Our Property Guardianship Lead Solicitor Kirstie Sowter is an expert in the issues facing property guardianship providers and hopes to share her expertise with you via this legal briefing. She understands the intricate details of how the business model works and the potential associated risks.
Guardianship feedback from at the Empty Homes Conference
Kirstie says: Over the last few months, property guardianship has become a hot topic of conversation amongst providers, building owners, guardians and in the press. I attended the Empty Homes Conference 2017 in Birmingham to learn more about the use of empty homes to combat the housing crisis. I also watched with interest, a presentation from Mr Rex Duis (founder of Property Guardian UK and self-styled “property guardian activist”). I expected Mr Duis to be anti-property guardianship and critical of the business model, but instead I found him to be very balanced in his thoughts for the future of the scheme.
In particular, Mr Duis explained that he understood the provider’s key objectives:
- flexibility to hand-back to the building owner on time;
- minimum costs requirements and to make the property fit for occupation;
- keep monthly license fees low and competitive;
- so that the business model is commercially viable;
These objectives need to be balanced against the property guardian’s need for privacy, some security (albeit he was not pushing for as many rights as assured shorthold tenants) and transparency about their rights. It is for these reasons that Mr Duis is proposing a “Property Guardian Charter” addressing these points: the latest version is just short of 40 pages and an updated version is expected imminently so we will keep you updated. A copy of the October 2016 version is attached.
Interestingly, I also note a further post on the Property Guardians UK Facebook page on 26 May: ‘The London Assembly Housing Committee is investigating the role of property guardianship in London’s housing market. If you wish to contribute something [aimed at property guardians], please respond to their page which can be found at the link below…’ We understand that the London Assembly has also recently been in touch with a number of you asking a searching questions directly relatied to property guardianship and inviting you to attend a roundtable discussion on 18 July 2017. We also note that York University Law School is currently conducting research into property guardianship and is asking property guardians to take part in a survey.
We plan to update you with regular blogs about the sector so we can keep you informed about developments. Our blogs will include legal and media updates; the proposed Property Guardian Charter; the London Assembly review; HMO licensing and health and safety updates and many other topics. If there is something specific you would like to ask us, please get in touch.
Don’t forget you can also follow Kirstie on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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