Fergus Wilson, one of Britain’s most high-profile portfolio landlords who has been accused of discriminating against ethnic minorities in the past has told The Negotiator that he denies being racist.
After we wrote about an open letter Wilson wrote to Boris Johnson yesterday which called for landlord taxes to be reformed and first time buyers to be supported, Wilson contacted The Negotiator to rebuff assertions within our article that his infamous ‘smelly curry’ comments had been discriminatory.
“We take people as they walk through the door irrespective of colour or nationality,” says Wilson, who recently liquidated a significant proportion of his portfolio, which is said to be worth £250 million.
Wilson also says 10% of his remaining portfolio of properties is rented out to people with ethnic minority backgrounds.
He claims that ethnic minorities in and around Ashford where his remaining portfolio is now concentrated only make up 3% of the population, suggesting they are over-represented among his tenants.
Wilson and his wife Judith were featured in a Panorama documentary in March this year in which the couple claimed that the legal challenges to their tenant management policies, and the adverse publicity, had led them to sell up many of their homes.
Lack of homes
Fergus Wilson also says the most pressing problem in the area is not who is living in his properties, who rather the lack of homes being constructed.
“In Kent, and particularly in Ashford, there are new houses being erected and an extremely fast rate, but that does not keep place with the Demand for homes,” he says.
“For people without a roof over their heads I think that is a higher priority for them than Brexit.
“The only answer, the only answer, the only answer is to build more houses!”.
At the height of their property empire’s growth, which was based exclusively on purchasing new homes and then renting them out, the Wilsons owned 300 homes around Maidstone and Ashford.