One of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, Fergus Wilson, has been told that his policy to “not take Asian, Pakistani and Indian people generally” as tenants is unlawful.
Wilson, 69, said that the reason behind his openly racist request was due to the cost of removing the smell of curry at the end of their tenancy.
“The valuation drops by £50,000 if it smells of curry”
However, Maidstone County Court ruled that his bizarre strategy was illegal and that he must drop the policy. Judge Richard Polden said, “This policy clearly amounts to discrimination…I find the policy is unlawful. Such a policy has no place in our society.”
With a buy-to-let business worth in the region of £250 million, Fergus and his wife Judith built up their massive portfolio in Kent to a reported 1000 properties. The couple have sold off around half of their portfolio to overseas buyers within the past 2 years, but allegedly retain around £100 million worth of houses in the Ashford area of Kent.
Speaking outside the court room, Wilson maintained there was a “problem” with his tenants “cooking curries” in their homes but also said his comments were “a bit of adolescent banter”.
The controversial tycoon then fell back on the age old argument for alleged racist comments. Channelling David Brent, he argued “I have far more coloured people, black people I mean, in Ashford than the average, so there I say I can’t be racist, otherwise I wouldn’t have any.”
He even put a valuation figure on the price on tenants who cook curry in his properties, “The problem is that if you have a £250,000 mid-terrace house, the valuation drops by £50,000 if it smells of curry.”
Top 4 most controversial remarks by Fergus Wilson:
“It is not the colour of their skin, but the smell of the curry”
“We have nothing against people with beards and tattoos…we are just saying we don’t have many of them. They are indicators they are not likely to earn that much money.”
“The long and short of it is I did call him a little sh*t”
“We don’t want to take those who are likely to appear on The Jeremy Kyle Show.”
So if curry is the problem why not ban the cooking of curry specifically, why ban ‘coloured people’?
DealMakerz can’t be 100% sure, but we strongly suspect curry (or any other fragrant dish) has been cooked in the kitchen of one of Wilson’s properties over the past 30 years by someone who isn’t of South Asian descent. Will these tenants be banned too?
On the face of it Wilson is a madcap, maverick property mogul – but personal accounts of him depict a nasty, mean-hearted man who does nothing but smear the reputation of UK landlords.
The sooner Wilson exits the property market for good, the better.