The first trade association for property guardian firms – designed to lead on safety and standards, promote and represent the industry and foster best practice – has been launched.
Seven of the UK’s leading property guardian firms came together to form the Property Guardian Providers Association (PGPA). The trade association was welcomed in a debate on property guardians in the House of Lords on October 15, with government minister Lord Bourne announcing the government would be seeking to meet the association soon.
The PGPA has been created to provide the industry with effective representation, formulate policy and ensure that its members are at the forefront of meeting or exceeding legal and safety standards.
It was founded jointly by Ad Hoc Property Management, Guardians of London, Live-in Guardians, Lowe Guardians, VPS, Dex Property Management and Camelot – which provide over 80% of the guardian accommodation in the UK.
“The industry has grown to a size where it now needs a structured framework in terms of best practice and progression to not just raise standards, but to also ensure that guardians are getting the best out of their experience,” said Simon Finneran, managing director of Ad Hoc Property Management.
The association’s industry-wide study of its members found that many people can’t afford to live in the city where they work, with property guardianship offering a cost-effective way to do so. It also found that no less than 60% of guardians remain in the same accommodation for a year or more.
According to Finneran, property guardianship is becoming a more popular way of living as it allows for people to save money to get on the property ladder themselves. In fact, one in four guardians are in their 30s and one in three are key workers, all of whom are benefitting greatly from living closer to work.
The association, which launched formally at the Empty Homes Conference in Birmingham yesterday, has established a formal constitution which sets a benchmark for the legal obligations of management and owners.
Aspiring members must meet the criteria as defined in the constitution and be subject to an annual audit of its procedures and services.
PGPA’s inaugural chairman and secretary, Mr. Graham Sievers, will hold the reins of the trade body until the election of the first member chairman at the general meeting next year.
He commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that this fast-growing sector is represented vocally and sets the best-in-class standards for the whole country.”