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Coronavirus Information for DEX Property Guardians

property guardians coronavirus

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis and taking advice from government resources and guardianship experts.

Our first priority is to ensure that our staff and customers remain safe, whilst adhering to public health advice.

We are aware that we play a critical role in keeping properties and guardians safe and secure, especially at this unprecedented time. As a result we would like to reassure clients and guardians that we are still open for business.

Although we are remaining open, our priority is that everyone remains safe. As a result, all DEX office staff are now working from home until further notice.

To contact any member of the DEX Team during office hours, please call 07717 072577 and you will be directed to the correct contact.

For emergency out of hours assistance please continue to call the main office number, 0800 0855 994. You will hear an answerphone message, giving further instructions.

This is an evolving situation and information is changing daily. For the most up-to-date and accurate advice on the coronavirus outbreak please refer the following government and NHS websites:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

https://www.hs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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DEX Brave The Cold For Our Charity Partner, LandAid

Landaid

On one of the coldest nights of the year, 4 hardy members of the DEX team took to the streets of London, to take part in the famous property sleepout, to show DEX’s continued support for youth homeless charity, LandAid.

The event saw over 300 property professionals, supplied with just a cardboard box, brave the cold overnight at the Oval cricket ground, London. Before bedding down, the DEX team listened to humbling talks, including that of George O’Neil, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre. George talked about the impact LandAid funds were making to them, providing safe homes for vulnerable young people across the capital.

Of course, this event doesn’t come close to replicating the harsh reality of having to sleep rough, it does offer a chance to stand in solidarity with homeless individuals, raising funds and awareness of the issues too many young people face.

Rogier Donkersloot, Managing Director of DEX Property Management and one of the DEX Sleepout volunteers said “The event was a real eye-opener. I was slightly apprehensive beforehand, given the snow flurries we had in the morning, but I knew we were well prepared. It was an extremely cold evening, but I am aware it is nothing compare to what many young people have to face on a daily basis. As a company, we were delighted to raise close to £1,500 for LandAid, which is an amazing charity that we are very proud to support.”

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Winter Responsibilities for Property Guardians

secure empty property for winter

Dark days, early nights and extreme winter weather mean extra responsibility for property guardians over the colder months. We caught up with the two newest members of DEX’s Property Management Team, Kate and Jason, and asked them a series of questions, specifically related to securing Property Guardian buildings during winter….

Q: Our property has a big garden, what do I need to do to maintain it over the winter months?

A: Generally, gardens look after themselves in the colder months as plants don’t grow as rapidly, but there are a number of things Guardians should do to make sure the garden is ‘winter ready’. Trees surrounding property should really be cut back as they could damage the property in bad weather and I would encourage Guardians to call the Property Management team if there are any around their property. Fences can fall over in strong winds, so we recommend making sure everything is secure and sturdy and that smaller items, such as garden furniture, are safely stored away too.

Q: Last year we noticed water on the inside of our windows and the place smelt a little damp. What can we do to stop it this year?

A: Interior condensation occurs on the inside of windows and it happens in the winter when the warm air inside the house condenses on the cold windows. It’s a common issue, but there are many small changes Property Guardian to reduce the problem;

  • Ensure the house is ventilated
  • If it isn’t too cold, open the windows for short periods
  • Move houseplants away from the window, as they can produce moisture
  • Use extractor fans if available
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed

If a Guardian notices condensation, it’s important to try and take these precautionary steps, as if the problem goes untreated it could lead to mould forming. If the problem continues, DEX can provide moisture eliminators or dehumidifiers.

Q: The property we live is pretty old, are there any extra measures we should be taking when the temperature drops?

A: Make sure the property is wind and watertight by checking the exterior of the property. Guardians should look for broken or missing tiles, overflowing guttering or cracks in the walls. These can all lead to water getting into the property, older properties are more susceptible to leaks and they can result in more serious or structure issues. If leaks are identified the property management team should be notified immediately. Keep an eye out for damp, again older properties can be more susceptible. Making sure the property is well ventilated and that the heating is in regularly use can help reduce the problem.

