A buy-to-let tycoon facing a public backlash over his ban on “coloured” tenants has said: “I would do it again.”
Fergus Wilson has banned “coloured” people from renting his homes because he claims they leave them smelling of curry, costing him thousands of pounds after they leave.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has pledged to investigate the matter.
Mr Wilson who is one of the UK’s biggest buy-to-let landlords insisted he was “not racist” and said his move was an “economic decision”.
He said his stance was no different from his ban on letting his properties to smokers and dog owners.
The 69-year-old said: “There has been much support for the stance I have taken. I do not apologise for it. Faced with the same circumstances, I would do it again.”
His ban came to light in a leaked email listing Mr Wilson’s instructions to a letting agent for potential tenants, including: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
The landlord, who owns hundreds of properties in Kent and is thought to be Britain’s biggest buy-to-let investor, has also banned plumbers from renting his homes – claiming he had been ripped off in the past.
At the start of the year, he told agents not to rent to battered wives, single parents, low income and zero hours workers, or plumbers.
He said he was happy to rent to “negroes” as “they haven’t generated a curry smell at the end of the tenancy”.
But he said he was “wary” of letting to Indians after losing more than £12,000 in rent and re-carpeting costs over a six-month period because one of his properties smelled of curry.
He said: “If you want to sell your house to a market mainly composed of white British purchasers, then you considerably reduce your chances of selling by having a house that smells of curry.”
Defending the directive, Mr Wilson told The Sun: “To be honest, we’re getting overloaded with coloured people. It is a problem with certain types of coloured people — those who consume curry — it sticks to the carpet.
“You have to get some chemical thing that takes the smell out. In extreme cases you have to replace the carpet.”
Mr Wilson said the leaked email was from August last year, pre-dating his current letting criteria for 2017, drawn up last December.
Anti-racism group Hope Not Hate described Mr Wilson as “the unacceptable face of the housing crisis” and compared him to the racist bigot Alf Garnett from BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part.