At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street we covered the almost a year old GPDR rules and how as an industry we take our KYC checks extremely seriously by requesting and obtaining certain documents on our clients to ensure we help to prevent any fraudulent movements. ALL customers of a virtual office are subject to rigorous security checks when opening a service at a virtual office- these are similar to opening a bank account. This may sound quite dramatic but as discussed in last week’s blog it is to protect you as a client and you as a consumer.

‘‘The most important thing is to know who you’re working with and who’s using yours services’’- Simon Cowie, Chairman of Mail Boxes Etc

This week we are addressing another industry issue.

Squatting

Squatting is the action of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or a building, usually residential,[1] that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use.

In the virtual office industry the term squatting is used when either a person or companies or in fact any organisations displays or uses our address without having paid for the service, or sometimes after their services have expired.

So where is our address showing?

Our address is used on a number of different mediums, such as Google, Companies House, HMRC registers, and local directories as well as displayed on their correspondence materials such as websites, business cards, and letterheads etc.

How do we establish their squatting?

We only establish whether a company or person is squatting at our address after normally receipt of mail. We cross check the name using our CRM System to check they are an active account.

Occasionally we receive a visitor at the office enquiring about a company and after checking the relevant website can then investigate if we don’t know of their existence.

What do we do about it?

At Hold Everything one of London’s leading virtual office providers we are determined to prevent fraudsters and squatters who use our services for illegal purposes or without our consent. We take a number of procedures and steps to attain the companies who are ‘squatting’ at our address and have all details of theirs documented to ensure we follow and chase leads on their movements.

We regularly communicate with Companies House advising them of the situation and they in turn have systems in place to assist with the industry situation. Furthermore we search the internet for connections to any individuals whom we can connect to the company using search systems such as 192.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other social network.

Consequences of squatting

If a person or company is displaying our address to squatter at, obviously we will not to able to forward to them the relevant communication from any source including government letters from HMRC or Companies House. After a lengthy period of usage and due to nonattendance to those time sensitive letters from organisations such as Companies House systems are instigated by the Registrar of Companies for England & Wales which will eventually result in Companies House ordering a compulsory strike off.

The strike off request is then published in The Gazette; this is then recorded on the company register as a First Gazette notice. Once published anyone can object to the application or else the company will be eventually struck off the register, assuming no one objects the company will go into dissolution which takes at least three months to officially dissolve – depending on the size of the company.

So if you think you will use our or any other virtual office address to squat at – think again, the industry talks to one another and names are circulated around.