Property guardianship, security of tenure, HMOs and the Housing Act 2004: where are we now, and what comes next?

20 Oct 2022, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm


Dean Underwood, Tara O'Leary



This one-hour webinar, hosted by Dean Underwood and Tara O’Leary, will summarise and explore three recent decisions that have cast important light on the legal status and regulation of ‘property guardianship’: a growing trend nationwide whereby vacant commercial buildings are occupied as a residence by ‘guardians’ whose presence deters trespassers.

The webinar will summarise and explore these recent decisions, examining the important issues they raise regarding security of tenure, residence, control and management. It will interest all persons tasked with untangling the legal issues around guardianship, including local housing authorities enforcing Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, solicitors advising guardianship companies and the property owners who instruct them, and those assisting the guardians who occupy these premises.

In Global 100 Ltd v Laleva [2021] EWCA Civ 1325 the Court of Appeal held that the guardian was a mere licensee who did not enjoy security of tenure; and in Global 100 Ltd v Jimenez [2022] UKUT 50 (LC) and Global Guardians Management Ltd v Hounslow LBC [2022] UKUT 259 (LC), the Upper Tribunal confirmed that the buildings occupied by guardians were houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) for the purpose of Part 2. The latter decision – in which Cornerstone’s Tara O’Leary acted for the successful local authority – also confirmed that the guardianship companies behind these operations were persons ‘in control’ and ‘managing’ the premises, and thus liable to enforcement under Part 2 for failing to obtain HMO licences.

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