ANTI-RACISM campaigners called for the prosecution of a buy-to-let landlord yesterday who said he would not rent to “coloured people” because they made his properties smell of curry.
Multimillionaire housing tycoon Fergus Wilson, who owns hundreds of rental properties in Maidstone and Ashton in Kent, has previously refused to rent out homes to “battered wives and single mothers” and people receiving housing benefit.
In an email to letting agent Evolution Properties he wrote: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
A spokesman for anti-racist campaign group Hope Not Hate condemned the landlord’s racist policies.
He said: “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.
“Mr Wilson should face the full legal implications of his actions.”
Following the surfacing of the email the Equality and Human Rights Commission has pledged to investigate and ask Mr Wilson to explain his discriminatory policies.
Its chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath described Mr Wilson’s remarks as “truly disgusting” and added: “Unless we are satisfied that he will not commit unlawful acts in the future we will take legal action.”
But Mr Wilson insists the policy is not racist and said that if he had experienced similar issues with white tenants he would also ban them.
Letting agency Evolution, which manages hundreds of Mr Wilson’s properties, condemned the policy and said it would never implement it.
In January Mr Wilson, who is worth £100 million, issued a directive banning tenants with children under 18, single adults, victims of domestic abuse, tenants without a rent guarantee, people on housing benefit, low income workers, zero-hours workers, plumbers, smokers and pet owners.