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.