Property owner FAQs

We pay considerable attention to detail in our guardian vetting process so that we only house those who want to volunteer for good causes, and have demonstrated that they are conscientious and responsible.

Our applicants must attend a virtual introduction to Dot Dot Dot session before they can complete our application form, to find out if guardianship is for them. And, before they can move into a property, applicants must provide proof of address, three months’ bank statements and payslips, their passport and complete a successful interview with our applications coordinator.

All guardians must be 18 or over, provide evidence of their right to rent, and be earning an annual income of 30x the monthly licence fee. Discover more about our eligibility criteria.

We have housed over 1,900 property guardians including nurses, teachers, students, cleaners, engineers, artists and actors: all sorts of people become property guardians with us.

People enjoy the experience for different reasons too, whether that’s because it opens up a new way of living for them, or it makes their existing lifestyle easier and more affordable. The one thing they have in common is a desire to make a social impact through volunteering.

Minimum property standards need to be met for us to safely house guardians. We would be happy to arrange a pre-assessment site visit to understand the condition of your properties. If the building appears suitable cosmetically, we will agree a plan with the property owner relating to any works they will need to undertake to ensure that units pass their EICR and gas safety inspections, are weathertight and have secure windows and doors.

Property owners must provide Dot Dot Dot with at least 32 days’ notice when they want their building back.

As property guardians are a live-in form of vacant property security, they will not impact an owners’ ability to engage with planning for the building.

We generally need a minimum contract length of three months although this is flexible and can be advised on once we have visited your property.

We have an excellent track record of delivering vacant possession to our clients smoothly and on time. All handbacks are overseen by one of our senior staff, who works with operational staff to deliver a customised handback plan. Planning for vacant possession is considered from the start of a project. When vetting applicants, we assess finances and conduct reference checks. The provision of a realistic move-on plan in the event of being given 28 days’ notice also forms part of our applicant scoring criteria. We house only the most responsible guardians, who understand that guardianship is temporary.

Our handback success is due in part to close guardian monitoring, enabled by our high ratio of services-team staff to guardians – we believe we have the highest ratio in the industry, made possible by our status as a social enterprise focused on purpose over profit. Our staffing ratio enables awareness of individual issues, sensitive and fair handling of problems, and scope to maximise social impact.

We conduct regular unannounced inspections to demonstrate our licensees’ non-exclusive possession of their property. This creates closer relationships with, and an understanding of, the people we house, which helps us to predict issues and deal with them ahead of time. We also review move on plans periodically to ensure guardians remain prepared after residing in the same property for a long time.

Health and safety in our properties is of vital importance to us, our clients and our property guardians. The buildings we manage will be at a standard that meets or exceeds legally required standards, and maintained in this condition whilst the property is under our management.

To house people, we require the following minimum property standards to be in place:

  • Structurally sound, free of environmental hazards and is otherwise safe to access and enter (including the surrounding communal walkways, lobbies etc.)
  • Weathertight
  • Doors, windows and other access (including internal fittings) are functional, safe and secure and meet any relevant fire safety standards
  • Have a satisfactory EICR dated within the last three years, that the condition of the installation matches the report, and that electrical fuses are present
  • Have a gas safety certificate dated within the last twelve months showing the safety of the gas installations at the property and that the condition of the installations is not changed
  • Have safe access and connection to utilities
  • Substantially clean and clear (i.e. all large items and refuse removed) with the exception of white goods in usable condition
  • Curtains, blinds and carpets to be left in place if in good condition
  • Working fittings/plumbing to include: kitchen sink, bath and/or shower, bathroom washbasin, toilet – all with relevant taps/fittings in place. All require cold water supply. Kitchen sink and bath/shower must have working supply of hot water (boiler, tank or point-heated)
  • Have at least two complete sets of keys.

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Property guardian sitting on their sofa.