If you have further queries about the Camelot solution please do not hesitate to contact Stephen Davies, Business Development Manager on email@example.com or call us on 0845 262 2002
Theft of contents or fittings
Squatting or illegal occupation by travelers
Dumping of abandoned vehicles or fly-tipping
Dilapidation or natural events such as storm damage
Public Liability claims resulting from injuries to visitors including intruders
In short: your property depreciates in value
2. What are the benefits of using Camelot's temporary occupation?
Cost savings on expensive security systems.
For an occupied property, your insurance premiums will be considerably lower than for a vacant property.
Your property is legally protected against squatting.
Your property will be heated and aired.
Flexible security periods (24 hours - several years).
In short: your property will not depreciate in value!
3. How does Camelot protect the properties in its care?
Camelot Property Management protects your temporarily vacant property by giving it an 'occupied' status - on an equally temporary basis. Camelot has a team of responsible Guardians who, through temporarily occupying your property, combat the risks and threats facing vacant buildings. Because we select these people so carefully we are able to identify the most appropriate Guardians for your property. This could be an empty office building or a church, a town hall or a school. Even for buildings that do not seem to offer the possibility for occupation such as cinemas or warehouses, Camelot offers a solution for the protection of any type of property. While we take over all building management, you have more time to focus on the future usage of your property.
4. Why do I need to manage my vacant properties?
Vacant properties attract vandalism and squatters who may break windows and cause damage to the inside of the building. Often there is no structured supervision on the technical state of a property, so that frozen pipes and leaks are identified too late. This results in the dilapidation of a property and depreciation of a property's value.
5. What is the management area covered by Camelot?
Camelot manages properties throughout the whole of the UK with offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham. In major cities and small villages, as well as remote forested districts. For every location Camelot offers a suitable solution. Additionally Camelot manages properties throughout the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and France.
6. Who do Camelot Work for?
Camelot works for a great variety of clients ranging from investors, developers, construction companies, property owners, estate agents, the health industry, banks, bailiffs and receivers, school governors, housing associations to local, county and state authorities.
7. What kind of properties do Camelot manage?
Camelot manages all kinds of properties! Properties that do not appear suitable for the Camelot SolutionTM at first can be transformed to an habitable condition by the simple installation of mobile utility units. Currently managed properties include:
- Village halls
- Swimming pools
- Town halls
- Police & Fire stations
- Retirement homes
- Sports halls
- Theatres & Cinemas
- Family homes & Mansions
- Churches & Monasteries
- Industrial sites
The property is wind and water tight.
The property is not vandalised or derelict.
Basic facilities are in place; electricity and water.
For a small start-up fee we frequently install basic 'wheel-in, wheel-out' shower pod units, which mean we can provide temporary washing facilities - these washing facilities have been approved by English Heritage. These shower pods are often installed over the top of what was an existing toilet. When we vacate the property we then replace the toilet. The Guardians provide their own kitchen equipment including microwaves and portable kitchen hobs that are no greater than 13amps for fire safety reasons.
Camelot can manage a property whatever the size, if it is a large building we place Guardians strategically throughout the building to maximise security and produce a tailor made quote specific to your property and requirements.
9. What are the costs of temporary protection?
The costs of temporary management from Camelot are kept as low as possible. In general we ask you to pay the utilities costs, costs to make the property habitable plus a modest monthly fee:
All outgoings of the premises: (utilities as far as the site is occupied, empty business rates, insurance).
Weekly management fee: £25 - £250 depending on the size of the property, not the number of Guardians.
Initial investments to make the property habitable: (repairs - smashed windows, new locks, install/remove mobile shower cabinet and electric shower, sinks).
These costs are reasonably lower than the cost of security guards or the cost of repairing long-standing damages as a result of the building being vacant.
Time saving: the Camelot Guardians can enable access for your contractors, surveyors, plumbers, etc.
No more searching for keys: Camelot's key management and storage system fulfill the BSI and ISO9002 criteria.
You may qualify for lower insurance premiums.
We have a very experienced SIA approved maintenance team who can assist with reconnections. We always adhere to current health and safety guidelines and jurisdictions.
Let us take a look at the property, it might just be a matter of turning the water/electricity back on.
In our experience our clients have found that the cost of water and electricity is still substantially less than paying for 24 hour guards, or the time and money wasted on dealing with squatters.
Please allow us to take a look free of charge, to provide you with a quote for the building, and we can provide you with a security consultation that may utilise a number of means to keep the costs low for you.
We strive to keep costs to a minimum for our clients and usually advise that all the boilers are switched off, and a minimum number of temporary shower units are installed. However, let us take a look and we can advise you correctly with an accurate quote.
