Fergus Wilson faces civil action for ‘no coloureds’ discriminatory policy

by Property 118

14:25 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Fergus Wilson faces civil action for ‘no coloureds’ discriminatory policy

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Fergus Wilson faces civil action for ‘no coloureds’ discriminatory policy

UK’s “largest” landlord is accused of racism and bigotry

The controversial Landlord, Fergus Wilson is likely to face civil charges under the Equality Act for racial discrimination.

Mr Wilson, who claims to be one of the largest UK property owning landlords, was reported to have instructed his letting agents not to rent to “coloured people” because of the cost of removing the smell of curry.

Defending himself Wilson told the Sun “To be honest, we’re getting overloaded with coloured people. 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.”

Hope Not Hate, the Anti-racism charity told the Independent “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.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has indicated it will take action against Wilson, who has also banned battered wives and single mothers from letting his homes.

At a time when Landlords themselves are facing their own discrimination in a hostile political environment the last thing needed is for such an unpleasant character to hit the national press giving a target against landlords for the public and politicians to rile against.



Comments

Adrian Jones

14:43 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Another wind up?

Cautious Landlord

18:26 PM, 29th March 2017
About 2 years ago

It is landlords like Fergus who have attracted all the wrong sort of attention to the PRS and buy to let over the last few years. He and others of his ilk are in no small part responsible for the unwelcome spotlight on our industry. He continues to unashamedly court controversy - if only he had really sold out the PRS would be a whole lot better placed for professional landlords and tenants alike.

Gary Dully

5:15 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

He should take a suitable deposit for replacement of his carpets for those tenants.

My wife likes a curry and I've told her that she could now face eviction if she gets it on the carpet.

So she threw it at my head instead and said she will report me to the local curry outlet so that I'm banned from eating there again.

You just can't win being a landlord at the moment.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:32 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Well apparently there is also discrimination going on now because of Right to Rent, with landlords too fearful that if they grant a tenancy to a black British person without a passport they may face 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Some foreign nationals have completely British accents, so passports are necessary if we don't want to risk going to prison. This is Government-caused discrimination, likely to impinge on the poorest members of society who don't need a passport usually as they don't go abroad on holiday. Presumably the Government will also be hauled through the courts for introducing this nonsense.

I'm not sure if I would prosecute Fergus Wilson. As a woman I have to listen to sexist shit on a daily basis and usually have to just not give it the oxygen of publicity, and it is so frequent that I can't get my knickers in a twist about it as it would be too exhausting. But maybe the people this is aimed at feel differently. How much we tolerate sexism, racism, homophobia and so on is very variable. He is his own enemy though sometimes.

Ah. I just remember I was advised years ago by a letting agent not to take Chinese people as tenants as apparently they would block up the sinks with the amount of oil they use. I ignored it and did take on Chinese tenants - and some did block up the sink! - but it was no biggy.

JohnCaversham

9:34 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Looks like he's consumed most of the curry himself!?

I do have some sympathy though, I've had to replace kitchen units and flooring due to heavy deposits of fat and odour, and found it ingrained into the carpets, then when the tenant vacates there's a deposit issue, so he's protecting his interest and trying to avoid the pitfalls, but agreed there are more diplomatic less controversial ways forward.

Anne Noon

9:41 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I had one set of tenants who complained about the disgusting state of the flat they had been living in for over a year ( white, by the way) and threatened to take me to the environmental health about the state of the flat - completely created by them. When the nastiest tenant had left I went back int of the flat and found that the filthy carpet was caused by deposits of curry, so I had to pay for cleaning. This was in the days of minimal deposits , after which I took a full month's rent up front.

So it isn't just "coloureds" that eat curry - if he can't take the heat, he should keep out of the kitchen!! Or just up his deposits to 6 weeks!!

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:06 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

The issue of discrimination in lettings would made a great study. If someone paid me, I'd do it. It's not just about 'race' though in the PRS; it's about 'types', whether they're on benefits and so on. I don't take on self-employed unless I can get a guarantor as I can't get an attachment of earnings on someone self-employed.

Similarly, I had an old Spanish friend who hated letting her holiday home to Spaniards because she said that they lied about how many people were coming, crammed in loads more and left her beautiful house a tip. She preferred British guests by far. And the restauraters at the coast were the same - saying that Spaniards came for the day, brought all their own food and drink and then just wanted to use their loos, while the British splashed out. These are business people making decisions based on their experience. The problem when we talk about 'race' or nationality is that everyone is scared of being accused of being a racist. It was this fear that led to the Rotherham scandal and others. It's so tricky, but we have to be brave enough to speak up. Not that I'm saying Fergus is brave - what he said will be offensive to many. But he may have done something good in a way, by highlighting the racism that is undoubtedly going on, but in a more clandestine way.

JohnCaversham

11:02 AM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "30/03/2017 - 10:06":

Agreed, like it or not we all use an element of prejudice when we source a tenant, be it nationality, race, background, income, wealth, age, (but usually a combination of all the above) it absolutely IS a form or prejudice but in its basic form its human nature to favour one group over another, ie on holiday you'll bond with other members of your own nationality as opposed to the Crouts 😉 - In business this relates to weeding out those you don't favour for those you do...otherwise we'd be letting to the first person who applied regardless.

Gromit

12:04 PM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Maynard" at "30/03/2017 - 11:02":

It really boils down to the basics of wanting a "good" tenant. Which generally means they'll reliably pay their rent on time/in full, respect the property, and not cause a nuisance to neighbours (I'm generalising here)

Unfortunately, certain types of tenants have common characteristics (be that on benefits, self-employed, etc) that frequently cause problems/issues on 1 or more of the above and some are based on our own experiences. We Landlord's tar everyone who has these characteristics with the same brush, even though some would be good Tenants.

Richard U

12:13 PM, 30th March 2017
About 2 years ago

We can take a personal or moral view on this, but the truth of the matter is, that it is illegal to select people based on protected characteristics - gender, sex religion, sexuality etc. It is not fortunately, for screening good tenants, illegal to select based on financial history, employment, rental history - wouldn't i be good if we as a landlord community shared more information about tenants and their renting history, damage caused, rent unpaid etc?

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