- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Dec 2020
A property guardian is someone who lives in a building that would otherwise be left empty and in return for taking care of the building pays a very low level of rent. It has been promoted as a new and affordable means of living in expensive urban areas such as London. Guardians are expected to live in the property on a full-time basis, ensure it is secure and well-maintained.
- The property’s owners being overseas.
- The property being put up for sale.
- Waiting for planning permission.
- Developers waiting until the property market improves before selling it.
- It must be wind and water tight.
- It must not be vandalised or derelict.
- It must have basic electricity and water facilities.
The benefits of having a property guardian include:
- Costs are saved on expensive security systems.
- As the property will count as being ‘occupied’, insurance premiums are considerably lower than if it were classified as ‘vacant’.
- As there is an occupant the building is legally protected against squatting.
- The property will be maintained, heated and aired.
- The property is more likely to maintain its value.
The benefits for those looking to become property guardians are that it can offer the chance to live in desirable locations, or in interesting buildings, for much lower rent than they would otherwise be expected to pay.
The disadvantages to being a guardian are that the usual renting rights do not apply. There is also the insecurity of the tenure, which can vary from two or three months to several years depending on the circumstances of the property.
If the property is sold or the developer/owner decides they wish to make use of the property, the guardian must vacate the building, often with as little as two weeks’ notice. Guardianship companies that vet and allocate applicants generally try to re-house guardians, but finding another property cannot be guaranteed.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Buy-to-let mortgage.
- Empty dwelling management orders.
- Ground rent.
- Housing cooperative.
- Housing tenure.
- How to evict a tenant.
- Landlord and Tenant Act.
- Private rented sector.
- Property ownership.
- Shared ownership.
- SHED concept.
- What is a mortgage?
 External references
Featured articles and news
How elements and processes work together in a systems approach.
CIOB offers digital guide to proactive methods of working.
Tech will drive professional development in fields tied to infrastructure.
The idea for the structure emerged from the architect's dream.
Changing air tightness requirements prompt testing and revisions.
Government takes steps to revise building safety legislation.
Product can be 'grown' into bricks or used as a self-healing building material.
Anticipating COVID-19's continuing construction disruptions.
Availability payment arrangements involve project performance.
EU responds to COVID-19 with NextGenerationEU plan.
Property developer and founder of London Brick Company.
New course offered by CIOB.