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Empty School Buildings Rise As Primary School Enrolment Drops By 16.6%

Primary school enrolment in England is projected to decline by 16.6% over the next decade, resulting in over 750,000 fewer pupils. However, in London, factors such as Brexit, Covid, and high housing costs are contributing to a migration trend, exacerbating the issue.

This surplus in school places creates a financial burden as schools receive funding based on the number of pupils rather than their capacity. According to the Department for Education, Lambeth is predicted to have the highest percentage of unused primary school places at 29.2% next year, with eight out of the top ten areas with the highest proportion of surplus places being London boroughs.

The decrease in pupil numbers is affecting not only state schools but also the approximately 2,600 Catholic schools in England and Wales. The number of Catholic schools has been decreasing dramatically in recent years due to a decline in the Catholic population, competition from other schools, and again, financial strains.


Unfortunately, empty public buildings, such as schools, are attractive to vandals and squatters. They are often in central locations, with multiple access points and due to their commercial status, squatting in them isn’t considered a crime.  Should an empty school be targeted by squatters, owners face a very lengthy and costly court process to get control of the property back.

Some owners of empty schools board up the property, but since many are located in residential areas, this often doesn’t go down well with local residents. Not only do boarded up buildings look unsightly, they are often still susceptible to antisocial behaviour and dilapidation. In addition, as the UK goes through a cost of living and housing crisis, having large, empty, publicly funding buildings, clearly sitting empty doesn’t demonstrate efficacies in public spending.  


However, there is one option that education providers are increasingly turning to, one that makes both economic and social sense – Property Guardianship. It’s an option that benefits not only the property owner, but also the local community and those in need of affordable accommodation.

Thanks to their good transport links and often central locations, schools are often sought after by property guardians. They often have large rooms and plenty of communal space, often even a garden or courtyard.  

On a practical level, schools are often well equipped for hosting property guardians thanks to built-in toilet facilities and kitchens. Any additional features such as showers can easily be fitted and DEX can typically have a building fit for guardians within just 10 days of conducting a site visit.  Should a school face a sudden closure, we can usually place an emergency guardian in the building within just 24 hours.

Guardianship also makes financial sense. Not only are property guardians provided at zero cost, in many cases owners make money back per guardian in situ – turning what would be a cost into a revenue stream. DEX are often able to get the property ready for guardians at no cost to the owner.  

the next steps

If you own an empty school, DEX Property Guardians can provide you with a cost-effective solution that mitigates the risk of vandalism and squatting. Our reliable Guardian security services offer peace of mind, allowing you to focus on new opportunities and even generate additional revenue streams.

Contact us today, and we can arrange to secure your property at no cost to you. Don’t let your unoccupied school become a target for threats – let DEX Property Guardians provide a practical and efficient solution.

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The Important Role Of DEX Reps In Our Houseshares

In order to keep our larger house shares running smoothly and harmoniously, we often place an experienced Property Guardian as our ‘DEX Rep’.

DEX Reps live in the property and act as a point of contact for their fellow guardians. They liaise closely with DEX’s Guardian Management Team, reporting any issues promptly and assisting with monthly inspections and viewings. Above all, they ensure the property is being well cared for, guardian guidelines are being followed and that the house has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

A Watchful Eye

DEX Reps are responsible for overseeing their fellow guardians and ensuring rules and regulations are being followed. They inform DEX promptly of any maintenance issues and help conduct regular property inspections. Their watchful eye helps ensure DEX properties are well-maintained and guardian guidelines are being adhered to.

Providing Access

As well as helping DEX in the maintenance and upkeep of the property DEX Reps also help provide access to the building. Should a client or contractor need to gain entry to the building, DEX Reps are on hand to facilitate. They also help DEX with viewings, showing new guardians around the property when they are thinking of joining the property guardian community.


DEX Rep’s provide a point of contact between DEX and their fellow property guardians. They liaise directly with the Guardian Management team reporting any maintenance issues promptly. This ensures that there are clear and effective communication channels between all parties helping to prevent any misunderstandings or conflicts.

Create a Sense of Community

DEX Reps are a point of contact for guardians in their building. They provide support and guidance to fellow guardians, ensuring they are comfortable and settled in their property. They help guardians connect and socialise with each other, often organising communal events, such as meals or film nights.

DEX Reps also help to resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise among the guardians, which help ensure a positive and supportive community within the houseshare.

Want to find out more about becoming a DEX Rep?

We are always looking to for more DEX Reps, so if you feel like you have what it takes to go that extra mile please get in contact with the Guardian Management Team today.
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Guardianship: Solving the Housing Crisis by Addressing Vacancy

As the cost of housing increases, particularly in urban areas, many young professionals are really feeling the impact of the housing crisis, finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable and flexible housing solutions. On the other hand, owners of empty commercial and residential property worry about the soaring costs associated with maintaining vacant property while securing buildings against antisocial behaviour and squatters.

As a result, property guardianship is gaining popularity in cities across the UK, providing an innovative, win-win solution to both individuals and property owners alike.  

What is Property Guardianship

Property guardianship, is a housing arrangement where fully vetted individuals live in empty or unused properties for a small monthly fee, often much cheaper than market rent, in exchange for maintaining and securing the property.

A huge range of property types can be turned into great spaces for guardians to live and thrive in, even places you might not expect. Churches, old schools, police stations and care homes can make wonderful, unique living spaces, as do more traditional houses and flats that are waiting regeneration or development. Otherwise empty buildings get a new lease of life, while providing an affordable and flexible housing solution.

Property Guardians sign a licence agreement rather than a tenancy agreement, giving more flexibility on both sides. Guardians are entitled to the same legal protection as tenants in regard to health and safety, fire and HMO legislation but both parties can terminate the agreement with 28 days’ notice.

Guardianship – Part of The Housing crisis Solution

Guardianship won’t fix the whole housing crisis and it isn’t the right for everyone, but it can be part of the solution. It’s not for families or people looking for long term housing, but for many people the flexibility suits their lifestyle, especially in today’s society.

Guardians are part of a growing community and often enjoy the social connection of living with other like-minded individuals, something that is particularly beneficial for people who are new to a city or looking to make new friends. Property Guardians are always carefully and extensively vetted, resulting in a socially responsible, professional and trusted community.

Helping the wider community

In addition to providing affordable housing options, guardianship helps address the issue of vacant properties. In many cities, there are numerous empty buildings that are boarded up and left unused for extended periods of time. Not only is this an eye sore for the local community, it can lead to a range of issues, such as vandalism, deterioration and squatters.

By allowing trusted property guardians to live in these empty properties, landlords can keep them occupied and secure, which can help to prevent these issues from occurring, positively impacting the local neighbourhood.

Next steps...

The team at DEX Property Management are here to guide you through the process of securing empty property through guardianship. Click below to find out how guardians could be securing your property within 10 days, often free of charge.