With rents for flats and studio spaces sky high, and the chance of owning a home in the capital near impossible for the average person, creatives such as artists, musicians and fashion designers have found a novel way to live affordably in London – guardianship, we’d say that most are flocking to the coolest property guardian company around, PGP (Property Guardian Protection).
The company’s founder, Scott Franklin is changing the game for the guardian industry and making it ‘more grown up’, offering an alternative way of living to those who don’t have the means to buy or rent in the capital – or who want their money to go further. The dynamic company, which turns two this year, considers itself the gold standard. Born and bred Londoner Franklin scours cities with his team to find abandoned and disused buildings, from factories and warehouses to old schools and police stations, that they turn into thriving artistic communities.
Franklin’s team goes above and beyond the usual compliance requirements and invests huge amounts of money into making the spaces safe to live in and renovating them to a high standard, adding kitchens, bathrooms and breakout spaces, before moving guardians in to protect the properties for the landlords and stop squatters.
In payback, the new residents get significantly reduced rents for massive spaces which they can turn into homes-come-studios in prime parts of town – minimising travel costs and commuting time, or the need to rent other creative studio space. A PGP room in Hackney could set you back just £500 – significantly less than this central London boroughs’ going rate.
What sets PGP apart is it’s passion for building communities; part of Franklin’s mission is to ensure that the creatives, professionals and talented individuals who live in PGP properties connect with one another through communal spaces – from cinema rooms to a ‘disco laundrette’ complete with a life size mural of the original laundry queen Dot Cotton – and shared opportunities. Recently four artists exhibited work from taxidermy to photography at an exhibition space provided for free by PGP, with Blaine from rock band Mystery Jets (one of their creative guardians) on the decks!
This sought after guardian protection company has become home to more than 100 lucky residents across 20 of London’s once disused properties. From victorian warehouses to old factory spaces these properties ooze character and offer secure, legal housing thanks to the strict regulations which PGP adhere.
“PGP is so much more than just affordable living”, says Franklin. “For us, PGP is about reviving the community spirit and giving our guardians a place that really feels like home, no matter how long or short their stay might be. I consider myself a frustrated creative, and the arts is a passion for me, so when I set up PGP I knew I wanted to build a company that would benefit this community and set a new standard for the property guardian world – both in the way we go about compliance, and health and safety, and the way we interact personally with our guardians. Our PGP guardians are breathing new life into previously old and abandoned buildings, and collaborating with each other on new creative projects, and that makes me incredibly proud.”