Holland-based property company Ad Hoc has launched in the North West providing owners of empty buildings with a guardian scheme.
The scheme aims to help lawyers, bank workers, nurses, trainee doctors and musicians to be moved into properties which are no longer occupied.
The properties being looked after include former churches, vicarages, schools and tower blocks with people ranging in age from 20 to 60 paying rent from £30 a week.
Clients of Ad Hoc includes Liverpool's Anglican Diocese and Roman Catholic Arch Diocese and Wirral Partnership Homes, which have asked the company to manage a number of their empty properties.
Among the properties on Ad Hoc's books are St Aidan's Church in Speke, St Winifred's Presbytery in Oriel Road, and the Church of St Margaret of Antioch Primary School in Toxteth.
Other buildings being looked after include:
- High rise tower blocks in Seacombe and Wallasey for Wirral Partnership Homes
- Lonsdale Road Primary School in Formby
- A former vicarage in Wigan
- An old farm house in Halsall, near Ormskirk
Marie Taylor, branch manager for Ad Hoc in the North West, said: "For clients, it offers them the peace of mind that their vacant buildings are being looked after at a fraction of the cost of traditional security charges and helping to combat the growing scourge of squatters, while for the guardians it provides some unique places to live either on their own or with a group of like-minded people.
"We have found that the guardian scheme works well for people ranging in age from early twenties to late fifties. They might be young people who cannot afford to get the first foot on the property ladder, older people who have recently separated from their partners or individuals who prefer a slightly more nomadic way of life.
"For between £30 and £40 a week, guardians get their accommodation and all other bills covered offering massive savings on other types of rented properties.
"Our guardians currently include a lawyer, trainee doctor, IT consultant, nurse, bank worker, magazine editor, bus driver and even a private detective."
Ad Hoc will ensure that each of the properties has toilets, showers, cooking facilities, mains water, gas and electricity, but otherwise the guardians are responsible for kitting out the accommodation to suit their requirements.
Ad Hoc said there is few, if any, structural changes made to properties, although normally guardians are permitted to decorate the properties.
Taylor added: "We are excited by the feedback we have had from clients and guardians in Merseyside. We are able to fulfil two big objectives – providing cheap accommodation for single people, often in some historic and fascinating buildings, while at the same time helping to protect the heritage and attractiveness of different communities."
Ad Hoc also has UK branches in York, Bristol, Birmingham and London.
- For more information contact the Ad Hoc North West branch in Liverpool on 0151 236 6061