Seven of the UK’s leading property guardian firms have joined forces to form the sector’s first Trade Association to lead on safety and standards, represent and promote the industry and foster Best Practice. The Property Guardian Providers Association (PGPA) has been warmly welcomed by all parties in a debate on property guardians that took place in the House of Lords, with minister Lord Bourne (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government) announcing that the Government would be seeking to meet with the new body very 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, formulate policy and ensure that its members are at the very 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 also to ensure that guardians are deriving the best out of their experience,” said Simon Finneran, managing director of Ad Hoc Property Management, one of the key drivers behind the new Trade Association’s inception.
After an industry-wide census of its members was conducted, the Trade Association found that many people cannot afford to live in the city where they work, and yet property guardianship provides a cost-effective way in which to do so. It was also found that no less than 60% of guardians remain in the same accommodation for a year or more, breaking down the myth that guardians are constantly on the move.
Finneran continued: “Property guardianship is becoming a more popular way of living as it allows for people to save money such that they can access the property ladder themselves. One-in-four guardians are in their 30s and one-in-three are key workers, all of whom are benefiting greatly from living closer to work.”
Formal constitution established
The Trade Association, which launches formally at the Empty Homes Conference taking place in Birmingham on 18 October, 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 also be subject to an annual audit of procedures and services.
The Trade Association’s inaugural chairman and secretary is Graham Sievers who will hold the reins 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 a fast-growing sector is represented vocally and sets the Best in Class standards for the whole industry,” explained Sievers.
*The Empty Homes Conference runs from from 10.00 am to 4.45 pm at etcVenues, Maple House, 150 Corporation Street, Birmingham B4 6TB. For more information visit http://www.ehnetwork.org.uk/2018Conference
**Additional detail about the Property Guardian Providers Association is available by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org