FCC Paragon approached Government to tackle immigration issues
FCC Paragon, which provides numerous services to the lettings industry, has voiced it’s anger over plans that landlords will now be responsible for checking the immigration status of any potential tenant, after it emerged their own experience in this sensitive field led them to offer the Government a credible free solution over three years ago, which was rejected.
As part of their tenant referencing business, FCC has come across numerous fraudulent applications being made. This has also been apparent when assisting Landlords via their Rent Recovery Department, where tenancies have been granted and which have, in many cases led to, sub letting, huge rent arrears, substantive dilapidations. They say on the occasions where foreign nationals are involved it has been nigh on impossible to have any recourse for return of monies outstanding etc as often they have absconded before being able to take any action.
In 2010, after identifying growing concerns surrounding the verification of foreign nationals, Janie Gaston, Operations Director at FCC Paragon, wrote to the deputy prime minister (Rt Hon Nick Clegg) offering a service which would check their validity to ensure that that individual was entitled to be residing and working in UK. She says “we like to think we are a forward thinking company and our experience in this field led us to recognise the issues and try to tackle it head on.”
Having been fortunate enough to engage a very forward thinking Chief Immigration Officer at UKBA, a trial period of forward cases, where there was uncertainty over an individual’s credentials, was set up. This proved successful in identifying some individuals who were not validated and FCC’s hope was to get the scheme rolled out nationally. However, despite the fact that the proposal outlined by FCC Paragon would have cost the Government nothing at all, they rejected it on grounds they already had their own initiatives in place.
In light of the news that landlords could face huge fines if they do not correctly check the immigration status of potential tenants, Ms Gaston comments “This is just another regulatory burden for landlords and will not do anything to tackle immigration problems as professional landlords will already be taking such measures via thorough tenant referencing. Landlords have not been provided with a solution, they don’t know where to go to verify documents or how long it will take and most wouldn’t know if they were looking at a fraudulent document or not. This is a risky and careless step for the Government to have taken.”
For further information, please contact:
Janie Gaston, Operations Director, 0844 770 9378 ext 102
Helen Evison, Paragon Advance PR, 01276 62201 / 07979 537335
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