There is no statutory definition of a ‘property guardian’ but government guidance states that it is widely accepted that a property guardian is someone who has entered into an agreement to live in a building or part of a building that would otherwise be empty for the primary purpose of securing and safeguarding the property. In contrast, HMOs are defined under section 254 of the 
Housing Act 2004 by way of a number of tests to be applied to the property in question.
In the case of Global 100 Ltd v Jimenez and others, the First Tier Tribunal held that a commercial office building in which 10 – 12 property guardians were living was a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and should have been licensed as such. Subsequently, rent repayment orders were made.