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Asylum seeker housing firm's boss reaches UK Rich List

aslum king

The founder of a property management firm that houses asylum seekers by offering landlords guaranteed rents has reached the Sunday Times Rich List.

Graham King (main image, inset) who set up Clearsprings First Homes 20 years ago, has had his personal fortune valued at £750 million, placing him at 221 in the paper’s rich list alongside 349 others including Paul McCartney and James Dyson.

King, who also has business interests in legal services and holiday parks, set up Clearsprings First Homes in 2000 to provide short-term key-ready accommodation to asylum seekers across the UK. He is one of the few new entrants in the rich list alongside Tony Blair’s son Euan and F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton.

Clearsprings First Homes’ landlord clients are the Home Office, UK Border Agency, UK Visas and Immigration, the Ministry of justice and dozens of big councils including Sunderland, Plymouth, Bristol, Bradford, Croydon as well as Kent County Council and the West London Housing Partnership.

The firms says it has a ‘sustainable and ethical’ trading policy and sources its accommodation via a range of ‘stakeholders’ but a large proportion of these are private landlords who are offered ‘zero-hassle, longer-term guaranteed rent’.


Properties it manages on behalf of landlords, mainly in London and the South East, include hotels, hostel style accommodation, HMOs, family homes, self-contained studio blocks or small studio apartments.

But King’s £26m-a-year-profit business, which he owns privately unlike other providers in the asylum accommodation sector, has been criticised.

Last year it was reported that it was the subject of the most complaints filed to the Migrant Help hotline, a third-party charity contracted by the Home Office to handle complaints and offer advice to asylum seekers.

Also, Tim Naor Hilton, the Chief Executive of charity Refugee Seekers, described some of the housing provided by companies like Clearsprings but also competitors Serco and Mears as ‘stomach churning’.


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