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.