Fergus Wilson - the controversial buy to let landlord who with his wife once owned 1,000 homes - has named his ‘preferred buyer’ for the 400 that remain unsold.
Wilson’s legendary status as a controversial landlord continued earlier this year when he was reported to have issued a large number of Section 21 notices ahead of the sell-off of his properties, which are almost entirely in Kent.
The sale is taking place because of the Wilsons’ retirement from the sector.
Now, in a statement to Letting Agent Today, Fergus Wilson says: “There have been approaching 20 expressions of interest” and that until recently most of those had been from overseas buyers.
However, he adds that interest has recently been shown by Golding Homes, a Maidstone-based developer and housing association.
“Clearly I want the market price for my houses but I do prefer them not to end up in foreign hands … I shall be very sorry to see the houses go which my wife and I have built up over many years. I am not restricting my options but make it clear that a purchaser such as Golding Homes will keep the properties available to rent indefinitely whereas if the portfolio were sold to overseas buyers who knows whether [it] would be split up and sold on and current tenants evicted” says Wilson in his statement to LAT.
He says Golding Homes has confirmed to him that the current tenants would be protected.
“That is very important to me” he adds.
The sell-off appears to be the beginning of the final chapter for the Wilsons, who say they are retiring as landlords.
In the 1990s they started buying substantial numbers of largely new-build properties around the M20 area, then growing in prosperity thanks to the increase in cross-channel traffic, increased immigration and the then-new Channel Tunnel link.
Their portfolio has variously been reported at being 700 to 1,050 homes at peak, but is now believed to be around 400.
The couple, and in particular Fergus Wilson, have been the centre of large numbers of news stories in the industry and mainstream press concerning their relationship with letting agents, policies about tenants, and brushes with the law over behaviour and property conditions.