Millionaire evicting ‘single pregnant women’
UK property tycoon Fergus Wilson had a portfolio worth $353 million at its peak - but now he's turfing out some of his most vulnerable tenants.
Mr Wilson has announced he will evict any single female renters who fall pregnant or have newborns - and he's blaming a new rule for his tough stance.
The 69-year-old, from Kent in England, has blamed his position on his local council.
According to the wealthy property owner, Ashford Borough council has introduced new rules which mean landlords could face hefty fines of up to $53,000 if they don't ensure broken-down boilers and heating systems are fixed "within four days" if a baby lives in the home.
However, a council spokesman told The Sun that fine would only be imposed as a "last resort".
"Formal enforcement action is very much a last resort, but we will take action where necessary," the spokesman said.
Mr Wilson still says the policy is "too strict" - but claims he's not a "bad guy".
"I just can't risk something going wrong and not being able to get a plumber there in time - have you ever tried to get a plumber, there's a national shortage," he told the Kentish Express newspaper this week.
And in a letter sent to Ashford Borough Council's cabinet member for housing Gerald White, Mr Wilson said the council had "brought this decision on itself".
"It is heartbreaking to terminate the contracts, but we cannot recruit staff and service the tenants," he wrote, according to The Sun.
"If there was a problem with hot water then we cannot get a gas safety engineer in under four days - the council requires the work be done 'immediately'.
"We know we will not be able to comply with that expectation so (I) have brought these tenancies to an end."
Mr Wilson has confirmed he has already kicked out four single mums with babies - although he pointed out he had given them all "two months' grace" to find a new home.
He said from now on, he'd only approve applications from women with children aged over five and that he wouldn't hesitate to evict any woman with a baby.
However, it's not the first time Mr Wilson has come under fire for discriminating against renters.
In 2017, he was slammed for banning "coloured tenants" from Asia as he claimed a "curry smell" was left in their homes once they moved out.
He was taken to court and banned from discriminating based on race in future - an offence which could land him in jail if he were to breach the ruling.
He has also previously tried to deny housing to victims of domestic violence, parents, plumbers, low income earners and people with beards and tattoos.
Mr Wilson and his wife Judith, both former maths teachers, own hundreds of properties in the Kent area.
When the couple's portfolio was at its peak, it was estimated to be worth a staggering $353 million and they were previously among the UK's largest buy-to-let investors.