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Fergus Wilson bans 'coloureds' in letting directive

By Ed McConnell

Britain's biggest buy-to-let landlord is facing legal action after banning 'coloureds' from renting his properties because they make them smell of curry.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says it will take action against Fergus Wilson, of Boughton Monchelsea, after the controversial tycoon stood by his policy.

He had already banned battered wives and single mothers from renting his properties.

Landlord Fergus Wilson
Landlord Fergus Wilson

In an email to letting agent Evolution Properties the 69-year-old, of Boughton Monchelsea, said: "No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy."

Mr Wilson, who at one point owned 1,000 homes in Maidstone and Ashford, added some of his houses needed to be cleaned with chemicals while in extreme cases carpets needed to be replaced due to the issue.

"As a country we all assume we have left the dark ages behind, but clearly there is more to be done." — Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "These are truly disgusting remarks as well as being unlawful instructions from a landlord to a letting agent.

"There are still deep inequalities in our society as our race report demonstrated and these comments show why.

"As a country we all assume we have left the dark ages behind, but clearly there is more to be done. We will investigate and will be asking Mr Wilson to explain his actions. Unless we are satisfied that he will not break the law in the future we will take legal action."

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau refusing to rent or let a property based on a prospective tenant's race is always unlawful and Mr Wilson's policy has already been chastised by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

But Mr Wilson insists the policy is not racist and if he had experienced similar issues with white tenants he would also ban them.

He added about a dozen 'coloured' tenants have left his properties smelling and he currently rents to one non-white family who will not be ejected.

Evolution, which manages hundreds of the former boxer's properties, condemned the policy and said it would never implement it.

Roy Fever, manager at Evolution, said: “We don’t condone this at all.

“We would never implement a policy like that. We put through anyone to the landlord and it is up to the landlord who they take on.”

In January Mr Wilson, who is worth £100million, issued a directive banning tenants with children under 18, single adults, battered wives, tenants without a rent guarantee, people on housing benefit, low income workers, zero hours workers, plumbers, smokers and pet owners.

At the time he said: “We have said nothing against lesbians and homosexuals or coloureds. As long as they can pay the rent."

In December 2014 he banned tenants who shared his surname after several cases of 'mistaken identity' led to council tax disputes.

Kent Police confirmed they are aware of this issue, and will be working to establish if any offences have taken place.

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