A few days ago the former Camelot Europe HQ, in Westland Park London N1 was squatted in protest against guardian companies’ anti-social profiteering from empty properties and homelessness.
For those who don’t know, Camelot are the original “guardian” company, invented to counter the squatting movement in Holland by moving in people who act as security by living there. Guardians pay rent but have less protection than ordinary tenants, at least according to the wording of their contracts. Other guardian companies also exist, such as our least-favourite Dot Dot Dot ……
A couple of articles have appeared in the Guardian but with certain problems. Both of them seem to agree with Camelot that what the people acting as security guards by living in their properties are is merely licencees, when most legal advice shows that they clearly have tenancies. When challenged on this point most guardian companies back down and come to a deal, rather than allow the issue to go to court. [Read More]
Pic from protest at Rectory Gardens in 2012.
Rectory Gardens, a residential mews in Clapham Old Town, is being emptied, one household at a time. Henry, who has lived in the street since 1985, is among those waiting to be rehoused. When he leaves, Lambeth Council will probably hire Camelot, a ‘vacant property management’ company, to install ‘guardians’: people who pay the company for the privilege of staying in disused buildings and keeping out squatters. There are several property guardians already living on the street.
Accusation of Camelot Europe by Bond Precaire Woonvormen
Camelot Europe is an international vacant property management company, that started in the Netherlands. Their business is vacant property management services to provide real estate clients with a ‘cost effective, high quality and flexible solution’ to protect vacant properties against vandalism and such. Camelot provides these services in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium and is now attending Mipim 2014.
Its ‘services’ to the real estate sector are in fact a way to maximise profit from vacant properties by exploiting people in need of a house. Camelot was one of the first Ductch ‘antisquat’ companies that came up with the idea of having people in need of housing live in empty buildings as ‘property protectors’ on temporary flex-contracts and without any tenants rights. These dwellers can be kicked out of their house on a two weeks notice, are deprived of privacy as Camelot will randomly inspect their premises to see if they ‘behave properly’, and are forced to agree to a set of conditions that constrain their freedom of behaviour and mobility. [Read More]