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Fergus and Judith Wilson lose court appeal against Ashford Borough Council

By Aidan Barlow

A property mogul has been ordered to cough up thousands of pounds in compensation and court costs after leaving a pregnant mother and her young child without hot water and heating.

Fergus Wilson was served with an Environment Protection Notice by Ashford Borough Council in February last year after the tenants felt unable to resolve the problem.

The council’s private sector housing team served the notice after the family reported being in “desperation” with Mr Wilson, who hadn’t carried out the repairs despite there being a toddler and an expectant mother.

Buy-to-let millionaires Fergus and Judith Wilson
Buy-to-let millionaires Fergus and Judith Wilson

The council instead stepped in to carry out the repair works at the address in Dove Close in the Park Farm area of Ashford.

Mr Wilson’s wife Judith and daughter Tanya appealed against the notice, and the case was heard before Margate Magistrates’ Court on Monday, December 12.

Mrs Wilson told the court that they believed Ashford Borough Council had taken over the works to repair the heating and hot water.

The council argued that the Wilson’s were fully aware of the lack of hot water and heating, but repair work was unduly delayed, leaving the family without hot water and heating for over a month.

In court, the Wilson’s were ordered to pay the council’s legal fees of £3,135.49 and ordered to pay their former tenants £1,200 in compensation.

The council’s cabinet member for housing Cllr Paul Clokie said: “In cases such as this where a young family were without hot running water and the matter was not resolved, it was right that the council stepped in and took this matter further.

Ashford Borough Council cabinet member Paul Clokie.
Ashford Borough Council cabinet member Paul Clokie.

“It is a last resort to take landlords to court, mainly for the sake of resolving the needs of tenants and for keeping the goodwill between the council and the landlords.

“Sadly, no one wins from this situation, but at least the principle has been upheld and we are pleased that the court agreed with us, and that costs and compensation were awarded. I hope by publicising this case it will encourage other landlords to respond swiftly.”

Mr and Mrs Wilson have been contacted for comment.

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