2020 -2021 saw some 32,000 people apply to become property guardians in the UK, but according to a recent BBC article* that figure is set to rise to 50,000 in 2022.
This sharp rise in demand for guardianship properties is without doubt a direct result of the cost of living crisis, matched with the distinct lack of affordable housing across the UK. As fuel bills sky rocket and people feel the pinch it’s clear individuals are looking for alternative ways to save money and live more affordably.
Equally this challenging economic climate puts pressure on companies and institutions who are sitting on empty properties, be it commercial or residential. When there is such a shortfall in affordable housing you could argue is it socially responsible to sit on void stock until development plans or regenerations plans are finalised? – Which can take many years.
Guardianship offers one solution. Most empty properties (even ones you might not immediately think of) can be made into habitable spaces for property guardians to live and thrive in. As guardians move into these otherwise empty properties they bring life back into the building and the local neighbourhood. Their presence deters squatters and anti-social behaviour, which benefits the whole community, they also help maintain and care for the building whilst living in it. In return for securing and looking after the property, guardians get to live there at a fraction of the market rate, often with their bills and utilities included.
Guardianship might not be the right solution for everyone, a lot of properties are houseshares and there are shorter notice periods, but for many, especially in the current world, it offers a real affordable alternative.
Read this recent article by the BBC offering a snapshot into life as property guardian…