Multi-millionaire landlord Fergus Wilson says scores of tenants face re-homing difficulties after Ashford Council’s actions precipitated his decision to sell off his huge portfolio.
It is currently applying to the High Court for a permanent injunction to end harassment that it claims has been ongoing since 2011.
The council has alleged the 72-year-old would send a huge number of letters and emails, and make phone calls and formal complaints against officers, councillors and legal representatives.
However, Wilson tells LandlordZONE: “They’re putting the boot in after I put someone’s nose out of joint. If they win, it will be a pyrrhic victory.”
He explains that the problem stemmed from enquiries he made to the council about housing a woman with Downs Syndrome from Romania who had joined her family in one of his properties.
“When I didn’t get a reply, I wrote to the Information Commissioner and then got a letter from the council complaining about me. Then when I referred to someone as a ‘Michelin Lady’ I was asked to apologise, but I wouldn’t as I didn’t think it was abusive.”
The court heard that council leader Gerry Clarkson reportedly received a large number of letters to his home address, one of which – amongst a large amount of profanity – told him to, “do all of the young people in Ashford a favour and commit suicide”.
Defending, Andrew Deakin argued that the communications the landlord sent out, “didn’t cross the threshold of what would be considered harassment”.
The outspoken landlord is unrepentant as he believes his tenants will lose out, whatever the outcome.
Last August, LandlordZONE reported that Wilson had decided to retire and sell off his hundreds of properties around Ashford and Maidstone, only leaving himself 10 houses.
“I’m leaving the market years earlier than I’d planned to,” he says. “I wanted to try and minimise the impact by selling my portfolio over a longer period but Ashford Council are now having to house people in shipping containers while they wait to be re-homed.”
A ruling is expected this evening.