Our Guardians are very flexible and have a sense of adventure.
Our Licence fees are very inexpensive and appeal to many Guardians who would want to live in an area such as where your property is located, but who could otherwise not afford it.
You don't need to worry about who might want to live in your property, that's what we do. We always find trusted Guardians for our clients properties.
CCTV does not prevent a crime/vandalism/squatters, it merely records it. Active occupation of a property has proven to be the most effective means to prevent vandals and thieves, and the only guaranteed way to prevent squatters
Security guards are expensive and cannot prevent squatters. We have known clients to have squatters move in at one end of a property while the security guard is manning the other end. Our solution has several people coming and going, lights turning on and off, and very visibly demonstrating that the entire building is still in occupation.
We can send you some cost saving sheets that demonstrate how much money you can save by using us instead of a traditional security guard.
The use of boards or steel screens are an advert for squatters, vandals, and arsonists. It presents a poor image to the local community, and leaves the building poorly insulated, and so can encourage dilapidation. Our solution means Guardians are sending a clear message to the community that the property is in use, and so does not devalue the neighbourhood, nor does it encourage vandalism or theft in any way.
By boarding up a property you are sending a message to the council and community that you do not care for the neighbourhood. By using the Camelot Solution you can send a message to the neighbourhood and community that while you are aware it may take up to 6 months to get all planning permissions granted, you are actively taking on responsibility for the upkeep of the area. By promoting this image we have had clients who have in turn been awarded with a higher number of flats (for example) by the council who have respected their handling of the properties prior to their development commencing.
We will place an appropriate number of Guardians in the property to ensure the security of the building, and no more than necessary.
The Guardians are very carefully vetted and placed according to the sensitivity of the building's location and requirements.
The Guardians are managed by our Guardian management team, who conduct unannounced monthly inspections of the property.
The owner has full access to the property at any time.
The property and Guardians are far more closely managed than having tenants or other security options.
Guardians are only allowed 2 guests each at any one time, and cannot under any circumstances hold a party in the property.
The wear and tear of a few Guardians is far less than even the slightest damage that squatters can do to a property.
If you have a 24 hour guard, we will save you up to £25k in 3 months, and even a fraction of this will put right a lot of wear and tear.
We don't overfill our properties like some other Guardian companies, and so wear and tear is kept to a minimum.
Guardians are only allowed 13 Amp portable hobs, and microwave ovens. These, and their personal kettles are only allowed to be placed in the designated kitchen area and not in any other room.
Candles are not allowed and the Guardians will be fined if they are found to be in possession of any.
Only oil-filled electric heaters are permitted by a Guardian as these are proven to be the lowest form of fire risk.
Guardians are asked to use timers on their heaters to reduce the risk of fire.
An empty building is at far greater risk from fire and arson, but by being occupied your insurance premiums and excess are lowered, evidence that the insurers recognise the benefits of having Guardians also.
London Borough Fire Brigade log Camelot properties as those being at far lower risk than any other empty properties.
All of our staff have signed confidentiality agreements.
We have secure, electronic systems for the handling of data.
We have accreditation with the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
We have achieved the British Kite Mark (BSI) recognition for our Quality Management and Key Holding, and Guardian Vetting.
We can tailor the service to suit your requirements, for example with further steps such as our signing of an NDA.
Ideally, the property needs to be water tight and wind tight but we have ACS accredited maintenance teams who can very easily and economically bring a property to the minimum H&S and Environmental requirements in order for it to be habitable.
Our Guardians are very flexible and you'll be surprised at how little is required to enable Guardians to move in.
We also have a range of security services we can offer, not just Guardianship; let us take a look at your property so we can make an assessment and provide you with a no obligation quotation on the property.
Any services we use will only be direct from the mains cold water feed; this will reduce the risk of using water from pipes that have not been used for a long period and that may have gone stale.
We connect direct from the mains because huge water tanks that serve 100 plus people in an office will never be used adequately enough to rotate the water and prevent any health risks.
In the initial property survey, we will identify any large water tanks at risk of becoming stale and ensure these are not used by the Guardians. We may even drain them and turn them off if you want us to.
Unlike other Guardian companies, we include a full property H&S and Fire Risk Assessment.
A lot of fire-fighters and police officers are in fact Guardians; the fire brigades rate Camelot as a very effective and economic way of housing their officers within the city. We currently have approximately 25 firemen living as Guardians in London.
If a small amount of damage is done this will be covered by the Guardians own personal liability insurance and Camelot will deal directly with the Guardian over this matter.
If a large amount of damage is done to a property as a result of a Guardian this will be covered by the property's building insurance.