Q: I heard that property related crime levels tend to increase over the winter, what extra security measures we should be taking?

A: Darker evenings and shorter days mean properties are more susceptible to crime in the winter months, than at any other time of the year. As a Guardian there are a few simple steps that can be made to improve security levels. Put lights are on in the property during the evening, to ensure the property looks visibility lived in. Having Property Guardians living in the property is the biggest deterrent to criminals, especially if the building has been empty previously. Ideally a Property Guardian would be in the property throughout the day and evening and obviously have all doors and windows locked and secure at all times.

If you are a DEX Property Guardian and you have any questions relating to property management or maintenance issues please contact the team directly on 0800 0855 994 or email hello@dexpropertymanagement.co.uk
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Vacant Property Risks Rise Once The Clocks Go Back

secure empty property

Dark days, early nights and extreme winter weather mean added risk for empty properties. Buildings that stand vacant are exposed to greater threats over the cold months, risks include;

 

Winter Crime

Vacant properties are more susceptible to crime in the winter months than at any other time of the year. Research by Co-Op Insurance highlights that as soon as the clocks go back in October, property related crime increases as much as 36%.

Darker evenings and shorter days provide burglars and opportunist criminals with more opportunity under the cov­er of dark­ness, lead­ing to a rise in mali­cious dam­age and prop­er­ty insur­ance claims dur­ing the win­ter months.

Having property guardians residing in property gives around the clock protection, helping deter criminal activity. Guardians secure empty property and act as your eyes and ears on the ground and can report suspicious activity as soon as it occurs.

Squatters

When the temperature drops, the chances of squatting increases. People who most need shelter will seek to enter the most vulnerable buildings, and there’s no doubt that unused buildings or those awaiting refurbishment are the most susceptible to squatters and break-ins.

Guardians ensure the property remains visibly occupied, acting as a deterrent against anti-social behaviour and squatters. Squatting in a residential property is a criminal offence, whereas squatting in a commercial property is seen as a civil offence, making it harder to evict trespassers. Property Guardians deter squatters and can give temporary residential status, providing greater legal protection to owners.

Weather Damage

During the winter season empty property is at heighten risk of weather damage. Roofs can become damaged through water penetrating through weather pointing or rendering and tiles can lift in extreme winds. It’s not just external areas at risk, internal areas of the property can quickly become water damaged. Burst pipes as a result of frozen pipes thawing out are a common issue and mould can quickly form from humidity and lack of ventilation, even if the property has been closed up for a short time.

Many of these issues are relatively straightforward and easy to fix, but the issue arises as the property is empty and the damage is not discovered until sometime after the event. By then the damage has worsened and repairs could run into thousands of pounds to rectify. Property Guardians secure empty property and are able to oversee the condition of a building and report any faults as they occur. DEX has an in-house maintenance who can repair minor issues at zero cost to the property owner.
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Pest Infestation

It’s not just humans who looks for shelter over the colder months. Pests, such as rats, mice and squirrels head for the warmth of a nest in winter, and empty properties are an easy target.

Aside from being a health issue and nuisance for neighbours, pests can also cause considerable damage to properties, particularly by gnawing through electric cables and timbers.

Property Guardians act as a huge deterrent. Not only are rodents deterred by humans, Guardians are able to alert DEX if any are spotted in or around the property. Early measures can then be taken to address the issue before a full infestation occurs.[/grid_column][grid_column]
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Insurance

Finally, if your property is vacant, you need to keep a weather eye on your insurance over the winter months. In many cases, a claim for damage caused by winter issues will only be upheld if the vacant property itself has been secured, well maintained and if the insurer has been informed that the property will be vacant.

Property Guardians protect the property around the clock, ensure it is visibly lived in and have access to DEX’s in-house 24/7 maintenance team should any issues arise. Insurance companies appreciate that having Property Guardians in place ensures the property is more secure that when using traditional security methods. Taking all reasonable steps in maintaining and securing your vacant property not only minimises the risk of problems but maximises the chance of insurance company support in the event of a crisis.

