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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Shock as top landlord stops letting homes because East Europeans quit UK

Fergus Wilson, frequently labelled Britain’s biggest individual landlord, says he is stopping letting out properties because of a shortage of East European workers.

Wilson - who until 2016 used to own around 1,000 properties but now has a portfolio of some 400, mostly around the Maidstone area of Kent and all jointly owned with his wife Judith - employs a number of tradespeople to maintain his units.

When his portfolio was at its largest he employed the equivalent of 14 full time workers.

But at the start of this month he lost, at short notice, a valued Hungarian employee who had been offered work in Germany; earlier this week he lost two Romanians.

Now his workforce has reduced to the equivalent of 1.6 full timers.

“Without East European staff I cannot operate. If you cannot maintain houses to the correct standard and deliver Heating Services promptly in winter then there is little option but to cease to rent out properties” he has told Letting Agent Today.

As a result of the shortage, he has just sold four of his buy to let units in the past week “and those tenants, all East European, have lost their homes”.

He says he has tenants who have been with him since 2005 and 2006 and he doesn't want to end their tenancies but he says he simply cannot offer the quality of service necessary.

“Whether this is to do with Brexit or not need not concern me. I have to deal with the present day situation. It just cannot go on.”

Earlier this year Wilson, arguably the most controversial figure in the British lettings industry, was interviewed by Letting Agent Today.

You can see the interview here and here.

  • phil dillon

    Man is a complete Boris Johnson

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    400 properties... Surely there is enough margin in his business to employ a couple of full time good quality Gas Engineers ? How do British Gas and all the other large re-active maintenance companies with tens of thousands of customers manage to provide a service to their customers?

  • Barry X

    Fergus Wilson's an interesting character and I enjoy reading from time to time about his alleged antics and opinions. However, I take anything he says (or is reported to have said) with a bit pinch of salt... he's probably just playing games plus enjoying being in the news.

    If he's sold 4 properties, so what? That's only 1% of the roughly 400 he and his wife still own.

    Maybe he misses being a "bigger shot" with a reported 1,000 units or whatever, and fancies contributing to a market glitch so when it suits him he can buy a lot at temporarily distressed prices, and sees worries and he feels that jitters over Brexit are a well timed opportunity for him.... but if so he'll need some cash so might now well be looking to flog a few houses where the equity has grown over the years but rental margins are now being squeezed a bit too much for his taste.

    He's famous for maxed-out gearing so can probably turn several long-held properties into a couple of dozen with a helpful lender in his back pocket....

    All good fun, and time will tell.

    :-)

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    I don't have anything like the number of properties Fergus or many many other larger landlords have.
    ( I don't have any jealousy or malice towards them either )
    All in the PRS should stick together and focus against those who attack our sector.

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