Primary school enrolment in England is projected to decline by 16.6% over the next decade, resulting in an increase in empty school buildings. Read how this education provider used DEX’s property guardians to protect & secure the premises in return for a safe & affordable housing.
In 2019, due to a 40% fall in student numbers, the difficult decision was made to close a large inner city, London primary school.
The school was located over two sites within close proximity to each other. Both were considered to be vulnerable to squatting and antisocial behaviour, due to their very central location, multiple access points and commercial legal status.
It was decided that property guardians would be the best security method. They could move into the property quickly, provide 24/7 protection, give access to developers and ensure vacant possession in just 28 days once plans for the site had been finalised. This could all be provided free of charge to the property owner.
GETTING THE PROPERTY READY
Like many school buildings, both properties lent themselves well for property guardians, with large rooms and built-in toilet and kitchen facilities. In order to get them ready for guardian occupation DEX added some extra pop-up showers, ensured both building met health and safety requirements and that all necessary certifications were in place – all at zero cost to the client.
A trusted and experienced ‘Flex Guardian’ was able to move into the property straight away. They were able to ensure the building was fully secure while the team prepared it for guardians occupancy, in line with HMO regulation. All guardians were able to move in within 10 days.
4 guardians were carefully selected for each building via DEX’s robust vetting process & we appointed a guardian as a ‘DEX Rep’ who took on additional guardian responsibilities and acted as a point of contact between DEX and the rest of the guardian community.
Guardians protected the properties 24 hours a day reporting any issues straight back to DEX Property Management. All Guardians had access to DEX’s 24-hour alert service & DEX’s in-house Maintenance Team.
DEX carried out monthly inspections of the sites & were able to provide constant access to the properties whilst they are going through planning & development processes.
In the 3+ years that DEX managed the properties, the buildings provided affordable Central London accommodation to over 10 property guardians.
Guardians ensured the buildings remained in meaningful use whilst securing it against antisocial behaviour. The property remained well maintained until the owners required it back for development. DEX were able to hand the property back, fully vacant, within 28 days. One property is now another school, the other is a local foodbank.
All of this was achieved at zero cost to the owner. In addition to making significant savings compared to traditional security costs, the owner receive revenue for each of the Guardians that is in situ – turning a security risk into a revenue opportunity.
Since its formation over 12 years ago, DEX Property Management has been at the forefront of the empty property management industry, building a rich history in helping commercial entities & other property owners including; councils, dioceses, housing associations & NHS trusts make use of vacant properties.
DEX is now the trusted property guardian provider for over 50% of the G15 housing associations & 1 in 3 London councils.