If you have prop­er­ty that is cur­rent­ly or soon-to-be vacant, con­tact us to find out how DEX can secure empty property through Property Guardians,  reducing costs, risks and complexities associated with managing vacant properties, particularly in the winter months. Call us on 0800 0855 994 or email propertyowners@dexpropertymanagement.co.uk

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Empty Building Warning Issued, As Summer Holidays See An Increase In Urban Exploration.

secure empty property

Officials warn of the dangers of trespasses entering derelict or empty buildings over the summer months and the legal implication this can have on Property Owners.

Lighter evenings and warmer weather leave more teenagers and young people looking for things to do over the summer holidays. Empty and derelict buildings can be a magnet for young people, but the recent craze for urban exploration can lead to anti-social behaviour, further damage to property or injuries to individuals.

It is a property owners’ responsibility to secure empty property or sites. Whether the property is residential or commercial, by law, the owner has to ensure it’s safe for a member of the public to enter or pass by. Derelict buildings should be secure and made as safe as possible. Failure to do so could result in the Property Owner be liable, should a trespasser injure themselves while onsite or in the building.

Councils, police and fire and rescue services have come together to reach out to owners of vacant property. They are urging owners to ensure their buildings are as secure as possible, especially over the summer months.

Tig Outlaw, Cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said “Many empty buildings are unlit and there is a risk of tripping or becoming impaled on railings trying to enter or exit a site. I would urge the public to report any sites of particular concern”

“Emergency services have to respond to all fires, and this includes those set deliberately in empty or unused properties.” Added Howard Watts, Senior Fire Officer. “Not only does it put our crew members at risk, it also means while we are responding to incidents of that nature, we are not able to respond as promptly to other emergencies.”

Backing the safety call, Superintendent Sarah Jackson from Hampshire Constabulary, said “We are working with partners to make sure that youngsters realise any empty building could have dangers inside and since these buildings are very often private property, they are trespassing.

“My message to owners is to make sure your site is secured and for the public to be aware of any suspicious activity. Although trespassing itself is not a criminal offence, it is often linked with criminal damage and anti-social behaviour, which we have a number of powers that we can use to tackle.”

How to secure empty property

DEX Property Management offers a solution – Property Guardians. Guardians secure empty property through occupation, providing a highly effective solution that is at zero cost to the property owner – in some cases, it can even provide a revenue. If you would like further information about how Property Guardians could help secure empty property you own or manage please email propertyowners@dexpropertymanagement.co.uk

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DEX announces ongoing support for homeless youth charity, LandAid

landaid

DEX Property Management has announced it will provide ongoing support for homeless youth charity, Landaid.

LandAid, which describes itself as ‘The Property Industry Charity’ brings the property industry together to provide safe and affordable accommodation for young people. As part of DEX’s support for the cause, the team will take part in a number of fundraising events over the coming months. These include a Mudathon, where DEX’s team of property experts and Property Guardians will compete in an extreme 5k challenge – dubbed the UK’s toughest obstacle course! In addition to this, the team is hoping to complete other challenges to raise much needed funds including sleeping on the streets for a night and Steptober.

DEX Property Management is keen to highlight the plight of homeless young people across the UK; something Managing Director Rogier Donkersloot believes can be reduced via the use of empty properties. He said ‘There are thousands of commercial and residential buildings sitting empty across the country. These buildings are falling into a state of disrepair and are susceptible to asset theft, break-ins, and anti-social behaviour. Often these buildings were once pillars of the community such as disused hospitals, care homes, libraries, and schools; to see them in a dilapidated condition when they could be used to provide affordable housing is wrong.’

In addition to their fundraising efforts, DEX has also pledged to implement a number of social commitments over the next year. These include taking on apprentices, work placements and volunteering to give back to the UK’s communities.

Rogier continued ‘We are pleased to be supporting youth homelessness through our fundraising efforts this year. The team at DEX are committed to supporting communities and helping to reduce homelessness. We will also match client donations to LandAid on a per Guardian, per month basis across our properties. We are hoping to get both staff and our Property Guardians involved in fundraising throughout the year. As part of our growing social commitment, we’ll also be endeavouring to give back to the community in other ways including litter picking and helping in local food banks.’

