Our approach

What is property guardianship?

Property guardianship providers select meanwhile residents, or guardians, to live  in empty spaces for security purposes. This solution is often the most effective way to reduce costs and risks associated with managing empty buildings, such as vandalism and theft.

Who are Dot Dot Dot?

Dot Dot Dot is a social enterprise transforming empty buildings into safe, inexpensive housing for property guardians who volunteer for good causes. We were founded in 2011 by former journalist Katharine Hibbert, who came up with the idea of combining social enterprise with property guardianship while writing about the plight of empty buildings in the UK.

Why securing your property with us is different

Beyond our diverse experience of delivering cost-effective security and high quality building maintenance, we give empty buildings a new purpose by supporting our guardians to volunteer their time for good causes. Each of our carefully selected and well managed guardians commits to volunteering for at least 16 hours per month, thereby creating meaningful impact in their local community

Our guardians and how we find them

We have housed over 1,884 property guardians over the past 12 years, from architects to zookeepers. Some of our guardians, like Serkan, are saving for a mortgage. For some, like Veema, not having to pay extortionate rent  means less stress and more energy to pursue projects that matter to them. 

Our rigorous selection process ensures that only the most responsible guardians are housed with us, and we invest time in making sure they are aware of their responsibilities from the start. Each guardian is assigned a dedicated relationship coordinator, allowing us to check in with them regularly and manage their departure at the end of a project’s lifespan.

Spotlight on: Daneel

Daneel has been a guardian with us in Poplar, east London since June 2020. Since he joined Dot Dot Dot, he has volunteered over 700 hours, focusing on his self-funded climate change documentary, and Made in Hackney, a cookery school that provides meals for the local community. Read more about Daneel’s impact.


Spotlight on: Melody

Although not new to property guardianship, Melody discovered Dot Dot Dot in 2019 and made the decision to swap her life in London for the leafy town of Letchworth Garden City. Doing so allowed her to save money so she could focus on her freelance writing career. Melody has volunteered almost 300 hours, mainly with a hospice near Letchworth. Discover more of Melody’s story.


Our projects and expertise

From large regeneration sites to a decommissioned youth club, from residential to commercial projects, bringing new purpose to empty buildings has taken on a variety of forms since we launched in 2011. And we don’t just work in London: we’ve worked across England, in places like Cambridge, Letchworth, High Wycombe and Manchester too.

Our holistic approach is the culmination of over 10 years of experience across a wide range of projects and locations. We work closely with clients in the public, private and third sectors, to not only secure empty spaces but also reach their social aims and objectives.