Controversial landlord to quit the industry

His name is rarely out of the headlines, and rarely for good reason, but Britain’s most controversial private landlord has announced this week that he is throwing in the towel.

Kent-based Fergus Wilson, along with wife Judith, once owned one of the UK’s largest private portfolios, with some 1,000 properties located in and around the Maidstone area. He streamlined the portfolio in 2016, but still owns around 400 properties. However, he has now made the bold claim that he cannot continue to operate, thanks to a shortage of Eastern European workers.

He currently employs around 14 full time workers to maintain his properties, however he has reported that he has lost at short notice a number of valued employees. One employee was Hungarian, who has gone to work in Germany, and two Romanian colleagues followed his lead.

His workforce has dwindled to 1.6 full timers, meaning that he has been forced to sell four rental properties in just one week, forcing tenants who have been with him since 2005 out of their properties, as he is unable to maintain the properties to the correct standard.

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. 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.

Fergus Wilson (in an interview with letting Agent Today)

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