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The number of interim possession orders issued by Central London County Court increased by 81% between 2010 and 2011. These orders are necessary if a landlord or property owner wants to evict a squatter. The number of squatters has increased greatly in the capital as housing prices have risen and the population has swollen. Some companies are now being set up to not only prevent squatters taking up residence but also to fill the gap in the property market between a shortage of housing and a growing population.

Property guardians will temporarily ‘house sit’ in order to prevent squatters moving in. At the same time, these guardians will enjoy well-located and often luxurious properties for a third or a quarter of the commercial rent value. Property management firm Camelot has 2,000 property guardians mostly in London and it’s not alone; there are other sites such as aptly named Property Guardians offering the same type of service. The idea holds particular appeal...

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