I’ve made London work over the years by being a property guardian and recently, I’ve taken to TikTok to voice my concerns about the issues with guardianship, the cost of living and housing crisis.

Like many others during the cost of living crisis, I thought I’d have to leave London. I was lucky enough to find somewhere last minute before I was evicted from my previous guardian space (due to demolition) but many people I know weren’t so lucky. Renting in the U.K, especially London, is not affordable nor is it sustainable. If you didn’t know what a property guardian was, guardians look after and secure empty buildings that are often pending demolition or redevelopment.

I posted a video over on Tiktok a few months ago and a few journalists got in touch including Tarah Welsh from @bbclondon who reached out to me to share my experiences of guardianship and how much it’s changed over the years – especially the last few months. My experiences have also been shared by MyLondon in their piece on the housing crisis.

Historically guardianship has been affordable and marketed as an alternative way of living in cities and towns across the country. But recently, across the hours of searching and all the viewings I did, I’ve saw a huge spike license fees and many companies taking advantage of the housing crisis and high rents seen in the private rental sector.

@hu11ah Renting in london has always been tough but the current situation is somethibg else… whats ur expeience? #renting #rentinginlondon #londonrent #housingcrisis #rentingproblems ♬ original sound – Hu11ah

I was lucky enough to secure a space with a company that are still keeping their fees somewhat affordable but there are plenty of companies charging almost market rate rents for spaces. Property guardians have only 28 day rolling contracts and spaces come unfurnished and you have almost no rights compared to the average renter. It can be a great opportunity but I’m worried that the way companies are marketing guardianship is changing as they appear to be more like estate agencies. It could work for you but you need to be resourceful and know what you’re signing up for.

My hope is that the housing crisis in the U.K. will improve but that will only come with some rent controls and bans evictions. There is massive demand and there are people becoming guardians now that wouldn’t have done so years ago. As guardianship picks up where our councils and government don’t, they are a sticking plaster over our councils and governments failure to control the rental market and build genuinely affordable homes.