Property guardian firm slammed over high rates for ‘derelict’ rooms

A property guardianship company has been slammed for advertising ‘derelict properties’ in London for the same ‘extortionate rates’ as standard private rents.      

Photos of the ‘disgusting’ properties available through Global Guardians, were shared online yesterday prompting disbelief from social media users.

They include a space in a ‘horrible, disused factory’ in Rainham for up to £600 a month, as well as another ‘derelict’ room in South East London for £695 a month.

Typically property guardians, who are not classed as tenants, pay a reduced rental fee to watch over vacant buildings.

Property guardianship is typically an arrangement that allows people to live in cheap accommodation in return for living flexibly. 

This  'derelict' room in South East London was listed as part of a £695 a month property on the Global Guardians website. The floor is grey and grubby, while the dated wallpaper can be seen peeling away

This  ‘derelict’ room in South East London was listed as part of a £695 a month property on the Global Guardians website. The floor is grey and grubby, while the dated wallpaper can be seen peeling away

The room appears to be a single room in a prefabricated hut, pictures on the advert show

The room appears to be a single room in a prefabricated hut, pictures on the advert show

According to home.co.uk, the room is being marketed for £57 more a month above average

According to home.co.uk, the room is being marketed for £57 more a month above average

Properties such as commercial buildings like pubs, offices, police stations and historical buildings can then be occupied without the properties being licenced as a rental property.

The concept of property guardianship was the basis of the comedy drama series ‘Crashing’, starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Aired on Channel 4, the show followed a group of friends living in a condemned hospital building before it is knocked down. 

Global Guardians encourage renters known as ‘live-in guardians’ to move into empty properties.

Their website states: ‘Global Guardians is the UK’s leading provider of ‘Protection by Occupation’ solutions. 

‘The properties we secure and manage are owned by our clients and we source responsible working adults to occupy the properties on short term residential licenses.’ 

However, the state of some of the properties on the Global Guardians site had many people questioning the ‘extortionate’ rents listed. 

Images show the shabby exterior of a former industrial space for rent in Rainham.

The state of some of the properties on the Global Guardians site had many people questioning the 'extortionate' rents listed. Images show the shabby exterior of a former industrial space for rent in Rainham (pictured)

The state of some of the properties on the Global Guardians site had many people questioning the ‘extortionate’ rents listed. Images show the shabby exterior of a former industrial space for rent in Rainham (pictured)

Global Guardians claim the 'great' property is perfect for commuters and at between £400-600 a month, 'boasts large rooms which are highly affordable'

Global Guardians claim the ‘great’ property is perfect for commuters and at between £400-600 a month, ‘boasts large rooms which are highly affordable’

Photos on the Global Guardians site show a dingy rooms fitted with stained carpets

Photos on the Global Guardians site show a dingy rooms fitted with stained carpets

The kitchen area for the property is small and cramped

And the bathroom area features a bizarre free standing shower placed in the middle of the room

The kitchen area for the property is small and cramped (pictured left) and the bathroom area features a bizarre free standing shower placed in the middle of the room (right)

Global Guardians claim the 'great' property is perfect for commuters and at between £400-600 a month, 'boasts large rooms which are highly affordable'

Global Guardians claim the ‘great’ property is perfect for commuters and at between £400-600 a month, ‘boasts large rooms which are highly affordable’

Inside, the property fares no better with photos showing the dingy rooms fitted with stained carpets.

The bathroom area features a bizarre free standing shower placed in the middle of the room, while the kitchen is small and cramped.

Global Guardians claim the ‘great’ property is perfect for commuters and at between £400-600 a month, ‘boasts large rooms which are highly affordable.’

However, according to home.co.uk, the average rent for a room in the area is £468 per month.

Another property at 24 Baudwin Road, appears to be a single room in a prefabricated hut.

The floor is grey and grubby, while the dated wallpaper can be seen peeling away.

According to home.co.uk, the room is being marketed for £57 more a month above average. 

