Property guardianship is a form of short term residential occupancy of disused buildings. Guardian companies wish to make sure their occupiers (the ‘guardians’) have only licences rather than leases of their quarters in order that they do assume statutory obligations towards the occupiers. In this article, I examine, at the doctrinal level, how the legal test for a lease or a licence has been applied in this situation. The article is not concerned with the rights and wrongs of the underlying policy – essentially whether to give imprimatur to a status of second-class tenant – but instead it is concerned to explain how this objectionable position has been reached through the back door.

Citation: Derek Whayman, ‘Old Issues, New Incentives, New Approach? Property Guardians and the Lease/Licence Distinction’ (2019) 83 Conv 44

Keywords: Lease; licence of land; repair obligations; notice to quit; property guardians.

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