One of the UK’s largest and arguably most controversial buy-to-let landlord who last year banned ‘coloured people’ from renting any of his properties because ‘they make them smell of curry’ has turned his attention to another innocent social group.
Having already barred battered wives and plumbers from occupying his homes, Fergus Wilson, who runs a property empire in Kent alongside his wife Judith, has caused further controversy by saying that he will evict single women who become pregnant and single mums with newborn babies.
Landlord Fergus Wilson, 69, insists that he is not a “bad guy” and blamed his decision on the “strict” enforcement rules imposed on landlords by Ashford Borough Council, which earlier this week announced plans to adopt new powers to crackdown on rogue landlords.
Wilson argues that the council’s new policy on landlords having to fix boilers within four days if the tenant is a single mum with a baby is “too restrictive”.
Landlords who miss targets face being fined if they do not abide by the ‘emergency maintenance policy’.
The landlord told the Kentish Express: “I just can’t risk something going wrong and not being able to get a plumber there in time – have you ever tried to get a plumber, there’s a national shortage.”
In a letter to Gerald White, Ashford Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing, Wilson wrote: “It is heartbreaking to terminate the contracts, but we cannot recruit staff and service the tenants. The landlord has proved to be a controversial figure (Picture: PA) ‘The council has brought this decision on itself.”
He added: “We know we will not be able to comply with that expectation so (I) have brought these tenancies to an end.”
Wilson, who owns hundreds of properties in Ashford and Maidstone in Kent, confirmed that he had already given four single mums with babies two months’ notice to vacate their homes.
Speaking earlier this month, Cllr Gerald White said he was delighted at the new enforcement powers, adding: “I’m supportive of the proposed implementation of the civil penalty policy to allow the council to consider imposing fines on landlords who fail to comply with housing law, as an alternative to prosecution.
“Implementing the policy will hopefully deter landlords from failing in their responsibilities in providing safe homes and ensuring that they comply with the relevant housing law.”
A spokesman for Ashford Borough Council said it only used enforcement action against landlords as a ‘last resort’.
He said: “We have duty to ensure decent standards for tenant who are renting privately.
“We always work with landlords to ensure those standards are met and try to assist them as much as possible.
“Formal enforcement action is very much a last resort, but we will take action where necessary.”