Opinion

Goodbye To The Bumsplat (maybe)

David Rutland
Written by David Rutland

Fergus Wilson is throwing his toys out of the pram, says he’s selling up (again). We’re not sure that we believe him.

Here at rent.works, we love Fergus Wilson. He provides us with entertainment, keeps the private rental sector in the headlines, and is the bellwether for a range of questionable legal and moral actions from which others can learn.

You already know the name, and presumably don’t need a list of heinous and discriminatory practices he employs and has tried to employ in his relentless pursuit of the bottom line.

But it appears that the 70 year old, along with his wife, Judith, are to quit the buy-to-let business for good. Hurray!

He’s carefully not blaming Brexit (but really is). Not because of exchange rate issues, nor the shortage of tenants from the continent. No, he’s blaming the shortage of cheap eastern European labour – without which his reported £170 million property empire would crumble to dust.

In a letter to property118, he wrote, “I have therefore taken the decision to stop letting properties in Ashford and Maidstone for the foreseeable future. Without East European staff I cannot operate!”

“Whether this is to do with Brexit or not need not concern me.”

Mr Wilson claims to have sold four houses in the last week – turfing the (eastern European) tenants onto the street. We would expect nothing less of him.

This is not the first time the Wilson’s have told media outlets that they have divested their entire property portfolio. In 2015, the Telegraph ran a lengthy piece in which the pair revealed they were about to offload their entire portfolio to wealthy foreign investors in protest at tax changes.

We don’t know whether the sale actually went ahead.

The Wilson’s are currently facing a minor tsunami of legal woes. Mrs Wilson was recently brought before magistrates after ignoring demands from Ashford council that she fix a tenant’s boiler. And a local service station called the police on Mr Wilson after he hurled his fish supper to the floor because it took 20 minutes to arrive. Ths is in addition to the usual run of property tribunals.

But the currents of legal trouble have been travelling in both directions.

Earlier this year, his attempt to sue youtuber, Danny Hyde, for calling him an “enormous bumsplat”, a “f***ing numpty”, and a “penis,” backfired when a judge at Yeovil Crown Court threw the case out, saying that it had “no basis in law.”

See, we told you that the Wilsons were entertaining.

The loss of three Romanian staff last week means that the Wilsons have only six full-time staff, where they had 14 in 2008.

That stands to reason, seeing as they were supposed to have dumped their portfolio in 2015. Why would they need any staff at all?

And there is the crux of the matter. The key question. Are they actually getting out of the market or nor not? Can pregnant, ethnically diverse, battered female electricians finally rent a property in the south east without being discriminated against? Or is this another fake out?

Is it a display of childish pique similar to the one which saw Harry Ramsden’s staff needing to get their mops out last month? Or are the Wilsons genuinely unable to find any reasonably priced tradesmen in the whole of Kent?

Right now, we don’t know. But we’ll keep the office popcorn maker on standby for the next time the Wilsons are in the news.  

 

About the author

David Rutland

David Rutland

With a decades long career as a professional writer, David Rutland has worked as a journalist on local, national, and international newspapers, before embarking as a career as a freelancer.

He has ghostwritten several books, as well as producing travel guides, manuals, humour articles, and more internet blogs than you can shake a stick at.

David maintains offices in East London, but spends most of his time in a shed near Liverpool, where he writes, as well as developing apps for Android.

What people say about him:

Arrogant and abrasive - Alan Davis, Editor in Chief North Wales News Group

An absolute liability - Matt Simms, Editor, Vale advertiser

Are you sure this won't get us all arrested? - Mohana Prabhakar, Editor in Chief, Apex News Group

Go and have a shave. You're all prickly - Mrs Donna Rutland.

2 Comments

  • I do not understand why you celebrate hundreds of tenants being made homeless, especially as neither the council or shelter will be be able to provide homes for any of them. If people like you stopped landlord bashing thousands of people would still have housing. It is a disgrace to encourage the reduction of the private rental sector as those thousand or so tenants will enter the hell of homelessness and there is no safety net.

    • “I do not understand why you celebrate hundreds of tenants being made homeless”

      Firstly, I don’t believe the Wilsons are actually going to sell up. I thought the article made that plain, but obviously, it was a bit too subtle. Would the /s tag help next time?

      If they do actually carry through, what I’m celebrating is the fact that the Wilsons are out of the buy to let game. The hundreds of tenants have tenuous tenancies under the Wilsons anyway – especially if they are single females, of Indian origin, plumbers, DSS, or disabled. The grounds on which the Wilsons evict their tenants are pretty random and change from day to day – not that they actually *need* reasons (S 21 y’all).

      The properties go back onto the market where, believe it or not, they will continue to be homes for people. They will not suddenly be converted to trendy wine bars. They will be bought either by people who actually want to live in them or people wanting to make money from them. It’s not a problem, James.

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