Becoming a Property Guardian: What you should ask before you sign a licence agreement
Here are some of the key questions to ask before you sign up to become a property guardian, including extra charges, refundable security payments and moving on
Q: What fees do I have to pay?
A: The two main costs that all property guardian companies charge are the refundable security payment and the monthly licence fee. However, some property guardianship companies may also charge additional fees during the sign up period or rehousing, so be sure to ask this. At Dot Dot Dot there are no additional fees or hidden costs – we do not charge any agency, admin or reference fees. All we ask for is the security payment and the monthly licence fee.
Q: Are there any rules for being a property guardian?
A: Each company will have their own set of rules and regulations. At Dot Dot Dot we will go through ours during your sign up meeting. Having a clear set of policies is the best way to protect the health and safety of our guardians and to ensure that the properties are secure and well looked after.
Q: How do I know the property is safe?
It’s important to be aware of your basic rights as a property guardian. We are one of only two property guardian companies that have published the standards we work to, so that our guardians fully understand the basis on which they are housed, and can hold us to account if their expectations are not met.
We ensure all our buildings meet or exceed the health & safety and fire safety standards legally required were the property rented in the private rented sector, and are maintained in this condition for as long as property guardians live there. Necessary repairs are carried out according to a clear timescale. We complete gas, electrical and fire safety checks and make sure every kitchen has a fire blanket, and for every gas appliance there is a carbon monoxide alarm.
Q: Will you give me advanced warning if you are visiting the property?
A: As a property guardian you agree to non-exclusive possession of the property (which means that the property guardian company or the property owner can enter the property without giving notice). At Dot Dot Dot we will let you know if there will be people visiting the property as part of a viewing, or if a contractor or client will be given access.
We do regular unannounced inspections to all properties to check that the property is safe and that you are not breaking any rules. We will always knock loudly before entering and leave a note to say that we have been.
Q: What happens if I am given notice?
A: We will give you a minimum of 28 days’ notice once we have been informed that the property is to be returned to the owners. When this happens we always prioritise rehousing great guardians i.e. those who have complied with our policies and done good volunteering. We cannot guarantee however that we will always have properties available at the same price or in the same area.
Q: When will I get my refundable security payment back?
A: Each guardian will need to pay a refundable security payment before they sign up. This is calculated based on 5 weeks’ of fees, which will vary from property to property. We will only make reasonable deductions if there are belongings left behind, you haven’t paid your bills or there is significant damage to your property. We return security payments within 28 days of receiving your keys and all necessary information.