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Fergus Wilson: Hundreds face eviction as landlord sells assets empire

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Fergus Wilson, 70, says he’s retiring after a series of courtroom battles over his treatment of tenants.
He and his wife Judith own about 300 homes throughout Kent.
Their buy-to-permit empire has made them multimillionaires, but the Wilsons have emerge as notorious for their strict policies on who they may permit to stay in houses they very own.
In the past they have refused to take humans on 0-hours contracts, single dad and mom, and people on advantages.
Mr Wilson insists the owner is in price. “Basically, we’ve got got two varieties of tenants – folks who accept as true with me and ex-tenants.”
The multi-millionaire has spent the beyond few weeks filming with Panorama. He said he desired to give a landlord’s perspective on the UK’s housing marketplace.

He believes we need to construct greater housing. In England, extra than 10 million humans now live in personal rented lodging, however Mr Wilson says personal landlords can not cater for all.

“Not all of us on housing benefit is a problem, but every trouble is on housing benefit,” he says.
“The trouble is, they don’t receives a commission sufficient in benefits from Her Majesty’s government to pay the hire.
‘What you have to understand is that the non-public-region landlord does not have a responsibility of care. It is the local council who has the duty of care.”
Fergus and Judith Wilson bought their first buy-to-permit house in 1991. At one factor they owned nearly 1,000 properties. They say they have got provided houses for approximately 10,000 tenants through the years.

The couple say they hope to sell their properties to investors who will preserve the tenants, but they have got already issued ninety eviction notices – and more will follow.
Mr Wilson is unapologetic about his use of evictions.
“I can do what I like. You don’t need me to lie approximately it, do you?”
It is quite clean for a non-public landlord to evict a person. Most tenants are on six or 12-month contracts.

Once that agreement is up, a landlord can evict a tenant for no purpose with simply two months’ notice. It’s known as a no-fault, or phase 21, eviction.
Ellen, who is one of the Wilsons’ tenants, lives on a street wherein they very own all of the properties.
She doesn’t recognize whether or not she will be evicted or be capable of preserve her domestic.
“Our life relies upon on whether or not they sell or whether they live,” she says. “We have no say in it in any respect – no protection.”
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Some housing charities are very critical of quick-term tenancies and using section 21 evictions.
Shelter leader government Polly Neate stated: “Lots of landlords are tremendous. Fergus is an severe example, but he’s a certainly suitable instance of how smooth it’s miles to prevent human beings in non-public renting from being capable of placed down roots.
“The insecurity this creates – mainly for youngsters – it is extraordinarily damaging.”
Nationally, the common tenant remains in a property for four years.

Panorama found tenants who had obtained eviction notices from the Wilsons on estates in Folkestone and Maidstone.
In Ashford, Hannah, a teacher, were given hers in the run-as much as Christmas.
“I was devastated, truely devastated,” she stated. “You’ve were given hundreds of thousands inside the financial institution, and you’re evicting humans over Christmas? Not inspired.”
Last yr Mr Wilson became taken to court by means of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission after he informed a letting agent: “No colored human beings due to the curry scent at the quit of the tenancy.”

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