and councils across London. At the same time, we want to help landlords protect their empty properties by being looked after by our guardians rather than having to board them up or spend vast amounts of money on expensive security firms.”
Please contact Guardians of London to receive an information pack:
Tel: 0203 463 9787 (Central London) or 0208 166 8857 (Greater London)