A Kent landlord who tried to ban “coloured” people from renting his houses has been told his policy is unlawful.
Fergus Wilson, who owns more than 1,000 properties in the county, reportedly emailed his lettings agency instructing them: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
Today at Maidstone Crown Court he said the email was a joke, however, had previously told The Sun in March it was a problem with “certain types of coloured people.”
He added: “To be honest, we’re getting overloaded with coloured people. You have to get some chemical thing that takes the smell out. In extreme cases you have to replace the carpet.”
‘A Problem with Certain Types of Coloured People’
Image Credit: DagMary / Pixabay
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched an investigation into the businessman earlier this year, culminating in the court case which granted an injunction today.
Speaking at the time the EHRC said the rules amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of race, breaching section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.
The Act, which lists a number of protected characteristics, aims to combat discrimination in areas including age, disability, race and sexual orientation.
The injunction does not necessarily mean anything will happen – as long as Mr Wilson complies – if not, this could be contempt of court and result in a fine.
Fighting Legal Action
Fighting against the injunction, Mr Wilson told the Guardian before the hearing he was not a racist.
“All the local people here agree with me,” he added. “It’s perfectly legal not to buy a house because you think it smells of curry.
“If you are in Luton or Bedford, maybe that won’t make a difference. But in Ashford and Maidstone, 99% of the population are not from India or Pakistan. The problem is that if you have a £250,000 mid-terrace house, the valuation drops by £50,000 if it smells of curry.”
— EHRC (@EHRC) November 8, 2017
Speaking after the case, the EHRC said they welcomed the court’s decision.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO, added: “Our homes are fundamental to our private lives and to who we are.
“Denial of a home on the grounds of race or colour is abhorrent conduct we do not accept in today’s society.”