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Race row landlord told ‘no coloured’ policy is unlawful

The UK’s largest and arguably most controversial buy-to-let landlord who earlier this year banned ‘coloured people’ from renting any of his properties because ‘they make them smell of curry’ has been ordered to scrap the policy.

Having already barred battered wives and plumbers from occupying his homes, Fergus Wilson, who runs a property empire in Kent alongside his wife Judith, caused further controversy in March by turning his attention to another innocent social group.

In an email to letting agent Evolution Properties, which set out requirements for potential tenants, the 69-year-old wrote: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”

Given that refusing to rent or let a property based on a prospective tenant’s race is unlawful, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) decided to apply for an injunction against the buy-to-let tycoon.

Wilson, of Boughton Monchelsea, finally appeared at Maidstone County Court to defend his letting policy, but in the end an injunction was issued against him.

Earlier this year, Wilson told the press that Britain is “getting overloaded with coloured people”, and explained that “those who consume curry” cause the biggest problems for landlords because of the smell and the fact that “it sticks to the carpet”.

“You have to get some chemical thing that takes the smell out. In extreme cases you have to replace the carpet,” he explained.

But yesterday, the landlord described the remarks in his email as “banter” – a claim that was rejected by the judge, Richard Polden.

He said: “I find that this policy clearly amounts to discrimination. I find that the policy is unlawful.”

Under the terms of the injunction issued, Wilson cannot apply a letting policy preventing Asian people renting his properties.

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    so is not paying the rent! damaging property,subletting!

  • Peter David

    Politics of envy, that's what landlord battering is all about, in the final analysis.

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    He still won't rent to them. He'll just use another reason. 'Hmmm, I'm dubious about their line of work, the move in date doesn't work for me, I'm looking for a longer tenancy' etc. That was a pretty pointless exercise if you ask me

  • Andrew McCausland

    No apologies, but I can't agree with the comments to date. What he does was both unlawful and disgraceful in a modern society. There is no way he should be allowed to continue with blatant racial discrimination. If the house smells of curry (or anything else; we have a problem with dogs particularly) at the end of the tenancy then there is an acceptable way to deal with this through the deposit deduction process.

    Mr Wilson has been in the press on numerous occasions in the past and maybe he is just courting controversy in his later years. I hope it is this, rather than a real belief that he should not rent to some groups because of their food preferences!

    As far as using other reasons not to rent to particular groups, his agents will be aware of the Discrimination Act and will not want to fall foul of this, irrespective of what Mr Wilson tells them to do. The press rightly have him and his agents in their sights on this issue. Ultimately it is the agents choice to keep his business or not. I am sure Mr Wilson is really a lovely chap, but there is some business our agency would not take on and some landlords who are toxic.

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    As a Sikh landlord myself, I'm pretty miffed about this. Yes curries smell, so do kippers, sea bream and infact most fish etc. so does this ban include folks who cooked that? Absolutely disgusted by this raciest behaviour.

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