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Controversial landlord to feature on BBC Panorama tonight

One of the UK’s largest and arguably most controversial buy-to-let landlords who has in the past banned ‘coloured people’ from renting any of his properties, along with battered wives, plumbers, single women who become pregnant and single mums with newborn babies, will appear on BBC Panorama ‘Britain's Most Controversial Landlord’ tonight.  

Tonight’s episode will focus on Fergus Wilson who is currently in the process of selling his entire portfolio of around 300 residential properties. The show will examine the impact of his decision on tenants.

Fergus and his wife Judith have hundreds of homes collectively worth about £250m, but they have been actively selling off their properties, centred in and around Kent, over the past couple of years, owed primarily to tax changes and more stringent mortgage lending conditions.


Wilson, aged 70, issued 90 eviction notices in January to tenants in his properties, giving them two months’ to move out.

Wilson, who together with his wife Judith, once owned a 1,000-strong property portfolio, said at the time: “I do feel sad for people who are going to be homeless, it will be hardest for parents with young children, because most landlords won’t accept them.

“I also feel sad selling the houses. We have built them up over the years but we can’t take them to the grave with us.

“We haven’t thought about what we will do with the money yet, I’m not going to buy a Rolls-Royce or anything like that.

“I could do that now - it is money down the drain.”

Panorama's ‘Britain's Most Controversial Landlord’ is airing tonight at 8.30pm on BBC One.

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Poll: Are you planning to watch Panorama's ‘Britain's Most Controversial Landlord’ tonight?


  •  G romit

    The clip shown on Biased Broadcasting Corporation Breakfast show demonstrated just how biased the BBC reporter is.

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    • 18 March 2019 09:39 AM

    Fergus never banned coloured people.
    He banned those who engaged in continuous noxious cooking.
    The fact that most of those engaging in such noxious cooking were coloured was ENTIRELY coincidental.
    I would ban white people doing the same thing.
    Noxious cooking can have very degrading effects on a property's internal fabric.
    He also excluded certain tenant types due to some silly council regulations.
    In almost every case there was a logic for his behaviour.
    Given the same circumstances I would have done as he did.
    Many LL do but DON'T make their selection policies known.
    When he sells up it is irrelevant he has to make tenants homeless.
    Every private tenant knows this could occur at anytime.
    You need to buy a property outright to avoud the risk of being homeless.
    Those with mortgages face being made homeless if they DON'T pay the mortgage!!
    The Wilsons were just extreme proponents of the the early BTL boom.
    When the CC.came they should have been bankrupted but because they owed so much to MX the lender could not afford to bankrupt them.
    Years later the Wilsons are selling up and MX will be receiving all it's money back.
    So very wise of MX not to bankrupt the Wilsons!!

  • Bill Wood

    "we can’t take them to the grave with us."
    Indeed you can't. But you can't take the money to the grave with you either. Well, maybe you can, but it wouldn't help much.
    If you have no heirs to inherit, then leaving the houses to a housing association may be worth considering. That way the good tenants that are left will continue to be good tenants after you are gone.


    They can liquidate and spend it! They’ve earned it and by spending it, won’t be ‘taking it with them’. Do you really believe landlords, indeed any other business person, is in it for charitable reasons? Maybe Tesco should allow all homeless people to take a weekly trolley of food away for free too, huh??

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    • 18 March 2019 09:57 AM

    Sod the tenants!!
    The Wilsons became LL to make PROFIT.

    Why should they leave their investment properties to some stupid HA!!??
    Now if they can sell for the same price with the tenant remaining rather than vacant any sensible LL would do so.
    But with a tenant in situ you are massively restricting the market you can sell into..
    SDLT surcharges and S24 etc are putiing of LL buying so naturally to achieve the best sale price the Wilsons are totally correctly booting out the tenants.
    I wonder how long it will take the Wilsons to get rid of their tenants if the tenants refuse to leave.
    I reckon an average of 10 months.
    During which time the tenants won't pay rent and will probably trash the place.
    It will not be easy for the Wilsons to sell up with the way the current eviction laws are 100% in favour of tenants.
    I do hope they have RGI and insurance for every property.
    What the Wilsons are doing is just the logical outcome of being a LL.
    I intend to do the same as them.
    Just I won't be making the millions that they will .I wish I was to be in their situation.
    Unfortunately I'm not😢
    I say good luck to them with their effective lottery win but achieved over 18 years.
    All LL would wish to be in their situation!!
    We will NEVER see their like again.
    But we will see large corporates doing the same thing but untroubled by such nuisances as S24; PRA regulations and SDLT surcharges

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    I also tend to agree with the Wilsons, single mums are more trouble than they are worth, constant curry eaters and the filth they leave behind are banned, those on benefits because we all know the problems we are going to have getting the rent paid, we operate a business in order to make a profit, leave these sorts to the local council, their problem, not mine.

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    I have a portfolio of over £12m and intend to sell up.when it suits with or without tenants, giving tenants 2 months notice if need be. Simple. Doon it before do it again. Wilson's are right. Never take curry eaters, pets Univ credit, single mums advance rentals, always excellent refs with proof. Only way.

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    • 18 March 2019 16:27 PM

    Unfortunately Govt seems to take a dim view of small private LL making business choices.
    I wonder whether the BTR merchants will be allowed to make relevant business decisions on who to take on as tenants!!
    It would be interesting to see Shelter take a case against one of these BTR corporates when they decline a HB tenant.
    For some bizarre reason a lot of organisations believe they can force private LL to take on tenants that the LL prefer not to.
    Why they think this should be the case bemuses me.
    It seems that there is an expectation that people can control how a LL deploys their their capital and how they utilise it.

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    Its all to do with Inheritance tax. Either he sells now and pays capital gains tax at 28% or dies and pays 40%.
    so it's the governments fault.

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    • 18 March 2019 21:45 PM

    So it seems that really the programme was aimed at the S21 process.
    Removing the S21 process will just result in more LL selling up.
    So how will that help tenants!?
    It is the ability to get rid of tenants which assists LL to let to tenants.
    S8 is useless which is why S21 is used.
    With S24 contiuing more LL will be selling up using S21.
    Barlow has already stated that he wants to get rid of LL.
    Fergus was just obliging him and is then pilloried for doing so!!!
    As a LL you just can't win!!!

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    It’s ridiculous they are using the Wilson’s to get rid of Section 21, just one LL to change the law for thousands of us that have been LL far longer than the Wilsons but we never really hit the big time because we changed moderate Rents for excellent property & were never ruthless.

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    • 19 March 2019 04:52 AM

    Charging moderate rents is foolish.
    You need to charge market rents that way you DON'T fall behind the market rent.
    Not increasing rents annually is a fool's paradise for tenants.
    When you are forced to charge market rents because of things like S24 the rent hike will come as a shock to the tenants.
    Charging market rents us what you should do
    That is not being ruthless just economic reality.

  • icon

    Rents increase with Rate increases, Service Charge increases, Maintenance Charge increases, very much the same as a general business, simple rules it's just a pity that it's not a known fact!
    Have we seen a Council Tax rise this year? A bank rate rise last couple of years? Insurance premium increase?


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