Property Guardians: comparing the UK and the Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


In the 1990s a new way of managing empty properties emerged in the Netherland, known as “anti-squatting companies”. In summary, they work by a property management firm putting people into a vacant commercial or residential building to live as occupiers, effectively providing security to the owner of the building against burglary, squatting etc. This phenomenon has spread to other European companies including the UK, where they are known as “property guardians.” Rents are often sub-market, but the firms often impose rigid rules on occupants and seek to ensure that any tenants’ rights do not apply.
This paper will provide a comparison between the operation of property guardian companies in the Netherlands and England. It will provide some information about the geographic spread of lettings before moving on to consider the different legal structures that protect tenants and how these have been circumvented in both countries.
The websites of these property guardian firms assure readers that the arrangements have been cleared by lawyers. In England these are temporary licences, not tenancies, and various terms about non-exclusive occupation, rights for unannounced inspections and so on are mentioned. It is clear in doing this that in the UK at least, the firms are seeking to avoid the creation of any rights which may attract statutory protection, e.g. under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 that eviction may only take place on notice and after obtaining a court order.
By comparing their operation across two different countries we will be able to consider how the law operates to provide legal protection of occupiers of housing in different jurisdictions, and how easily this can be undermined in markets where housing has become unaffordable for many.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015
EventSecond Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference - Sorbonne University, Paris, France
Duration: 30 Jun 2015 → …


ConferenceSecond Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference
Period30/06/15 → …

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