Property Guardians in Commercial Properties

Our service also works in properties which were not originally intended for residential use

Commercial buildings can lie empty for months or years while they are awaiting their next use, whether that be sale, letting or redevelopment. Such situations can be complex and inevitably take time from purchase, through planning and until building works commence. Void properties and their associated costs and risks are an unnecessary headache and distraction from what really matters to move the project forward.

Property guardians alleviate the issues of an empty property without getting in the way of development plans. Guardians move into commercial spaces on temporary licenses as soon as required, providing security and mitigating business rates while in occupation. When the project is ready to progress, guardians are ready to move out with one month’s notice, and the property is handed back on time and in good condition.

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Key benefits to working with Dot Dot Dot in commercial properties

Temporarily remove business rates for all areas of the property occupied by guardians. Dot Dot Dot will make all arrangements and pay for council tax when converted
Remove the need for more expensive alternative security measures such as manned guarding, steel doors, or CCTV and alarms
Dot Dot Dot will manage the property including carrying out monthly unannounced inspections and provide regular reports, removing the need for internal resources and hassle
Continue development plans as usual by retaining flexibility. Access can be arranged any time and the property is handed back with one month’s notice

“We have an extremely positive relationship with Dot Dot Dot and are particularly impressed with their careful selection of property guardians who share in Dot Dot Dot’s social values and ethos. This has had a beneficial impact for the local community as well as ensuring the property is in safe hands. We are very pleased to have the building managed and cared for by them.”

Robert Lines, Estates Surveyor London Borough of Croydon

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Case study: Grade II Listed Office Block in Sheffield

The Context:
Dot Dot Dot has secured a large Grade II listed office building spread over 5 floors in an industrial area of Sheffield.

The owner is a charity, which was looking to relocate some of its operations, resulting in the property being surplus to their current requirements. While the charity decide the most appropriate next steps for the building they have recruited Dot Dot Dot to help secure the building, reduce their costs and enable them to use the property for a social purpose in line with their values.

The Challenge:

  • The empty building was proving a significant cost and hassle to the property owner
  • The property is in an isolated industrial area with low footfall at night and therefore security was a significant concern
  • The property was not designed for residential use and is a complex and historical building

Headline Achievements:

  • £30,000 saved on business rates; alternative security options no longer needed
  • Dot Dot Dot occupied the building within 7 days of the property being safe, securing the building swiftly
  • Several changes were made to the building to make it suitable and safe for accommodation and upgrade the security, including installing showers and kitchen units, and upgrading locks
  • The property provides housing to 12 people who have each volunteered 16 hours or more every month to good causes, particularly in the local area

“Having bought into the concept of property guardianship, it was important, as a charitable group, to work with an ethical provider. We therefore have a strong alignment with Dot Dot Dot. In addition, Dot Dot Dot have been a pleasure to work with in terms of their approach and attitude. Communication has been proactive and timely, which has helped to reassure us that our building is in safe hands.”

Martin C, charity Finance Director

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Case Study: GP Surgery

The Context:

The owner of the doctor’s surgery was planning for the future use of the property. During this interim period, the property was a significant cost burden and was causing security and reputational concerns for the owner.

They explored various security solutions and alternative property guardian services. Eventually they chose Dot Dot Dot because of our combination of a high quality property guardian service which also creates a positive social impact.

Our Approach:

Dot Dot Dot currently provides 11 guardians with a temporary home in an old GP’s surgery in Eltham in south east London. The property guardians oversee security, reassure neighbours and strengthen the community.

Key Considerations

The surgery was not set up for residential use and required alterations

We made minor alterations to make the building suitable as a temporary home for 11 people. All our properties have running water and electricity, and are safe to live in. We installed fire doors and temporary showers to ensure guardians were safe and comfortable.

 

The surgery is prominent and visible within Eltham, so security is important

We place brilliant property guardians who regularly tackle anti-social behaviour in the grounds and contribute to the local community. They also keep an eye out for issues relating to the building, spotting and reporting them early. We occupied the building within ten working days of taking it on, which is part of our standard service provision.

 

Managing the whole context of the site, not just the building

As well as managing the building, we have provided additional benefits to the owner, through the plot of land surrounding it. We saw an opportunity to provide extra security and a revenue stream for the property owner by making best use of the space available. We contracted a car park company to manage the land, removing associated anti-sociable behaviour issues in the process.

Headline Achievements

  • Savings of over £3,300 on Business rates & c. £1,000 on security each month, adding up to c. £52,000 in cost reductions in the last year
  • Guardians undertook 176 hours of volunteering in August 2016, On track to deliver 2,112 hours, the equivalent of over a year’s full time work of local volunteering in 2016

”The volunteering has meant that I tried something new, met new people and bring a smile to their faces. I listen to people’s problems and am able to give them a little bit of hope. I’m happy to be more involved in my local community life.”

Angela, Dot Dot Dot guardian, talking about her experience volunteering with her local hospice

“I am proud that we are able to help owners of important community buildings to retain the active use of these assets while they are in transition. Our work means that the Eltham surgery continues to have a positive impact on the neighbourhood, with people living there as property guardians, while they volunteer locally.”

Peter Brown, Chief Executive, Dot Dot Dot

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