The country’s biggest buy to let landlord is to raise rents by up to 33 per cent, and puts the blame firmly on Chancellor George Osborne.
Fergus Wilson, who with his wife owns some 900 units in Kent, has told The Guardian that when he last week let a three-bed home he increased its rent from £900 pcm to £1,200.
Most of the local demand, he says, is from migrants who are willing to pay higher rents than other local residents; now he is seeking similar increases in his other units.
“I will not be asking them to leave but will serve them with a Section 13 Notice to increase the rent so that they have the opportunity to move to another landlord should they wish” he told the newspaper.
“That is if they can find a house of the same quality and a price they can afford. By the time they have paid out fees, etc, some will take the view there is not much in it.”
But Fergus Wilson firmly holds Chancellor George Osborne as responsible for the steep rent rise he is imposing.
Wilson says landlords have no choice in response to budget tax changes sharply reducing the amount of top-end tax that can be offset against mortgage interest paid. “Many landlords are saying they simply will have to charge more rent” he says.
The Wilson have for years been making headlines, sometimes because of their alleged misdemeanours and sometimes because of business reasons - last year the couple were set to sell their portfolio, but claim that idea is now “on ice.”
Fergus Wilson has told the press that his homes are primarily occupied by migrants.
“In Maidstone, houses are let the moment a tenant moves out. New tenants move in the next day. The houses in Maidstone are filled with east European immigrants who are very necessary for the economy. I do have a concern for low-income Maidstone-born people who are being priced out of it” he says.
With what some may consider a sense of irony, he told the Guardian: “We have more and more legal immigrants but nowhere to house them. It has passed crisis point in Maidstone. We have a housing disaster on our hands. Gobbling up the countryside is hardly the answer, but where do the people go displaced by east Europeans?”