A former care home is being brought back into use as affordable accommodation.

Castle Mount care home, in Egremont, closed down earlier this year and the building was bought by a new owner around three months ago.

Ad Hoc Property Management, which has nine offices across the country, has opened the building so people can live in its 32 rooms on a flexible basis as "property guardians" paying low rents.

The company said it would find "carefully vetted adults to live in these buildings as property guardians to provide a deterrent against crime by keeping the building occupied and maintained".

Nikki Murtaugh, Ad Hoc’s business development manager for the North East and Cumbria, said people would only live in the property if they were in work or otherwise had the means to pay the rent, which starts at £180 per month.

"We are able to provide some much needed affordable accommodation for people," he said.

"The reality is that we are very, very particular about who goes in. We look for people who are in gainful employment." However, it would also take a "common sense" approach to potential tenants who had other ways of paying - for example, students who were receiving bursaries.

He said the property comprised around five communal spaces with some of the rooms having private lounge and en-suite facilities.

"As Castle Mount had only recently closed we all felt that property guardians would better serve this property rather than having it boarded up," he said.

He said property guardians are "professional people", subject to checks and have to live by a code of conduct and duty of care towards the building and the local community.

The company had already secured its "first couple" of deposits from tenants, he said.

Ad Hoc manages properties for owners across the country.

Nikki said it saves them the cost of providing security for empty properties.

He said it can also save them being hit with a 200 per cent council tax charge levied on properties that have been empty for over two years.

People living in the property are subject to a "one-month break" clause, which means they may have to leave within a month if the building is sold or developed.

"We are not certain how long it might last," said Nikki.

"We make a point of making sure everything has been explained and making sure people understand how it works."