The Irish Times: Wanted - Property Guardians

wanted: property guardians who pay less to protect

Thursday 3rd November 2011

FANCY living in a former convent school, factory, hotel or church - from as little as €30 per week? Camelot Properties is "desperate for live-in guardians", according to its regional manager in Ireland, Damian Woods.

The deal being offered by the company to tenants is cheap rent in exchange for keeping an eye on largely empty buildings. People who own empty buildings get "security through occupation" in Camelot's words.

And with so many buildings here in receivership, the company - which set up here in 2006 - has a lot of accommodation on offer. The company has a 24-hour telephone line for tenants to contact.

Pauline O'Farrell, who went back to college recently, has been living in a one-bedroom apartment in a big house near the Mater Hospital in Dublin since May 2010, paying €200 a month.

She has just two neighbours, a couple in the apartment next door. She found Camelot on a website, checked the company out - as they checked her out - and has been happy living in the apartment since then. "I'm allowed to decorate it," she says adding "it's one of the quietest places I've ever lived."

Basic rules for tenants are "no pets, no parties and no children", and they sign a contract which allows the company to give them four weeks' notice to quit. The contract is a licence agreement, like staying in a hotel, says Woods.

Camelot is a Dutch company, one of the largest guardian companies in Europe, with 50,000 people living there as guardians. So far in Dublin, it has "just shy of 100 guardians" says Woods.

Currently Camelot has five people living in Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham, paying from €120 to €200 a month.

FRANCES O'ROURKE