The UK’s largest private landlord, Fergus Wilson, is going to stop letting properties, and end tenancies. This comes as a result of an inability to guarantee that his portfolio of properties will be maintained and repaired to legally compliant standards this winter.
Wilson is thought to own about 400 properties across the country, and depends heavily on the skills of a European workforce to provide essential maintenance and repair services. Particularly during the winter, maintaining such a large portfolio of properties is no easy task.
Wilson said: “On 1st October, a Hungarian workman did not turn up for work. He telephoned to say he was on the ferry heading for Calais as he had been offered a job the previous night in Germany. So, he just upped and went.”
Two days ago, Wilson lost two more workers, from Romania. He said he has therefore made the decision to stop letting properties in Ashford, Maidstone and Kent for the foreseeable future.
Eastern European workers essential for operations to continue as normal
Without the workforce that is provided by the movement of, particularly Eastern European workers, to the UK, Wilson says he cannot operate. He has also commented that it is “virtually impossible” now for a tenant to find a property to rent in Maidstone.
Wilson continues, “If you cannot maintain houses to the correct standard and deliver heating services promptly in winter then there is little option for us 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 – and it just cannot go on.”
Whilst Wilson is reluctant to end tenancies for reliable tenants, such as those who have been living in his properties since 2005 and 2006, but he says he simply can no longer offer the services necessary to provide safe and legal rental properties.