I recently spoke with the London Assembly Housing Committee to provide an update on the regulations in place for Dutch guardians – who are regulated by an independent quality standard association.
The feedback I received was that the London Assembly now feels it has sufficient information following research undertaken by an independent third party, internal investigations and several roundtable meetings with providers and property guardians. I was also pleased to have an opportunity to contribute. A final report, setting out the London Assembly’s recommendations, being prepared for the London Mayor and Central Government, is likely to be ready before the end of the year.
Based on my conversations with the London Assembly and members of the self-formed Guardian Association, changes to the regulation of property guardianship are imminent. At the very least, they will recommend that providers agree to operate a code of practice and a benchmark standard.
However, that leads to obvious further questions:
- Who will regulate any changes and what will the requirements be? I suspect the Report will not go into this level of detail, and we will still have a chance to influence outcomes.
- Proposals have already been put forward by the British Security Industry Association (“BSIA”) and the self-formed Guardian Association. Does the BSIA have sufficient knowledge of this niche sector and all its intricacies?
- Is an association akin to a trade body legitimately able to impartially regulate the sector?
- Who is the voice of the property guardians?
I plan to meet with the London Assembly again before the final report is published. I am keen to keep you as up-to-date as I can. In that meeting, I will tackle some of the points mentioned above. It seems to me, that as a sector we are at a vital crossroads. In my opinion, when this report is released, property guardianship leaders should re-convene quickly (I am happy to co-ordinate if required) to consider the issues highlighted to identify an approach to suit all parties. Engagement with property guardians themselves will be paramount.
I understand that some of you have historically encountered difficulties with insurers who do not understand the benefits of the model and the potential protection it affords. As a result, I am meeting an independent mutual management company in London next week to provide an overview of the legalities surrounding property guardianship in the UK so that they can gain a better understanding of the potential risks. Hopefully, I will have some positive news in this regard in time for my next blog.
Thank you to everyone who attended our Property Guardianship Seminar at the start of this month and for your positive feedback. I joined forces with our Head of Regulatory, Kathryn Gilbertson, for a free seminar focused on issues affecting you. Kathryn spoke about health and safety and HMO compliance-related issues. With her year’s of experience in the sector, it was great to be able to introduce you to her in case you are ever in need of her advice. We would be delighted to hold another similar event next year, perhaps in London in Spring 2018, with new topics of discussion. If there is anything particular you would like support with, please let me know so I can keep in mind as I plan for the next event. We have experts in employment, GDPR, and commercial property, just a few of the areas you might also be interested to hear from