Tenancy referencing firm tells Theresa May of immigration checks concerns

Home Secretary Theresa May has met with a tenancy referencing firm to hear concerns on the forthcoming immigration status checks which landlords or their agents will have to carry out.

FCC Paragon asked the minister to revisit the Government’s proposals ahead of its ‘Right to Rent’ pilot scheme, due to commence in the west midlands on December 1.

FCC Paragon said it has come across numerous fraudulent applications by tenants.

Four years ago, after identifying growing concerns surrounding the verification of foreign nationals, it approached the Government offering to trial a free service which would check tenants’ validity, ensuring they were entitled to be working and living in the UK.

At the time, the firm’s proposal was rejected but now the Home Secretary has invited it to submit more information.

Janie Gaston, operations director at FCC Paragon, said: “Tenant referencing is our core business and our experience in this field enables us to clearly identify what measures should be implemented, without putting the onus on landlords and letting agents.

“We are grateful that we have finally had the opportunity to air our thoughts directly with the Home Secretary, who was encouraged by the depth of research we have carried out, the results of our initial trial and the ideas we presented that would support the Government in creating a fairer system.”

She said of the forthcoming pilot: “We feel this is going to be very onerous for landlords and letting agents alike, and is unlikely to tackle immigration problems as it appears to be a very complicated and time-consuming process, which we feel many landlords will struggle to understand.

“The directions are not clear enough and appear somewhat contradictory.”

Following the meeting at FCC Paragon’s Portsmouth offices, which was also attended by Penny Mordaunt, Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, Theresa May has requested that FCC Paragon submit a revised proposal directly to her for review.

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