Property Guardians - legal?

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    Property Guardians - legal?

    Hi

    It seems that 'property guardian' businesses are springing up everywhere - like 'Ad Hoc props', or 'Camelot' - offering very cheap accomodation. They rent out empty buildings, such as old offices, churches, halls, gyms etc etc - anything really - even the odd proper house.

    They seem to operate on licenses rather than ASTs - but is it legal?

    I'm assuming that the schemes are operating on the basis that the people they allow to live in the properties are classed as 'employees' and that the accomodation is provided as part of their job - the job being 'guarding the property'.

    Can they do this? It seems pretty obvious that it's just an excuse to rent out properties for accomodation, rather than a genuine security issue - but having said that, their presence will make a property more secure, so they are sort of fulfilling their role?

    All seems a bit dodgy to me.

    What do you think?

    Also - most of the properties certainly would not be upto scratch under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System - which I believe applies to any building used as a persons main residence.

    Comments much appreciated.

    #2
    It's probably social housing and if so operates on a completely different basis to normal landlord/tenant relationships.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      From Camelot's website, this does not seem social housing but apparently a way for private owners to keep a property occupied in order to prevent squatting and damages.

      Interesting mention on their website:
      When you choose to become a Guardian, you do not pay rent. You pay the Camelot monthly management fees. These fees often include all utility bills, and are on average one third of the going market prices for similar size properties/rooms in that area.
      I'm guessing that they do this so that no rent = no tenancy, but a license to occupy?
      But could this just be calling rent by another name? (hence potentially defeating the purpose)

      Comment


        #4
        They say: "Camelot works with legally watertight contracts that have been tested in court, outlining all the rights and responsibilities of the owner, the Guardian and Camelot." I should like to see one of their agreements.

        Comment


          #5
          It is a license to occupy. I believe Camelot and Adhoc would act as an intermediary in this regard.

          I would say that as with any business involving housing people they have a duty of care over their guardians and would need to provide accommodation meeting statutory and regulatory standards.

          Comment


            #6
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...uatters-rights

            One serious problem is that contracts between the property managers and the "guardians" do not mention the word "tenant" at all. The "guardians" have none of the rights enjoyed by tenants or even squatters. Camelot advertises a "watertight legal framework" for property owners: the occupier is described as a "licensee" paying a "fee", with no occupation or other rights.

            This means those guarding properties are paying these companies large amounts of money to be in receipt of minimal living conditions.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              The article is a bit outdated but most of the information is correct...

              of course, squatting in residential premises is a criminal offence now.

              As for rights, guardians don't have many but they do get to live cheaply, which for most people who want to be guardians is a good enough reason.

              I'm glad to have resurrected a 6 month old thread!

              Comment


                #8
                I am puzzled why the arrangements are not tenancies.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Like tied accommodation, comes with the job, see...
                  http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...vice_occupiers
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I don't think you would want to have persons occupying a premises on a AST. It would lead to all sorts of problems when you ask them to leave....immediately. Actually, I think 3 weeks notice is standard.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                      Like tied accommodation, comes with the job, see...
                      http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...vice_occupiers
                      A job where you pay more for the occupation than you get in wages?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I know, someone should bring a test case. Anyone want to volunteer as a guardian for an unknown period, get evicted & bring the case?

                        Reckon they'd win £££££ mind..
                        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It's not a job. It's just a cheap place to live.

                          ...I'm quite knowledgeable on the subject.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I know, someone should bring a test case. Anyone want to volunteer as a guardian for an unknown period, get evicted & bring the case?
                            What would the case be based around Mr Nesbitt?
                            Last edited by alastair_g; 17-09-2012, 21:47 PM. Reason: quote

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by alastair_g View Post
                              It's not a job. It's just a cheap place to live.

                              ...I'm quite knowledgeable on the subject.
                              Great, the more knowledge the better!

                              Is that as director of Camelot, employee/guardian/ client/lawyer/other?

                              Cheers!
                              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                              Comment

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