A property for rent with Global Guardians listed under the name 1 Crossman House offers people a place to stay for £880pcm

A property for rent with Global Guardians listed under the name 1 Crossman House offers people a place to stay for £880pcm

The state of the homes was highlighted by journalist Moya Lothian-Mclean on Twitter as part of a thread exploring the concept of guardianship

The state of the homes was highlighted by journalist Moya Lothian-Mclean on Twitter as part of a thread exploring the concept of guardianship

McClean argued that people were 'paying to live in squats' and shared some examples from the Global Guardians page

McClean argued that people were ‘paying to live in squats’ and shared some examples from the Global Guardians page

She wrote: 'A quick search of the Global Guardians site today shows them advertising derelict properties for the same extortionate rate as standard private rents'

She wrote: ‘A quick search of the Global Guardians site today shows them advertising derelict properties for the same extortionate rate as standard private rents’

Many of the properties are available for lower than market rents, however their standard seems to be lower than most rentals being advertised to tenants.

Private rental sites also list a number of higher quality properties in the area for around the same price.

Rightmove are advertising a room in a house share in nearby Catford for £500 per month.

Photos of one Lambeth property available for rent at £825pcm on Global Guardians show a sparse, unfurnished flat.

The kitchen is littered with debris, while its walls are covered with crumbling tiles.

There also do not appear to be any cooking appliances, except an old sink.

This property is listed on Rightmove for private rental for £675 pcm - a similar price to the Rainham address listed on Global Guardians

This property is listed on Rightmove for private rental for £675 pcm – a similar price to the Rainham address listed on Global Guardians

This one bedroom flat in Rainham has a fully fitted kitchen with a sink and washing machine

This one bedroom flat in Rainham has a fully fitted kitchen with a sink and washing machine

The purpose-built, first floor apartment has bold wallpaper and used carpets, but is is a state of good repair

The purpose-built, first floor apartment has bold wallpaper and used carpets, but is is a state of good repair

While one of the most expensive properties, a three-room £880 per month rental in Lambeth features a dingy looking bathroom and dirty looking walls.

The state of the homes was highlighted by journalist Moya Lothian-Mclean on Twitter as part of a thread exploring the concept of guardianship.

McClean argued that people were ‘paying to live in squats’ and shared some examples from the Global Guardians page.

She wrote: ‘A quick search of the Global Guardians site today shows them advertising derelict properties for the same extortionate rate as standard private rents.

‘Please guess how much this room is? £695.’

She also shared a photo of the Rainham property and said: ‘Don’t worry though, for a mere £400-£600, you could bag a spot in this horrible disused factory in Zone 6!’

The private rental in Rainham also has a bathroom with a shower over the bath, a toilet and basin

The private rental in Rainham also has a bathroom with a shower over the bath, a toilet and basin

The private rental property also comes with a green garden-like space as part of the price

The private rental property also comes with a green garden-like space as part of the price

Gal-dems political editor added: ‘It’s disgusting that guardianships – which were intended to provide cheaper housing – have essentially become legalised slumlords who can escape even the weak laws that protect standard tenants in the UK.

‘I haven’t heard back from Global Guardians, but it’s not just them.

‘Other people have been tagging more unscrupulous guardianship brokers who are evading legal requirements and then selling off these dilapidated properties at a profit.’ 

The examples prompted disbelief from social media users.

John Kearns replied: ‘Jesus. That’s more than we pay to rent a 2 bed house (£650pcm).’

Máiréad Collins added: ‘That is disgusting (on every level).’

And @DiscoWrites said: ‘I squatted in disused commercial buildings (never residences) when I was homeless because I had no other option, now I have mates who live in guardianships and it’s worse than how I lived. How the hell?’

Global Guardians describes itself ‘as the best vacant property protection company available’.

It offers owners of vacant properties a way to ensure their building’s security by sourcing occupants who are trusted as guardians over the space.

Occupants must be over 21, in employment and abide by certain rules in order to qualify. 

Global Guardians has been contacted for comment.  

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