Property guardians – a new way forward?

Ad Hoc, which places property guardians in vacant properties, now has several properties in Northumberland.
Ad Hoc, which places property guardians in vacant properties, now has several properties in Northumberland.

A vacant property specialist is pushing property guardian policy on to the industry’s agenda by launching a Respect for Guardians Charter.

In what is a first, Ad Hoc Property Management has launched the charter in a bid to raise standards across the industry.

Ad Hoc, which places property guardians in vacant properties, now has several properties in Northumberland.

Ad Hoc, which places property guardians in vacant properties, now has several properties in Northumberland.

The company places property guardians to live in vacant properties in order to secure them and protect them from vandalism and squatters.

Monthly rent starts from as little as £160 and examples of the properties include former schools, churches and fire stations.

Ad Hoc now has a few properties in Northumberland, including in Berwick and Corbridge.

With the continual need for extra homes at a time of rocketing house prices, more emphasis is being placed on bringing empty properties back to life to alleviate the housing crisis in the short-term.

However, with a limited amount of best practice being adhered to currently, these buildings can vary in quality, something Ad Hoc does not accept.

The Charter is the first part of a wider campaign by Ad Hoc to bring about a necessary raising of standards across the industry.

Ensuring best practice is adhered to at all times, be it through an improved standard of properties for guardians to live in or making sure that guardians not only have everything they require, but also are communicated with in the correct manner, the aim is for all organisations to get on board and agree to these changes.

“Our promise to guardians forms a core part of our business relationship as custodians and accommodation providers,” said Simon Finneran, managing director of Ad Hoc.

“With this Charter, we aim to be open and honest at all times and are fully committed to a win-win relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

“This Charter forms the basis by which we aim to bring an increased amount of best practice to our industry.”

The core elements of the Charter include:

Respectful – Open communication from the moment you get in touch, we’ll treat you as our/a partner. We will give you all the information you need so that you can come on a journey with us.

Ethical – Unique and interesting properties for you to live or work in at a price that is affordable for you.

Sustainable – Low-cost accommodation. Regenerating properties and bringing them back to life to help improve local communities.

Professional – Approachable, flexible and always willing to find a solution. We’ll do the hard work so you don’t have to.

Experts – You can count on us. With 10 years’ experience in the UK and 20 years’ experience in Europe we’ve got you covered regarding the things that matter to you, like health and safety and fire safety.

Collaborative – We’re on hand. Every step of the way. Any problems? Let us know and we’ll work with you to get it fixed.

Transparent – There’s no need for small print here. What you see is what you get. Every time. Guardians only need to give 14 days’ notice to leave the scheme. We will give a minimum of 28 days and we will always do our best to try and re-accommodate you.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.ad hocproperty.co.uk
‘Model can be part of wider solution’

It is agreed that Northumberland has a shortage of housing, but questions are being asked around where these will be built and what infrastructure (schools, GP surgeries, local amenities) is being planned in conjunction with these new homes, writes Andrew Schofield, Northumberland area manager for Ad Hoc Property Management.

We believe that the council, and for that matter the Government, should be reviewing options that do not consist of only one route, but a choice of solutions that ultimately provide housing to those that need it. One such solution is the property guardian model, which basically takes an uninhabited building and places a guardian (person) into it. The empty buildings can include anything from ex-schools, care homes and vicarages to empty flats, retail buildings and even mansions in some of the most sought-after areas in Northumberland and the wider region. In terms of costs to live, a guardian can pay as little as 50 per cent of the equivalent market rate for the type of house-share or self-contained property they reside in.

The USP of the guardianship model lies within its ability to benefit all parties involved. It defies the tense relationship between the traditional tenant and landlord concerning high rent, payment, security and maintenance. It also helps the property owner not only secure the property, but also manage a period of transition in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Overall, this solution should be considered as one of the resolutions to the housing crisis. After all, it can be implemented immediately while longer-term solutions are researched and developed. It also means we are looking to use every solution at our disposal.