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.