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Surprising Year End High for Meanwhile Use of Vacant Properties

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Contact PGPA: 07722282946


London 30 December 2021


Surprising year-end high for Property Guardian model


  • An estimated 100,000 people are seeking affordable accommodation through property guardianship
  • Property owners save over £1 billion on security and repair costs
  • Guardians saving up to half in accommodation costs compared to private rentals
  • Government and business recognise members of the self-regulatory body as the quality benchmark for the sector
  • Over 99% of vacant properties released on time for redevelopment
  • The main ‘downside' for the year has been the caution of property owners to release more supply of temporarily vacant properties for ‘meanwhile use'


Despite another year of the pandemic, the specialist property sector that places guardians into vacant buildings to keep them secure, has ended the year on a surprising high.


Property guardianship makes good use of temporarily vacant buildings, offering affordable accommodation for people at a far lower cost than private rentals.


"Empty properties, whether they are housing estates, pubs, shops or offices, can attract high costs in deploying security guards, alarm systems or in repairing damage from vandalism, arson, squatters or general neglect, whilst their long-term future is determined." Says Graham Sievers, of the Property Guardian Providers Association, (the PGPA), the government recognised body that sets safety standards for its members. "Property guardians help keep the buildings secure and safe."


"The surprise this year, in the light of concerns about the coronavirus, is that the three main UK providers, Ad Hoc Property, VPS Guardians and Live-in Guardians, have all experienced a record demand from people seeking to substantially cut the cost of their accommodation. It appears that the ‘co-living' aspect of guardianship has proven to be an attraction to many who don't wish to live in isolation."


The PGPA estimates that property owners who have deployed guardians have saved over £1 billion in security costs and repairs from the damage that vacant properties suffer. There are currently over 15,000 guardians in the UK but over 100,000 people are estimated to be seeking this form of affordable accommodation as the costs for private rentals rockets. 


Almost a third of guardians are teachers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, and police officers, helping to meet one of the government's key objectives in housing policy - to enable key workers to live closer to their employment.



The majority of guardians pay less than £500  a month for their accommodation. One current example is a former sports club in Lewisham, London, available for £480 per month including utility bills.


"The other high for the sector has been the recognition that because the PGPA sets high safety standards and good business practices that many providers can't or won't meet, landlords are increasingly willing to engage only guardian companies who are members of the Association. Our members have released over 99% of all properties back to their owners on time when required for redevelopment - quite an achievement when the Covid crisis delayed evictions. The only downside to report his year has been the pinch on the supply of suitable vacant properties. We expect that to change in the New Year as more vacant office, retail and estate space becomes available." concludes Mr. Sievers.






For more information, or for an interview with the PGPA, a member company or with a guardian, please contact:

Graham Sievers  07722282946



Members of the PGPA are the only guardian companies in the UK subjected to compulsory independent fire safety audits by a Fire Service.


Membership of the PGPA makes up approximately 70% of the guardian properties available in the UK:


Live-in Guardians

VPS Guardians