Becoming a guardian of an empty space
Author: Carlo Pandian is an Italian expat living in London. After being very broke for 3 years to attend university and working in crappy jobs (kitchen porter in particular), he landed his first well paid jobs at Tug, a London digital marketing agency.
How you can hate London? With huge rental prices and an enormous amount of empty properties, where’s the demand & offer economy principle in the capital? Don’t get desperate, as there are ways of getting super cheap or even free accommodation in London.
Last week, I spoke with Owen, one of the tenants at The Old Tidemill school in Deptford (south London) who since July has been renting the space together with 18 friends. There is no charge for the space, they only pay bills, such as gas and electricity and work as part time freelancers. Newbould Guardians, the company that manages the security of the building for Lewisham council, aims to keep the property safe from those squatters that could vandalise the place. A great opportunity for Owen and his friends, who’ve set up The Assembly, a community led project at the school, in order to benefit the community and convince the council to let them stay in this huge and comfortable building. They run loads of projects – from cooking classes to building tree houses in their garden, something they wouldn’t have the time, space and money to do if they were renting from a landlord.
Ready to apply for a vacant space?
First of all, you should meet the requirements. Guardians can’t be job-less, otherwise how are they going to pay the bills? They need to look responsible (if you have a criminal record you are out), flexible to the guardian company’s requests, without dependents and pets, and ready to move at short notice. Moreover, mature students can often be considered if proof of income or savings is provided. Check the requirements on the guardian property websites to learn more before enquiring about a space.
Get your documents organised
You will have to organise the following documents to present your application, for the rest you’ll just need good luck:
Proof of regular income
Proof of current address
Written character reference from previous landlord
Written reference from employer or client if self employed
Everything ready! Check out your cheap, dream property
That’s a list of property guardian companies, where you can submit a mass application in order to be sure to have higher chances of getting your property. Remember to form a group of tenants in case they require more than one.
Go to our Property Guardians category to find property guardians in London.