Property guardians: guidance

Non-statutory guidance for current and potential property guardians


Property guardians: guidance (PDF version)

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It is important that anyone currently acting as a property guardian, or considering entering such an arrangement, fully understands their rights and responsibilities.

We have produced this non-statutory guidance to raise awareness of the rights of property guardians so that current and potential guardians can make informed decisions.

There are important differences between property guardianships and other forms of private renting, primarily that most property guardians have a ‘licence to occupy’ rather than tenancies. Licences provide less security than tenancies but licensees are still protected from eviction and notice periods of less than 28 days are unlawful. Depending upon occupancy status, legal protections can be different, however most health and safety requirements apply equally to tenancies and licences.

All buildings used for residential purposes must meet housing safety standards and local authorities have a legal duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review and identify any action that may need to be taken. This includes properties occupied by property guardians. However, the properties used in property guardianship schemes are generally not designed for residential use and, while many are effectively adapted, some buildings may be especially hazardous or dangerous. All renters, regardless of tenure or agreement type, deserve to be and feel safe and secure in their homes.

If you have any concerns you can contact your local authority. You can find your local council’s website here:

Published 30 May 2018
Last updated 29 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Non-statutory guidance for current and potential property guardians updated.

  2. Added link to information about how private renting is affected by COVID-19.

  3. First published.