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guardian
Image courtesy Charlotte Lipscombe

Property Guardians get cheapest rent in London

by Valeria Marchetti

The credit crunch has resulted in an increase in the number of people renting unused buildings, according to Metro. But this isn’t a new breed of squatters; this is the rise of “Property Guardians.”

The concept is simple: owners of vacant public or private buildings want to prevent squatters from occupying their property and ripping the place apart, while tenants want to rent a place that won’t soak up their salary.

“You can rent a house for a maximum of 60 pounds a week in centre London and 35 in the outskirts. In exchange the tenants or guardians must prevent intrusion by squatters,” says Martin Lawrence, manager of Ad Hoc Property.

Experience as a guardian

“My house looks bizarre when it’s empty but I am not afraid because I know that it’s secure. I pay 60 per week. Usually for this kind of location I’d be paying three or for times as much” says Mary Lane, 32. Mary is a shop assistant and lives in a two storey Victorian building near Regent Park.

“The rules are strict. We need to keep the building clean and tidy and inform the owner at time when we have guests,” adds Mary.

Bed of roses

Though big and cheap, the house has no furniture. It just has a cooker and sometime a microwave in the kitchen.

According to Martin, the guardians have to vacate the house within a short notice of usually only two weeks in case the owner wants the place vacant.

“Flexibility is the key to occupying guardian propriety”. A sense of adaptability should be part of the tenant’s personality.

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