Tuesday, 7 June 2011

House Guardianship - how it works

Madryn Street, Liverpool - one of several streets earmarked for demolition as part of a land deal with Gleeson Homes. 5 years ago the street was 95% occupied with residents opposing demolition by 35 to 1. Since then the council has colluded with its social landlord to empty the properties and board them up. £8m has been knocked off the value of these properties since they were left to decay.
21 Madryn Street is currently being managed by Camelot Property Management, a company which pioneered the system of property guardians - people who occupy empty properties for a minimal fee, to keep them safe and secure. I've asked Tony Brennan to explain how his company operates its house guardianship scheme. Here is what he said:

The back yard at 21 Madryn Street, now cleared of rubbish

Camelot has been successfully operating throughout the UK for 9 years. We were the first company to introduce the live-in guardians system of property protection to the UK.  We have since achieved ISO 9001:2000 accreditation for Quality Management from the British Standard Institute (BSI).
We comply fully with all health and safety, environmental health, electrical and gas safety regulations.  We work alongside the London Fire Brigade to ensure the fire safety aspects of our service are always fully compliant with current regulation.

Camelot Senior Managers have all attended the Fire Protection Association (FPA) fire safety course required to undertake property fire risk assessments.

All of our front line staff are Security Industry Authority (SIA) qualified; we also have company wide SIA (ACS) accreditation, the only live-in guardian company to achieve this.  For further information on the SIA, including the law relating to services such as ours, please visit www.the-sia.org.uk

We have both Employers Liability and Public and Products liability, including efficacy and contract liability, up to £10 million, with Zurich.  We can provide details on request.

One of the bedrooms at 21 Madryn Street. Camelot will be placing two house guardians in the property once the rooms have been cleaned up and the services checked
Essentially we protect through licensed occupation, a very cost effective form of security and management. It is considerably cheaper than alarms and patrols and has the advantage of not requiring the property to be boarded, which in itself can tend to present a target. Our solution can be used in an extremely wide range of applications.

We only accept professional working people as guardians. They occupy the premises as full time residents and manage the day-to-day protection of the buildings, preventing the property being hit by vandalism and squatting.
Guardians do not have any Tenancy rights. They are Licensed  to live in the property only for such time as we manage it for you. When you give us notice of the return of the building (Normally 3 weeks)  the guardians are given notice and vacate the property as requested.

Our weekly management fee can be as little as £50.00 per week. Our service is described generally below.

  • Minimum contract period of 13 weeks
  • Your notice period is 3 weeks after which the property will be delivered clean and empty on a Monday morning.
  • Each month an experienced property manager will visit the premises.  A written report will then be posted on 'My Castle', your web based interface with Camelot, to keep you fully updated on the condition or your property.
  • The property will be listed in our 24 hour alert service in case of emergencies.
  • Camelot will place its signs visibly on several of the windows at the front and back of the building.
  • Camelot reserves the right to use the company name of their clients in their external communications.
  • Each guardian will place a smoke detector, fire blanket and fire extinguisher in their living area.
  • Camelot will inform the neighbours and local police officers about the property protection unless you tell us not to do so. The reason for that is so that they know the occupation of the building is with consent of the owner.
Visit the Camelot website.

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