A buy-to-let tycoon who secretly banned “coloured” people from renting his homes has complained that he’s been called a racist online.
Fergus Wilson, a millionaire often described as “Britain’s biggest landlord”, issued the demand in a leaked email to letting agents Evolution.
One requirement for potential tenants said: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
Now Wilson, who, at one point, owned more than 1,000 properties, says he has received a barrage of abuse online.
The landlord posted several images on Facebook of him holding an Evolution sign – with the phrase “2% to let” — that had been doctored.
One reads: “I am a racist c***, 2% of people disagree with this statement.”
Another reads: “Racist, homophobic p****”. One more said: “2%, the percentage of people that don’t think I’m a tw***.”
Wilson said that he had notified the police.
A Kent Police spokesman confirmed: “Kent Police is aware of this issue and will be working to establish if any offences have taken place.”
When challenged on his ban, an unrepentant Wilson, who mostly owns properties in Kent, refused to apologise.
“To be honest, we’re getting overloaded with coloured people,” he told The Sun.
“It is a problem with certain types of coloured people — those who consume curry — it sticks to the carpet.
“You have to get some chemical thing that takes the smell out. In extreme cases you have to replace the carpet.”
He has since added that “my stance is that it is neither racist nor discrimination to refuse to take people from any ethnic background on the basis that there is a heightened risk of ‘injury’ to the house.”
“No insurance company will offer block insurance for carpets spoilt by curry but will do for carpets spoilt by leaks or other insured perils,” he said.
“Let me be perfectly honest on this point. In a predominantly white English area, almost all landlords will not let to Indian and Pakistani tenants because of the smell of curry.”
Roy Fever, manager at Evolution Properties, 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.”
A spokesperson for Hope Not Hate said: “You simply cannot treat people like this and deny them a place to live due to their skin colour.
“This is the unacceptable face of the housing crisis. There is something broken in the system when such a powerful figure can get away with such an appalling policy. Fergus Wilson’s comments would seem laughably offensive, a throwback to the Alf Garnett era, if they weren’t so serious in their implication.
“Mr Wilson should face the full legal implications of his actions. We’d encourage the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate further as a matter of urgency.”
In January, Wilson said he had banned single mums and victims of domestic abuse from renting his properties.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he said it was because their partners cause damage to the property.
“It costs us money and we basically have all the trouble of putting it back together again,” he said.
“You have the property empty for a couple of months if something like paint has been thrown around. If we don’t take battered wives, this doesn’t happen.”