Latest News and Press
Independent safety audits of member’s properties announced by guardian providers
The Property Guardian Providers Association, set up last year to benchmark standards for companies operating in the property guardian sector, has agreed a Co-ordinated Partnership with a Primary Authority.
“This partnership with a primary authority means that any members’ property secured by live-in guardians, can be subject to a safety, health and environmental check, at short notice.” Explains Graham Sievers, the Chairman of the Association. “Since we set up the Association, the members have wanted to prove that setting high standards was their main goal. Calling in an independent Fire and Environmental Standards Authority will give not only guardians themselves, but other stakeholders such as local authorities, landlords and property developers peace of mind that the properties live up to, if not exceed, safety and health regulations.”
Property guardianship is a method of providing security for vacant buildings. Individuals are permitted to occupy buildings, often in prime areas such as central London and other major cities, in order to ensure that there is protection from squatters and other risks associated with vacant buildings. In return, the guardians benefit from a license fee which is usually significantly lower than the equivalent rent for accommodation in that area. The owner benefits from the security and keeping the property from neglect.
Mr Sievers added “There are hundreds of thousands of houses, apartments, offices and public buildings standing empty across the UK, whilst they undergo redevelopment planning and fund raising. And yet there are also hundreds of thousands of people who want to find affordable accommodation nearer to where they work. Many of our current guardians choose this option to save up for a deposit for their first own home. So far this year, the increasing legislative and regulatory landscape for the private rental sector has only put pressure on owners of these properties to keep them empty, and not to put them to good use whilst their future is decided. We hope this safety standard announced today will help to redress the balance.”
NB: only members of the Association will be subject to these short notice audits by the Primary Authority.
VPS Guardian Services safety and standards initiative recognised by the House of Lords
Doug Edwards, the managing director of VPS Guardians Services, invited the major providers in the sector to meet to form an association with the express aim of ensuring a high bar of safety and standards was set across the industry. His call has been answered this month with the formation of The Property Guardian Providers Association (the PGPA), which was recently welcomed by the government and across all parties in the House of Lords.
The official record of parliament, Hansard, reports the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Wales Office (Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth) as saying “I welcome the new organisation... I am keen to meet (them), and we have already taken steps to ensure that that happens to see exactly what is being done to promote best practice and safety among the organisation’s members…the organisation includes seven of the United Kingdom’s leading property guardian companies, and I shall discuss with ministerial colleagues how we take that forward.”
Doug has just been shortlisted by IFSEC’s Security and Fire Excellence Awards for his Contribution to Standards in the Security Sector, for taking this sector-lead in bringing the top property guardian companies together.
Meet us at Save Our Boys and Girls Employability Day
This Friday we are attending Save Our Boys and Girls "Employability Day" where we will be showcasing our affordable housing spaces in London. Don’t miss it!
Where: Highgate Newtown Community Centre, 25 Bertram Street, London N19 5DQ
When: Friday, October 26th, 2018; 12-4 p.m.
What else will be there?
Cheap housing. Jobs. CSCS Cards. Qualifications. Training. Construction opportunities. Hospitality. Music studio. Blogging. T-shirt printing. Business start up. CV writing and interview techniques and more.
This is a free to attend event, open to everyone, no age limit no restrictions.
Refer a friend and earn £50!
Refer a friend and receive a £50 reward after the new guardian has lived at VPS Guardians’ property for at least 3 months. Just ensure your friend tells us that you referred them when they register with us.
How does VPS Guardians “Refer a friend” program work?
- Find friends who are interested in becoming vacant property guardians
- Ask them to fill out a form at https://www.vps-guardians.co.u...
- We will then contact them with available properties & arrange viewings
- Email their name to [email protected] so we can track the application
About Guardian Living
We have various properties, such as houses, flats, libraries and care homes that need property guardians to live in them. Typically rent is only £250 - £600 a month, depending on location. VPS will ensure all living essentials are available, such as bathroom utilities and cooking facilities. Please note that some properties may be unfurnished, but all bills are included in our weekly fee, including council tax un less the property is a residential flat.
To qualify to be a VPS Guardian, people must:
- A minimum annual salary of £16,000
- Ability to provide references (employer and/or character references) for the last 2 years
- Required to undergo a DBS - Disclosure Barring Service (formerly CRB) check and a credit check
- Proof of UK/EU residency (or proof of indefinite right to remain in the UK)
- No pets; no dependents
Please ensure that the person you suggest is happy to be put forward, and is able to attend a face to face interview if necessary.
Safety First: The Law on Property Guardians Providers Cooperate to Raise Standards Across Property Guardianship Industry
VPS are delighted to highlight a white paper published today that sets out the legal & safety obligations for guardians and property owners. It has been issued by VPS and six other property guardian companies, working together to drive up standards, and to help inform and safeguard the interests of both property owners and guardians.
‘The Law on Property Guardians’ details the current legal status for guardians, the compliance requirements and the health and safety obligations that providers of property guardian schemes must meet. Written by a prominent, independent legal team, comprising a leading housing lawyer, a QC and a barrister, the white paper sets out to ensure better practice in the industry through a minimum common standard.
Doug Edwards, the Managing Director for VPS Guardians explains: “The providers wanted to benchmark what is the current legal status of a guardian, and what the obligations are for the owners or management companies for premises being used to house guardians. This document will help inform all stakeholders and support our aim to promote best practice across the industry, advocating that all legal and safety standards and regulations are adhered to, or exceeded, by property guardian providers.”
“Running a property guardians’ programme not only helps to secure properties that are temporarily vacant, but in a small way all helps to alleviate the pressure on housing. Properly run providers ensure such schemes are managed ethically and safely.” Doug concludes.
Click here to download the paper.
Three key points emerging from it are:
i) Health and safety requirements apply to all buildings where Property Guardians live, whether they are commercial, residential or other types.
ii) Fire safety, gas safety and any potential on-site hazards fall under the same regulations as tenants, and are enforceable by the same authorities.
iii) Property guardians sign-up as licensees, not tenants; two of the key differences include non-exclusive occupation of the premises and shorter notices to leave. In return, guardians live in low-cost accommodation.
The providers group commissioned top housing lawyer, Giles Peaker, and a principal QC and barrister-in-law from Arden Chambers, Andrew Arden and Andrew Dymond.
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