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Vacant property expert Orbis releases new white paper on property guardianship
Orbis’ new white paper will allow potential users of guardians, who have so far been nervous about the standards in the industry, to use guardians with confidence
Orbis’ new white paper is aimed at property owners and those with interest in property guardianship

Property guardians, individuals acting as house-sitters for inhabitable empty properties, provide a cost-effective security solution for landlords concerned about the security of empty commercial or social housing properties. They also deliver a valuable contribution towards society. Without the guardianship option, the Government would have to find homes for the 4,000 people who currently perform the guardian role, and key workers would struggle to find homes near their work which would affect public services. That’s the conclusion of a white paper on property guardians from vacant property expert Orbis.

With many people struggling to pay market rents and a rising number of empty properties thanks to the recession, the introduction of property guardians – who rent a property such as an office, warehouse, or council house from between two weeks and two years at low cost – is a natural market evolution. The white paper explores the drivers towards property guardians, the different types of people who opt to be guardians, the risks involved for both guardian and property owner; and provides best practice recommendations about what needs to change to make the experience fairer for all parties. It is aimed at property owners, people considering becoming guardians, and those with an interest in property guardianship.

“Orbis see an opportunity to bring consistency, quality and experience to guardian safety and the delivery of a professional product, which hasn't always been present with the current providers of guardian services,” says Guy Other, CEO of Orbis. “This will allow potential users of guardians, who have so far been nervous about the standards in the industry, to use guardians with confidence.”

"Orbis see an opportunity to
bring consistency, quality and
experience to guardian safety
and the delivery of a professional
product, which hasn't always
been present with the current
providers of guardian services"

The document calls for clear and compliant standards, particularly around guardian recruitment. A guardian should be:

  • Employed
  • A non-smoker
  • Pet and child free
  • At least 25-years-old
  • A UK or an EU national
  • DBS checked
  • Able to secure their application with a £500 bond, which can be used to cover penalties if necessary

High standards of property selection are also needed. The property should:

  • Be secure. This might require locks to be changed, non-secure entrances to be repaired or covered and windows to be repaired
  • Comply with fire regulations. At the absolute minimum, there must be a means of escape in the event of a fire
  • Be wind and water tight and have electricity and running water
  • Have been adapted for residential use with a bathroom and kitchenette
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