Court Case Could Mark the End for Property Guardians in the UK
A court case expected to take place in Bristol in the coming weeks could see an end to the practice of renting out vacant properties to guardians.
The case is being brought by residents of disused properties in Bristol, including a man named Nic Connor who is currently living in a disused nursing home in the city.
For the past two years, Mr Connor has been paying almost £300 per month in rent to Camelot Europe, a property company which has taken on the responsibility of running the vacant Broomfield Nursing Home site from local authorities.
Mr Connor is hoping that the case will bring clarity to the circumstances of property guardians in the UK and lead to a recognition of their rights as tenants.
However, depending on the outcome of the court case, it could be that the practice of using property guardians could soon become a thing of the past.
Mr Connor told Sky News recently that his experiences while living at Broomfield Nursing Home have been “horrible”.
“I wake up every morning and I have to wash in cold water because they’ve turned the hot water off,” he said.
“We have been harassed, we have had the lights taken out of the hallway. It has been horrible, but the reason we are taking it to court is so that a judge can decide whether we are living like tenants or legalised squatters that pay rent.”
Camelot Europe has responsibility for numerous vacant properties around the UK and uses guardianship schemes to keep down the costs associated with protecting and maintaining them for extended periods of time.
The company claims that its schemes, like the one involving Broomfield Nursing Home in Bristol, have been running successfully for many years.
A company spokesperson told Sky News that the property guardians’ legal case could put buildings and their occupants at risk and be “devastating” for Camelot Europe as a business.
There are reportedly around 40 companies which currently profit from arrangements involving property guardians around the UK and several thousand people who pay rent on a monthly basis to live as the unofficial guardians of disused buildings throughout the country.
Written by: Charlotte Peel on Monday 30/01/2017