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London Hotspots Where Property Guardians Save over 50% on Monthly Accommodation Costs

cheap rent london

Revealed: The London hotspots where property guardians are saving up to 60% on monthly accommodation costs

It’s no secret that rising accommodation costs in the UK’s capital have long been pricing millennials, keyworkers, and first time buyers saving for a mortgage out of London. Many are moving out of the capital to Kent, Surrey and the surrounding areas, but what’s the alternative if you want to find cheap rent in London?

Recent research by DEX Property Management reveals that one solution could be living as a property guardian. With shops and public buildings closing at an alarming rate, disused properties are being transformed across the city in to habitable living spaces in some of London’s most sought after postcodes. Property guardians pay a licensing fee as opposed to a traditional rent in order to live in empty residential or commercial properties. In return, they help to keep buildings secure and deter antisocial behaviour and squatters in London communities.

Property Guardians Save over 50% on their average monthly housing costs…

In trendy Camden, individuals can expect to pay up to 50% more on their average monthly housing cost than those living as property guardians. The areas of West London, Shepherds Bush and Marylebone also saw property guardianship offering licensing fees of up to 57% less than traditional monthly accommodation costs. One of the largest savings found by DEX was in business district Canary Wharf. Thanks to the area’s plethora of luxury apartments, those living as part of a guardianship agreement were found to save up to 61% on the cost of accommodation.*

There are a number of benefits to living as a property guardian. Guardianship allows people to live affordably in some of the UK’s major towns and cities where they otherwise could not afford to live in a central location. This has enabled first time buyers to save and many workers to live close to where they work, removing the costly commute to the capital.

The research conducted also revealed figures for places in the North West of the city, as well as the South East of London. Two areas which play home to a couple of the most iconic music venues in London; The o2 arena and Wembley Stadium also revealed interesting savings. In Greenwich, the average monthly standard room price was almost £845.55, compared to a typical guardian licensing fee of under £437.50 per month. In Wembley, rooms were found to be an average of almost £729.44 compared with guardian fees of £395 per calendar month.*

[button url=”https://www.dexpropertymanagement.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DEX-Infographic-AW-copy-Final.pdf” text=”infographic: Average Monthly Guardian Room Prices vs Private Sector Costs”]

 

Looking for cheap rent London?

To find out more about guardianship in London, please visit dexpropertymanagement.co.uk or email your enquiry to hello@dexpropertymanagement.co.uk

 

*Average cheap rent London rental room prices from Spare room. Guardian prices from industry research conducted by DEX Property Management
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Head Property Guardians’ Pizza Night

Head Property Guardian Pizza Night

Living in a house share property brings with it lots of perks, but at the same time having multiple house mates can sometimes create a few tensions. In order to keep our house shares running smoothly and harmoniously, we often place Head Property Guardians into properties. Head Guardians take on additional responsibilities, they liaise closely with DEX’s Guardian Management Team, reporting any issues promptly and assists with monthly inspections of the site.

Head Guardians are experienced Property Guardians, they have normally been with DEX for a few years, building up a good relationship with DEX’s Guardian Management Team. The work they do for us is incredibly valuable, they are our eyes and ears in our larger properties and in order for the relationship to work smoothly it is key that good communication is maintained.

That is why we have started to hold Head Guardian meet ups, where we can discuss any issues, review Head Guardian duties and air any ongoing concerns. The first was held at the end on June over pizza and wine in central London and a great time was had by all. Head Guardians and members of DEX’s Guardians and Property Management teams were present and it was great for everyone to get to know each other and catch up in an informal setting.

We are always looking for Head Guardians as we get more large house share properties. If you feel you are an experienced Property Guardian, ready to take the next in securing and protecting empty property then let a member of the DEX Guardian Management Team know – we would love to have you along at our next meet up!

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Empty School Buildings Need Looking After Before Disposal

Empty school buildings need looking after before disposal

Disused educational buildings are playing an important role in offering housing solutions in the UK’s major towns and cities says Rogier Donkersloot, Managing Director at DEX Property Management.

