Seven of the UK’s leading property guardian firms have come together to form the sector’s first trade association to lead on safety and standards, to represent and promote the industry, and to foster best practice. The Property Guardian Providers Association (PGPA) has been warmly welcomed by all parties in a debate on property guardians in the House of Lords on Monday, and government Minister Lord Bourne announced the government would be seeking to meet the association soon.
The PGPA, which is founded jointly by Ad Hoc Property Management, Guardians of London, Live-in Guardians, Lowe Guardians, VPS, Dex Property Management and Camelot, has been created to provide the industry with effective representation, to formulate policy, and to ensure that its members are at the forefront of meeting or exceeding legal and safety standards. These seven founding members 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, one of the key drivers behind the association’s inception.
After an industry-wide census of its members was conducted, the association found that many people can’t afford to live in the city where they work, and yet property guardianship provides a cost-effective way to do so. It was also found that no less than 60 per cent of guardians remain in the same accommodation for a year or more, breaking down the myth that guardians are constantly on the move.
Simon continues: “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. 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 launches formally at the Empty Homes Conference taking place in Birmingham on 18thOctober, has established a formal constitution which sets a benchmark for the legal obligations of management companies and property owners, as well as a service quality covenant to guardians. Member firms will work together to address issues concerning the property guardian sector. In order to become a member, companies must not only meet the criteria as defined in the constitution, but be subject to an annual audit of its procedures and services.
The association’s inaugural chairman and secretary is Mr. Graham Sievers who will hold the reigns of the trade body until the election of the first member chairman at the organisation’s first annual general meeting next year.
“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 industry” said Graham Sievers, Chairman and Secretary or the PGPA.
The Empty Homes Conference will take place on Thursday, 18th October from 10:00 a.m. – 16:45 p.m. at etcVenues Maple House, 150 Corporation St, Birmingham B4 6TB.