Lighthouse Guardians offer ethical solutions to entities involved with empty buildings throughout the United Kingdom.
Our services are aimed at development companies waiting for planning permission, local authorities sitting on buildings no longer in use or retail groups who are moving from bricks to clicks.
We provide property owners with a free solution to secure their vacant properties from vandalism and squatters, whilst mitigating by 100% very costly empty business rates by converting them to domestic council tax.
We achieve these savings by placing Guardians (Guardians on license) within buildings, whose presence protects the properties.
By using our Lighthouse Guardian Protection Service, owners are providing low cost accommodation for the local community and are therefore creating a nature of goodwill within the area.
The government recently announced that “the UK housing market is broken” apart from stating the obvious the statement confirms the importance of our aim to provide ethical short-term accommodation by utilising empty buildings.
London’s residential housing market has infamously high rents and an acute property shortage. Yet the city also has a reported 60,000 empty properties, creating opportunity for a new class of occupiers calling themselves “property guardians”.
Companies agree with property developers, local authorities and housing associations to take over empty houses and flats and find occupiers on a short-term basis to care for buildings in danger of attracting squatters and crime.
SCOTTISH SUNDAY HERALD
Increasing numbers of Scots are taking the plunge living in disused commercial premises or empty houses as they seek cheaper accommodation and the chance to live in unusual buildings such as disused former children’s care homes.
Property guardianship – where Guardians provide security for owners by living in empty buildings in return for low cost accommodation – is said to have ballooned north of the Border over the past year.
Guardian Angels provide business rate relief
Business rates are a tax on the occupation of non-domestic property that must be paid on most commercial premises including shops, offices, pubs and warehouses.
Unfortunately, they are also a tax on unoccupied properties, with rates on empty properties charged at the same level since April 2008.
This presents a major cost burden for property owners when there is no rental income coming in to cover them, hitting businesses large and small.
Many landlords have been affected, with some having paid hundreds of thousands of pounds per year on large commercial buildings standing empty.
A Brief Overview
▶Your property is protected and managed by us free of charge, allowing owners to concentrate on their mainline business
▶100% mitigation of empty building business rates
▶Possible income from the property
▶Council tax and all security costs are the responsibility of Lighthouse Guardians
▶No hidden management fee
▶Lower building insurance premiums
▶Substantial savings of up to 100% of the cost of traditional security services
▶High costs of removing squatters are avoided
▶A personal dedicated Account Manager
▶Lighthouse Guardians will be responsible for any contribution required for utility bills
How rates are calculated
Since 1 April 1990, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has compiled a rating list for each local authority every five years, under which properties are assessed and a rateable value calculated. This rateable value is an estimate of the annual rent that would be paid for the property at a fixed date two years prior to the beginning of the list. Annual bills for business rates are calculated by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the Uniform Business Rate multiplier, which is set by central government.
The current rating list came into force on 1April 2010 and the new tariff comes into force this year, adding extra financial pressure on landlords.
The aim of empty business rates is to provide a strong incentive to bring empty premises back into use. Placing guardians in a property during the period between purchase and development means it is being secured and maintained, as well as offering them a low-cost temporary home. Another benefit is that council tax is being paid, which can be reinvested back into the local community – making this, a win-win solution.