There are more than 216,000 long term vacant properties in the UK, and without adequate protection these buildings can become magnets for criminal activity. If you are one of the many owners of an empty property across the country, you would be wise to consider hiring property guardians to protect it. An increasingly popular alternative to security guards, property guardians could be the perfect solution in securing vacant buildings. Here’s why.
What are property guardians?
Property guardians are individuals contracted to live on a vacant premises in order to keep it secure. As part of this role, they may also keep the building well maintained, such as through minor repairs and keeping the garden tidy. Although they permanently reside in the property, this is not part of a tenancy agreement; instead, property guardians hold a licence to occupy the property for the purpose of security. This means that you as the property owner can return to reside there whenever you choose.
Why are property guardians a perfect solution for vacant properties?
1. They are the most effective deterrent to criminals
Property guardians are effective in discouraging criminals from targeting your property. Although many vacant property owners will look towards security guards for protection, this may actually encourage a criminal to trespass the property. Research shows that clearly empty properties are significantly more likely to be targeted by criminals, and whilst security guards can undoubtedly act as a deterrent to vandals or squatters, their presence is an obvious sign that the property is vacant. By having property guardians that live on the premises instead of guards that merely patrol it, the building will appear inhabited making it less likely to be targeted.
2. They offer more robust protection
As well as being more of a deterrent to criminals than on-site guards, property guardians are also more effective at protecting the property itself. Security guards generally make regular patrols at set times around the property, so any criminal closely monitoring the building will soon be able to predict when they are away from the point of entry. As property guardians are permanently residing in the property, this is not an issue.
Not only this, but as property protection company Oaksure note, property guardians are also much more intimately aware of the building by virtue of living there, meaning they can react more effectively to any security threats. Conversely, on-site guards often have little interest in inspecting the building beyond their remit, so will be much less likely to be aware of such threats. The fact that property guardians reside there means that they have more of a vested interest in ensuring that it is highly secure for their own safety.
3. They prevent squatters from claiming possession
Property guardians also prevent squatters from having a claim on the ownership of property, as they can only argue ownership if they can demonstrate that they have possession of the building. Squatters can only establish this through actions like controlling the entrance to the property and setting up their own living arrangements. With property guardians present, this is impossible.
4. They ease the housing crisis
The UK is currently in the midst of a housing crisis, with spiralling prices preventing many from getting onto the property ladder. However, with more than 1.4 million empty properties across the UK, there is plenty of suitable accommodation that is simply left unoccupied.
Property guardianship provides individuals with the chance to live in these uninhibited buildings, and at a reduced price. Considering that many struggle to find affordable accommodation in this current climate, the chance to find homes at a reduced rate can help ease the housing crisis. As Gavin Handman, head of operations at Guardians of London said: “[Property Guardianship] offers huge benefits to those who can’t get on to the property ladder and are desperately looking for affordable housing.”
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5. They are cost effective
Property guardians are typically much less expensive than security guards. When you consider that property guardians not only secure the property, but keep it maintained and carry out any required repairs themselves; they easily offer better value for money.
With increased risks of your vacant property being targeted by opportunistic criminals and the lacklustre service and extortionate costs of security guards, hiring property guardians is the perfect solution.