Kent

Fergus Wilson evicts four Ashford women for having new babies

Fergus Wilson said the fault lies with the local council
Image caption Fergus Wilson said the fault lies with the local council

A notorious Kent landlord who has evicted women with newborn babies is being investigated for discrimination.

Buy-to-let tycoon Fergus Wilson banned so-called "coloured" tenants previously due to "the curry smell" and tried to sue a vlogger who called him a racist.

He has now evicted four mothers in the Ashford borough.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it is "taking action against Mr Wilson in view of his clearly discriminatory practice."

Mr Wilson said he blames the local council's "strict rules" on how quickly boilers need to be fixed in homes with babies.

Mr Wilson claims the council specifies homes with children over the age of five must have necessary work carried out "as soon as possible", but for homes with babies work must commence "immediately".

He said: "What if you can't get a plumber? We cannot guarantee the service at the speed the local authority demands."

'Heart breaking'

A spokesperson for Ashford Borough Council said it initially works with landlords "informally" on a "case by case basis".

"We have a duty to ensure decent standards of housing for tenants who are renting privately. Priority will be given to addressing poor housing conditions that threaten the safety and wellbeing of occupiers."

The evicted tenants had been renting his homes for four years, and Mr Wilson said the decision was "heart breaking" but he did not accept it was discriminatory.

"I'm sorry for the situation, if they were in another borough it wouldn't be a problem. It's only specific to Ashford," he added.

Councillor for the Park Farm ward, Jim Wedgbury, said he was "disgusted" by Mr Wilson's comments and added "he is an outrageous landlord who treats his tenants appallingly".

The EHRC added: "We encourage anyone affected by Mr Wilson's practice to contact us."

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