2 October 2017 | News and features | Back to Blog

London Assembly members visited a Dot Dot Dot property last week

As part of their research into the property guardian sector and its impact on London, the Housing Committee of the London Assembly were keen to visit a commercial property which has property guardians living in it. We were happy to welcome Sian Berry, Andrew Boff and Tom Copley to our old school in Croydon last week.

Our Chief Executive, Peter Brown, set the scene for the tour: introducing Dot Dot Dot and what makes us different. He also explained our approach to occupying this particular building. “Guardians are now occupying 11 of the 20 usable spaces in the building. Our approach to suitable numbers of guardians is based on the best middle ground, which delivers reliable security for the building, while at the same time ensuring the comfort and safety of the property guardians housed.”

Robert Lines, Estates Surveyor for London Borough of Croydon then explained why the building was empty, plans for its long-term use and why he chose Dot Dot Dot as the most suitable interim use. Mr Lines told the committee that “LB Croydon has an extremely positive relationship with Dot Dot Dot and we 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, and we are very pleased to have the building managed and cared for by them.”

One of our Relationship Coordinators, Emma Starling, then led everyone on a tour around the building, stopping off at a few guardians’ rooms. The Assembly Members saw Kit’s amazing room and heard how being a Dot Dot Dot guardian works for her. Kit explained how she was specifically drawn to us by our focus on social impact. She had previously ruled out being a property guardian due to the idea of living in a big building with a bunch of strangers. “Once I knew that everyone was up for 16 hours of volunteering a month, I felt pretty confident they’d be great, considerate housemates, and they are.”

Then Emma took us into Tom and Olivia’s room. They have gone to town with stencils and drawings on their walls. They’re very happy with how property guardianship has enabled them to live together in London. Tom said, “I’m currently looking for work in the creative industry, but as the monthly fees are low, I have enough breathing space to find the right kind of work for me, rather than grabbing the first opportunity. When we are given notice to leave, Dot Dot Dot will have provided a perfect springboard to the city. That being said, we would love to continue to be guardians in the area for as long as possible.”

From Dot Dot Dot’s perspective, it couldn’t have gone any better. We are delighted that the London Assembly Members looked under the hood of property guardianship at Dot Dot Dot, by talking to our staff, our wonderful guardians and the owner of the old school in Croydon.

We look forward to seeing the video of the tour along with the full Housing Committee report at the end of the year. Read our full submission to the London Assembly’s investigation.