The Law on Property Guardians

Last September we posted about the debate held at the London Assembly to discuss all aspects of property guardianship in London including the relevant legal requirements for property guardian providers.

As we said at the time, “PGP are passionate about protecting both our clients’ properties and our guardian community. We are proud to be given this responsibility and of the opportunity that we provide people who temporarily live in the properties we manage”.

In 2018, property guardianship continues to evolve  as an efficient, cost effective means of vacant property protection that doubles up as viable and affordable temporary housing for a blossoming community of property guardians, especially in London.

With the increasing demand for cost effective empty property management services from building owners  and the severe shortage of affordable accommodation in London It is encouraging to see clarification of the basic legal requirements for property guardianship schemes becoming  recognised as the industry grows..

The requirements (listed below)are based around relevant legislation and proposed regulation pertaining to health and safety and the legal status of property guardians as licencees rather than tenants

Last month, PGP was delighted to be invited for a meeting at City Hall to hear the recommendations made following publication of the London Assembly’s report.

The report from the GLA along with recommendations from the Mayor of London and Valuation Office Agency goes a bit further in clarifying wider points that apply to property guardianship.

It also identifies additional legal points to address. For example,  ensuring that the same health and safety rules are applied to guardians as licencees who could be required to vacate a property on being served 28 days’ notice rather than tenants.

Both from a legal aspect and overall, the GLA report is a positive reflection of the property guardian industry as beneficial to those involved as long as property guardian companies manage them correctly. It was stated that there are many good examples of well-run guardian properties compared to a small number of negative experiences reported.

PGP are looking forward to continuing our participation in the discussion and seeing the next steps in the development of the property guardian industry along with the disappearance of “less professional” companies.

This will ensure that both building owners and property guardians get the most benefit from well-managed property guardian schemes in London.

Basic legal requirements that apply to property guardianship:

Property guardians sign a licence agreement NOT a tenancy.

They must be issued with 28 days’ written notice to vacate a property.

Fire safety regulations for shared accommodation apply

Housing health and safety regulations apply

Planning and non-domestic rates

No planning permission is required

Properties may be re-evaluated from business rates to council tax whilst guardians are in occupation

Self regulation

A property guardian industry trade body to be established

Redress scheme for property guardians to be established