While helping ward off squatters and securing an empty building from unwanted visitors, Live-in Guardians also help property owners save money that would otherwise be spent on business rates as, according to Gov.uk, owners of empty properties are required to pay business rates after their building has been vacant for three months.
Live-in Guardians' managing director Arthur Duke highlights that the Guardians, who pay between £300 and £700 per month depending on property location to live in an empty pub, come from a diverse range of backgrounds and are creating increasingly cosy, albeit temporary, surroundings.
But who are the people watching over 15 empty London pubs? The Morning Advertiser caught up with two Live-in Guardians propping up bars in empty pubs.
Names: Paul O’Donoghue
Professions: Decorator and lecturer
Property guardian site? The Good Mixer, Camden, London
How many people live there?: Nine.
How long has Paul been a pub property guardian? He was there for six weeks and hopes to be back in a pub again soon.
How did Paul first become a property guardian? “I had been travelling for just under one year so when I came back I did not want to settle into my two-bedroom apartment and just shut the door. I wanted to live with others and thought becoming a guardian would be great. I wanted to carry on the adventure.
“The Good Mixer was the first place I have been a guardian in. I had a great set up there with what was like my own apartment with a lounge, separate bathroom with a bath and shower and bedroom, we also had a communal kitchen and used the downstairs area to get together some weekends.”
What do you think about property guardianship? “It is a great way to meet new people and live communally. It’s not for everyone but it suits me, for now.”
What drew you to being a pub property guardian? “I think it was the location of the Good Mixer, it was a great place to be, in the centre of Camden with a reduction in rent. I think I would have had to pay a lot more rent if I was to do so privately in this area. I would definitely live in a pub again. I do have the security of my own two bedroom flat that I rent out now to someone else while living as a guardian. It is great because I have my own space, but get to live with a mix of people too.”
What are the benefits of being a property guardian? “The main benefits of being a guardian is the fact the rent is a lot cheaper and the locations are central.”
Names: Sadie Haque
Professions: Sadie is a set designer in the fashion/commercial industry
Property guardian site? The Metropolitan Pub, Great Western Road, London
How many people live there: Presently four people with room for two more.
How long has Sadie been a pub property guardian? For only one month.
How did Sadie first become a property guardian? “I was living in a rented home in Deptford before I met my partner, Joe, who is also a guardian. He had signed up before we decided to move in together so I felt that becoming a Guardian would be a great way to save money.”
What does being a property guardian involve on a daily basis? “There is nothing different to being a guardian than living in rented accommodation really other than that we have more space for the money we pay and that we share our home with two other people. We are here to make sure the pub is protected but I can still go to work every day.”
What drew you to being a pub property guardian? “This is the first pub that I have lived in. Previously, to this we were living above a shop in Shoreditch High Street as guardians, so it was a lot louder. With the pub there is a lot more space and its cheaper rent.
“We have the largest bedroom in the pub and share the kitchen and bathrooms. There is a function room that is currently up for renting but we think it would make a really cool communal space.”
What are the benefits of being a property guardian? “The main benefits to living in a pub like this is that there is so much extra space at a more affordable rent. The location here is also great for me, it is in moments’ walk of Portobello Market, which I love, and easy for me to get to work.
"It’s definitely nicer to live in an interesting beautiful building rather than a tiny flat.”