Property Guardians feature in Telegraph & Argus

How live-in 'guardians' are protecting Bradford's empty properties and saving money on rent

AN international company which provides live-in 'guardians' for empty premises has opened a West Yorkshire base - and placed its first watchdog in a Bradford city centre building.

Camelot Europe, which has six UK offices as well as in Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, provides more 15,000 guardians for properties across Europe.

It has opened a new base in Pudsey to serve an area with nearly 35,000 empty properties.

Clair Brennan, who has been appointed business development manager at the Pudsey office, said: “Being a property guardian can be a really good low-cost solution for key workers who need to live in the city centre. The license fee, which includes all bills, are typically a third of what people would pay in rent in the private rented sector. It’s also a really social option as most buildings have a set of guardians.”

Clair said property guardians were a cost effective alternative to 24-hour security patrols, CCTV and steel shutters and fences. Guardians live in the property, paying a low license fee until a new use is found for the building.
The role typically appealed to key workers such as firemen, police officers, nurses and teachers.

Camelot, which has seen ten per cent growth since January 2015, will take on people over the age of 18, who have proof of a regular income and no criminal record as live-in guardians.

Each guardian has their own secure room area, which may include a private toilet or bathroom, but will share kitchen,and communal areas with other guardians. They also have to be flexible enough to move out at four weeks’ notice.
Camelot has placed its first West Yorkshire guardian in Bradford.
Recent graduate and bank employee Stefan Pintea, has moved into a three-storey building at 24 Kirkgate that he will eventually share with two other guardians.

Stefan said: “I was amazed when I saw the building it’s really magical. I love the whole idea of living in this big space and being able to design and shape it how I want. I’d looked at lots of properties but most were really small and cramped. When I saw this I signed up there and then.”

Property guardians provide security for the landlord by living in the building ensuring it is protected from squatters and vandals and keeping a building heated, preventing damp and ensuring systems such as smoke alarms are in use. They also report faults such as leaks which can be fixed immediately.
Camelot has guardians in a range of premises, including listed buildings to office blocks, churches, castles and an observatory.

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