A landlord who sparked a racism row after refusing to rent properties to “coloured” tenants has given a video interview in which he appears completely unrepentant over his remarks.
The Sun reported yesterday how Fergus Wilson, one of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, had told letting agents that his properties must not be rented to “coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy”.
Wilson has since appeared in a video interview where he defended his position, saying: “The vast majority of people agree with the action I’ve taken.”
“I have said that I will not be taking Asian, and Pakistani and Indian people generally, where the nationality consumes a lot of curry,” he told the Press Association.
“And there’s been a reaction, with people saying it’s racist but from what I can see on the internet today, the vast majority of people agree with the action I’ve taken.
If they turn up and smell the curry, they're not going to want to buy the house Fergus Wilson
“What they have to understand is that in Ashford it is predominantly an English area.
“I appreciate you have such things as British Asians, but basically, unlike Luton and Bedford, and some other towns, you have to understand that if you want to sell your house and want to have as a possible marketplace, white people, if they turn up and smell the curry, they’re not going to want to buy the house.”
Watch the video, above.
And doubling-down on his order, Wilson yesterday said he had no problem renting to “negros”, The Sun reported. The paper said the Equalities and Human Rights Commission would launch an investigation into Wilson’s policies.
Wilson, who owns around £250m worth of property across Kent together with his wife, issued the written order to agents Evolution this week.
The 70-year-old property magnate had previously gained notoriety for issuing a list of criteria for those deemed ‘not acceptable’ to become tenants.
The list, sent to letting agents at the end of last year, said: “Like any business we are constantly fine tuning to best advantage.”
The list, pictured below, included “battered wives” among those who should be turned away.
Wilson’s latest order was slammed by the National Landlords Association, which told The Huffington Post UK on Tuesday: “No landlord should discriminate on the basis of someone’s ethnicity. Nothing more needs to be said.”
Evolution’s manager Roy Fever 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.”
Police cannot prosecute Wilson as he has not broken the law. Nonetheless, lawyers now believe he may have breached equalities legislation - leading him to be vulnerable to civil prosecution.
Wilson is said to be plotting a sale of his huge empire - undertaking a delicate process to prevent a market crash in Kent property prices.