One of Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, Fergus Wilson, has listed his requirements of potential tenants. In a leaked email to one of his lettings agents, Evolution, Mr Wilson wrote: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
When Mr Wilson was challenged about the ban, he said that he was: “getting overloaded with coloured people”.
He explained: “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.”
Mr Wilson admitted instructing Evolution not to take “coloured” people.
The anti-racism group Hope Not Hate has called for prosecution, but police say he hasn’t committed a criminal offence. However, racial discrimination does breach civil law and Mr Wilson could be sued by tenants or rights’ groups.
Roy Fever of Evolution has made a statement saying that the agency does not condone Mr Wilson’s comments. He said: “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.”
Mr Wilson has a history of causing offence and in January he banned pet owners, single mothers, battered wives and low income families from renting his properties – as well as plumbers.
He has previously been quoted as saying: “We have said nothing against lesbians and homosexuals or coloureds. As long as they can pay the rent.”
Mr Wilson has refused to apologise for his comments and defended his actions, saying: “Like any business, we are consistently fine tuning.”
Mr Wilson is said to be selling his property portfolio, thought to be worth £250 million.