The risk of any damage being caused is drastically reduced, however, rather than by leaving the property empty
The Guardians live in the property as their own home, so they take the utmost care to prevent this. However, in the unlikely event of this happening, this will be covered by your buildings insurance, and our Guardians will be covered by their own insurance.
This is breaking and entering and the squatters are now committing a criminal offence and will be arrested.
We have a property licence arrangement with the Guardians rather than a tenancy. This allows us to carry out unannounced monthly inspections and closely manage the property far more closely than with a tenancy. However, a legal requirement is that the Guardian is not alone and that the living space is shared. Having more than one Guardian increases the security by creating more activity and so becomes a natural deterrent to burglars and vandals. Active security and instant reporting of any maintenance issues is infinitely safer for your property than relying on video cameras or 24hr guards who don't necessarily care about your property as much as we will. Insurance companies love the fact the property is at a reduced risk by being occupied, with any issues being reported back by Guardians who care about the property because it's their own temporary living space. The more eyes and ears that can report on what's going on the better!
26 . Will I remain in charge of my own property?
The occupation agreement used by Camelot Property Management is legally watertight. A 'Guardian' in their capacity as a temporary occupier cannot derive the right to remain in your property once you no longer require our services. Furthermore, the occupation agreement explains the rights and obligations of the Guardian in a crystal clear manner.
We use contracts which are constructed by Halliwells solicitors and approved by an independent barrister. We have strict rules governing the usage and maintenance of your property. This means that with one quick telephone call, you or your estate manager can attend to view the building with a potential buyer, architect or estate agent without worrying as to whether or not it is in a presentable state. In this way you can reap the advantages of having your property protected through occupation while maintaining the option of having it made freely available again at very short notice. In addition we will update you monthly about the status of your property and you can view all correspondence and incidents on our online property information tool: MyCastle.
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27. How quickly is my property available to me again?
When Camelot Property Management protects your property, it becomes fully available to you after a notice period of a minimum of 2 weeks. We prefer the transfer date to be on a Monday so our Guardians can move out over the weekend, keeping your property under our protection right up until the moment when we hand it back to you.
The Guardian scheme allows the property to be ready for sale as and when required - there is no delay from squatters or unforeseen dilapidation. Guardians look after the property, reporting maintenance issues and keeping the property aired which is beneficial if the property is awaiting a sale.
If you know in advance that the property is going to be under management for less than the minimum period we can arrange that you pay the 3 month minimum but can serve notice at any time. If your property is an easy set up, with washing facilities already installed and fully health and safety compliant, we may still be able to move Guardians in for a very short amount of time.
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28. In what condition will Camelot return my property to me?
When we receive a property from you we fill in an assessment form together and take a series of digital photographs to establish the exact state of the property on day one. We keep you continuously updated of its status via the written monthly report sent to you after each of our property inspection visits. The property will be returned to you empty and clean and in exactly the same state it was originally delivered to us.
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29. Do I need a change of use for a building?
"If the Guardians reside at the property merely to ensure the security of the building, then the primary use of the building remains the same. Therefore, planning permission is not required." Andrew Gough, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 14 July 2005.
To read the full ODPM opinion click the following links:
Halliwells Solicitors Opinion
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30. Are the agreements Camelot uses for Guardians legally binding?
Camelot uses temporary occupation licenses, rather than tenancy agreements, to contract our Guardians. These licenses are constructed by Halliwells Solicitors (London, Manchester) and are regularly checked against current jurisdiction. The licence is a special agreement, and not a tenancy with tenancy protection and termination periods.
31. Does my building qualify for empty business rates?
Yes, the Camelot SolutionTM is a vacant site protection service hence the empty business rates continue. According to the ODPM, the change of usage of a property not required, since neither Camelot nor the landlord wishes to change the usage of a property into a residential building. Similarly DTLR advise that by using the Camelot SolutionTM the Empty Business Rates do not change. Please click on the following links to read the full opinions:
32. What about council tax?
The owner does not need to pay for council tax. Camelot will take care of payment.
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33. What about insurance?
The Owner should pay insurance as they normally would.
Regular property insurance policies do not cover the many risks entailed with vacant properties. Insurance companies often raise the owners-costs due to higher risks. However, when choosing the Camelot Solution, insurance covers remain the same for a vacant building as for when the building would be in normal use. Most insurance companies are familiar with the service provided by Camelot and recognise it.
Camelot in association with R K Harrison now offers a dedicated insurance solution: Camelot Property Insurance. This insurance was developed specifically around the Camelot model meaning that client's can now receive bespoke cover that reflects the property's situation. This means wide cover terms, no onerous security measures and premiums that are truly competitive in most cases.
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