I have stopped letting properties – Fergus Wilson

by Readers Question

9:32 AM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

I have stopped letting properties – Fergus Wilson

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I have stopped letting properties – Fergus Wilson

Like all employers in the South East I was heavily dependent on an East European workforce. On 1st October, 2018 at 7.30am a Hungarian workman did not turn up for work. He telephoned to say he was on the ferry heading for Calais as he had been offered a job the previous night in Germany. So he just up and went.

Yesterday I lost two more Romanian workmen reducing the number to 6 full time workmen compared to 14 in October 2008.

I have therefore taken the decision to stop letting properties in Ashford and Maidstone for the foreseeable future. Without East European staff I cannot operate!

It is virtually impossible for a tenant to find a property to let in Maidstone. I have sold four houses in the past week and those tenants, all East European, have lost their homes.

If you cannot maintain houses to the correct standard and deliver Heating Services promptly in winter then there is little option, but to cease to rent out properties.

I have tenants who have been with me since 2005 and 2006 and am loathed to end their tenancies, but simply can no longer offer the service necessary.

Whether this is to do with Brexit or not need not concern me. I have to deal with the present day situation. It just cannot go on.

Fergus



Comments

Larry Sweeney

10:13 AM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Completely understand Fergus, and the local authority waiting to pounce for the slighest issue.
Fergus can you email your pledge to us re £100 membership for our new Landlord organisation the National Landlords alliance. I assume you want to assist in the fightback. Info@landlordsalliance.co.uk

Ian Narbeth

10:24 AM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Hi Fergus
Having vilified you for being a landlord, I expect the Press will now vilify you for not being one.

JohnCaversham

15:59 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 16/10/2018 - 10:24
Brilliant comment Ian and very true..Fergus i sympathise...

Monty Bodkin

16:11 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

I don't get it.
Why don't you just employ local tradesmen as you must have done before the East Europeans arrived in numbers?

Red Hot

16:47 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Why employ Easter European workers.
Is it because they are cheap?

Luke P

17:05 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Red Hot at 16/10/2018 - 16:47
By cheap, do you mean at least minimum wage...

Neil Patterson

18:41 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Replies from Fergus:

"To answer the question of Monty Bodkin! I cannot find any British Tradesmen to hire!

To answer the question of Red Hot! No I pay the same rate to East Europeans as British Workmen!

I can now find neither East European nor British workmen!

My to Luke P. One of my East Europeans earnt over £75,000 last year!"

Monty Bodkin

20:12 PM, 16th October 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 16/10/2018 - 18:41Replies from Fergus:
"To answer the question of Monty Bodkin! I cannot find any British Tradesmen to hire!"

I have no problem finding them and some of my properties are close to yours.
(But it has taken decades of building up good relationships with quality local tradesmen.)
When you're as big as you are, it just isn't possible to micro manage to that level.

Paul Shears

1:37 AM, 17th October 2018
About a month ago

I have been trying to find someone to fix the collapsing wall and do some basic brick repair work for about 2.5 months now to no practical effect so far.
I have approached about 12 companies both large (International) and small and so far none of them can do the frankly low skilled job.
There is no single component of this task that cannot be taught in a week or less and there are about eight components.
This job can be done by two men.

Erect a scaffold tower on solid ground. (Ten minutes)
Drill some long holes in some wall ends and insert some structural pins. (One day maximum).
Remove some glass from a maximum of four window frames. (Two hours work if done slowly and carefully but actually taking a few minutes).
Take down about 3 metres of a brick column. (Half a day maximum)
Rebuild the brick column tying it in to existing wall in the process. (One day maximum)
Reinsert the four glass windows in the frames. (Two hours work if done slowly and carefully but actually taking a few minutes).
Repoint some brick work. (Three days maximum).
Guarantee the work for 20 years.

I press on with this task.

Meanwhile a landlord that I know has taken months to find a carpenter willing to ease a stuck wooden window.

Neil Patterson

8:11 AM, 17th October 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 16/10/2018 - 20:12
From Fergus:

"British Tradesmen grow old and retire.

East Europeans just up and go to Germany where the grass is perceived as greener than in our green and pleasant land.

You are right I do not have the time for micro management and my macro-management today has been taken up with exit strategy.

Very many businesses in the South East suffer from a drastic lack of an East European workforce. For whatever reason that is the reality."

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