Become a property guardian
by Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellythekiwi)
Renting property in London can be very expensive. For me, a huge proportion of my monthly salary goes on rent alone. And then I still have to add on all the other expenses like Council Tax, travel and bills.
London is also home to a large number of empty houses. This may be because they need work done on them, or they are waiting to be sold. These empty homes are at risk of having squatters move in, being vandalised, or broken into. Property guardians are a way of landlords protecting their properties without the high costs of a security firm.
#1 How do I become a property guardian in London?
There are certain criteria that you need to meet if you want to be considered for property guardianship.
• You need to be flexible and able to move with short notice. Property is offered on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. If you don’t want to miss out on a property, you will need to be able to move in straight away. You may also have to move out quickly if the landlord decides to return to the property. Generally, you will be given a minimum of two weeks’ notice.
• You need to be earning money, so you need to have a job. Even though it is cheap, there is weekly rent (or licence fee) to pay. This will normally be somewhere between £35 and £75 a week. You may also need to be responsible for household bills; this depends on the type of property and the company that you are registered with.
• You need to be able to get along with other people. It is unlikely that you will be placed in a property by yourself – most properties have anywhere between 2 and 4 guardians looking after them.
#2 What is the role of a property guardian?
Basically, you are there to look after the property. You will be required to report anything that happens to the property whether it be squatting attempts, vandalism or any property maintenance work that needs to be carried out.
You will be expected to treat the property as if it is your own, and spend a certain amount of time there each week (this includes sleeping time). You can have visitors to the property but huge parties are out and you can’t move somebody in who isn’t a guardian.
If you sign up with Dot Dot Dot then you will be required to do 16 hours of community work per month. This can be any kind of charity work you like so find something that you are really passionate about and dedicate your time to it.
#3 Is there anything else I should know?
It is not only houses that need guardians to look after them. You could end up living in an old fire station, an empty office building or a warehouse! To me, this sounds like it good be quite interesting but it is not for everybody. Guardians are usually expected to provide their own furnishings, some properties will not even have white goods, so take this into account before registering.
If you’re between houses or looking to find some cheap accommodation then consider becoming a property guardian. You’ll need a sense of adventure and a flexible attitude but you could end up living in your dream home!
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You may also want to check How to Make Money Buying Lost Baggages.