A report from 2018 by the Education Authority marked 27 schools for potential closure due to ‘sustainability’ issues for the period of 2018-2019. Donkersloot said: “ That’s a lot of empty school building floor space across the country that could be utilised for housing. I believe property guardianship is a solution that makes economic and social sense. It’s an option that benefits both the property owner and those in need of affordable accommodation.”

Empty schools or university buildings following closures or awaiting refurbishments are susceptible to break-ins, structural damage and squatting. There is also the issue of metal theft and asset stripping, as well as burst pipes in the winter. Donkersloot says Property Guardians can help to mitigate building damage and ensure a steady stream of people are seen entering and leaving the property.

“There are around 32,000 schools in the UK, and schools are often sold or disposed of as sites are moved to more modern/fit for purpose sites. In this case guardians provide a few added benefits. These include keeping the property in good condition and stopping dilapidation – which can help facilitate a faster sale if the property is to be sold. They also offer access to the property throughout the selling process or planning/development.”

Donkersloot added: “In 2011, it was estimated there were 20,000 squatters in the UK, but eight years on it is likely this figure has risen significantly. Large public buildings are often attractive to squatters who may view schools as an easy prospect due to lack of occupancy.”

Education Design and Build Journal – May/June 2019

Empty school buildings

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Disused Educational Buildings Playing an Important Role in Offering Affordable Housing Solutions

vacant school buildings

Disused educational buildings are playing an important role in offering housing solutions in the UK’s major towns and cities writes Rogier Donkersloot, Managing Director at DEX Property Management.

 

It’s no secret that over recent years across the UK, rents have been rising, pricing many out of the rental market in the country’s major cities. A report from 2018 by the Education Authority marked 27 schools for potential closure due to ‘sustainability’ issues for the period of 2018-2019. That’s a lot of empty building floor space across the country that could be utilised for housing. I believe property guardianship is a solution that makes economic and social sense. It’s an option that benefits both the property owner and those in need of affordable accommodation.

Vacant School Buildings – The Risks

Empty schools or university buildings following closures or awaiting refurbishments are susceptible to break-ins, structural damage and squatting. Property guardians can help to mitigate building damage and ensure a steady stream of people are seen entering and leaving the property. With over 32,000 schools in the UK, I believe the concept of guardianship is the future for schools undergoing renovation or remaining empty due to closures.

Property guardianship is not a new concept to the education sector; a recent news story suggests it is increasing in prevalence. LocatED (a government led initiative to find sites for free schools) recently revealed that appropriate school properties will be used for guardianship schemes. At DEX, we have a wealth of experience in the education sector. We have placed property guardians in a variety of school buildings including religious school properties with stunning architecture as well as state schools. Guardianship isn’t confined to school buildings in London either; the demand for commercial and educational buildings across the country is increasing. Recent buildings converted for guardianship under our watch include properties based in Plaistow, Dagenham and Torquay.

[button url=”https://www.dexpropertymanagement.co.uk/case-studies/empty-property/” text=”Case Study – Diocese Protects Empty School Using Property Guardians”]

 

Why Vacant School Buildings Make A Good Match For Property Guardianship

Schools are often well equipped for hosting property guardians thanks to built-in toilet facilities, showers and kitchens. DEX can usually have a building fit for guardians within just 10 days of conducting a site visit and providing a bespoke report on works to be undertaken. With schools, the turnaround time for making a building inhabitable is often fast.

Thanks to their good transport links and often central locations, schools are often sought after by property guardians. Should a school face a sudden closure, we can usually place an emergency guardian in the building usually within just 24 hours. In 2011, it was estimated there were 20,000 squatters in the UK, but eight years on it is likely this figure has risen significantly. Large public buildings are often attractive to squatters who may view commercial property as an easy prospect due to lack of occupancy.

There’s also the question of empty public buildings. Many local authorities could benefit from demonstrating accountability – empty school buildings don’t demonstrate responsibility. Since many schools are in residential areas, it can prove unattractive to local communities to board up large properties, leaving them dilapidated.