Property Guardians - legal?

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  • Trawler
    started a topic Property Guardians - legal?

    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.

  • theartfullodger
    replied
    Article by Tessa on this at...
    http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/201...at-is-the-law/

    Perhaps someone will bring a test-case...

    Leave a comment:


  • theartfullodger
    replied
    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
    Their paperwork may state many things as if it were truth (it's in their interest). I'm not sure how this case would apply as it predates the Housing Act 1988.
    Agreed: I'm still of the view that a test-case is needed to establish if Camelot's "license" is a license or tenancy, that HA1988 may well move the goal-posts on from "AG Securities v Vaughan", as also might OFT guidance/regulations (yes, OFT stuff is guidance only...- I refer to general OFT stuff, not just OFT356)...... time will tell...

    Anyway, for you specifically I hope you understand that this agreement means that you will have to share the property with whomever they decide, whenever they decide, and that they can enter the premises whenever they wish.
    Very minor disagreement: We haven't seen the full text of the purported "license" (gwendes suggest you do NOT post it as they might feel it is copyright...) but even if the "license" does assert
    this agreement means that you will have to share the property with whomever they decide, whenever they decide, and that they can enter the premises whenever they wish.
    then, whilst accepting it may well say that, as will all these things, only a Judge in court can finally decide what rights each party does or does not have..for any particular circumstances and any particular set of paperwork....

    I think this thread may run for quite some time....

    Cheers!

    Leave a comment:


  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by gwendes View Post
    I'm a property guardian about to take up a new 'Licence for non-exclusive shared occupation of premises' and the paperwork states:

    "The House of Lords has held that this sort of sharing agreement does not create a tenancy: see A G Securities Ltd v Vaughan [1990] 1 AC 417. You will, therefore, have to vacate the building as soon as the agreement is terminated."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AG_Securities_v_Vaughan
    Their paperwork may state many things as if it were truth (it's in their interest). I'm not sure how this case would apply as it predates the Housing Act 1988.

    Anyway, for you specifically I hope you understand that this agreement means that you will have to share the property with whomever they decide, whenever they decide, and that they can enter the premises whenever they wish.

    Leave a comment:


  • gwendes
    replied
    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
    Hey I'm not saying that the scheme is necessarily 'bad' if it makes happy property owners and happy 'guardians'.
    But it seems that they may be on shaky legal grounds, and so really the property owners should be careful as they are the ones who could end up with someone at their property claiming to be a tenant.
    I'm a property guardian about to take up a new 'Licence for non-exclusive shared occupation of premises' and the paperwork states:

    "The House of Lords has held that this sort of sharing agreement does not create a tenancy: see A G Securities Ltd v Vaughan [1990] 1 AC 417. You will, therefore, have to vacate the building as soon as the agreement is terminated."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AG_Securities_v_Vaughan

    Leave a comment:


  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by alastair_g View Post
    It would probably be the end to lots of people having cheap accommodation and habitable buildings returning to un-habited or squatted.
    Hey I'm not saying that the scheme is necessarily 'bad' if it makes happy property owners and happy 'guardians'.
    But it seems that they may be on shaky legal grounds, and so really the property owners should be careful as they are the ones who could end up with someone at their property claiming to be a tenant.

    Leave a comment:


  • alastair_g
    replied
    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
    Indeed. And I'm betting that one would be the end of their little business...
    It would probably be the end to lots of people having cheap accommodation and habitable buildings returning to un-habited or squatted.

    I'm not against squats, but the government and media are! People complained about the squatters and now they complain about the occupiers?

    Leave a comment:


  • westminster
    replied
    Originally posted by alastair_g View Post

    Would it not be similar as having a long term stay at a hotel and then just deciding to lock yourself in and not pay any of the bills, declaring yourself as a tenant ie. the initial terms were you could stay as long as you paid for?
    https://www.landlordsguild.com/hotel...nce-or-lodger/

    Leave a comment:


  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
    In the case of Camelot guardians I don;t think there's been a test case...
    Indeed. And I'm betting that one would be the end of their little business...

    Leave a comment:


  • theartfullodger
    replied
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_v_Mountford

    Street v Mountford [1985] is an important House of Lords judgment in English property law. The case set out the principles the court would deploy to decide whether someone's occupation of a property amounted to a tenancy (i.e. a lease), or only a licence.
    ...etc etc...

    Doesn't matter wot they thunk...

    doesn't matter wot the paperwork says...

    why matters is what the tenancy/licence is in law...

    In the end the judge decides...

    In the case of Camelot guardians I don;t think there's been a test case...

    Leave a comment:


  • alastair_g
    replied
    I'm not a legal professional but I would think if someone signs an agreement knowing fully what they are getting into ie. occupying a property as a guardian and agreeing to a certain notice period and benefiting from cheap rent then they wouldn't have a case. Having seen a few of these agreements from different companies I can say that they all explicitly state the that the agreement does not convey any rights as a tenant.

    Would it not be similar as having a long term stay at a hotel and then just deciding to lock yourself in and not pay any of the bills, declaring yourself as a tenant ie. the initial terms were you could stay as long as you paid for?

    The fact that the government are on the side of the property owner in their anti-squatting legislation means they will also probably be on the side of the property protection industry.

    Leave a comment:


  • westminster
    replied
    Originally posted by alastair_g View Post
    What would the case be based around
    Unlawful eviction.

    Leave a comment:


  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
    If you include a statement in an agreement to the effect that the tenancy is not an AST it cannot be an AST. If, but for the statement, the tenancy would be an AST then it will be an assured tenancy which is not an AST.
    Ah yes, you're right!
    Even 'better' result, then

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
    The point is that writing "this is not an AST" on the agreement does not make it so if the conditions for an AST are met.
    If you include a statement in an agreement to the effect that the tenancy is not an AST it cannot be an AST. If, but for the statement, the tenancy would be an AST then it will be an assured tenancy which is not an AST.

    Leave a comment:


  • jjlandlord
    replied
    Originally posted by alastair_g View Post
    I don't think you would want to have persons occupying a premises on a AST.
    Of course.
    The point is that writing "this is not an AST" on the agreement does not make it so if the conditions for an AST are met.
    The same goes for licence v. tenancy.

    Here if the occupier is granted exclusive possession, pays 'rent', imho it looks like a tenancy, and thus an AST.

    Leave a comment:

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