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Landlord Fergus Wilson appears at Maidstone County Court over his ban on 'coloureds'

By Kent Messenger reporter

A court has ruled a policy by controversial landlord Fergus Wilson banning 'coloureds' living in his homes because of the smell of curry is unlawful.

Maidstone County Court has been hearing the case, brought by the UK equality watchdog and an injunction has been issued.

Explaining his reasons for the ban, Mr Wilson said it was 'because 'of the cost of removing the smell of curry at the end of their tenancy.'

Fergus Wilson

Fergus Wilson

This emerged in a leaked email Mr Wilson sent to his lettings agent and came shortly after the ex-boxer hit the headlines for revealing he also did not rent to “battered wives, single parents and zero-hours workers."

The revelations prompted the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to begin legal proceedings, saying Mr Wilson's actions denied Indian and Pakistani people the chance to live in his homes.

The commission asked the court if the policy could contain unlawful criteria and if it did to consider an injunction.

Refusing to rent or let a property based on race is unlawful as it breaches section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.

Fergus Wilson's lettings criteria is being considered by a court.

Fergus Wilson's lettings criteria is being considered by a court.

Mr Wilson has previously said he was mystified by the injunction as the ban was not a matter of race. He said the last Asian customer to apply for one of his properties was in 2012.

He said: “I personally find Pakistani and Indian people, like Chinese people, to be extremely clever people and thrifty.

“That means a disproportionately high number of them own their own homes. Conversely, a disproportionately low number of them are tenants."

Mr Wilson denied he was a racist and insisted he was joking in his email to the letting agent. He had previously said the policy was put forward on economic rather than racial grounds, due to the costs of cleaning properties left with "curry smells".

But passing his verdict, circuit judge Richard Polden said: "I find that the policy is unlawful. Such a policy has no place in our society. This country has proud traditions which this court upholds of welcoming people from various ethnicities and origins.

An injunction was passed, banning him from applying criteria discriminating against "coloured" tenants or those of Indian or Pakistani backgrounds. It will remain in place for three years.

If Mr Wilson complies with the ruling, no further action will be taken. 

If the magnate were to persist with the policy, it may be considered contempt of court and he could be fined. 

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