9th December 2015
Buy-to-let magnates Fergus and Judith Wilson have sold their property portfolio made up of hundreds of Kent homes to a foreign consortium for more than £250m.
The Guardian reports that the controversial landlords began to build their empire in the mid-1990s as part of the buy-to-let boom, but they caused a national outcry in January 2014 when they sent eviction notices to 200 tenants on housing benefit, claiming that eastern European migrants were less likely to default on rent than single mothers on welfare.
In a statement to the Guardian, Fergus said: “We reached an agreement today with a consortium of buyers to sell our entire portfolio for a figure exceeding £250m. The consortium is foreign and not of any one specific nationality.”
He said prices for properties on his estates have been rising due to a lack of supply but that he had taken steps to ensure prices in Ashford, Maidstone and Folkestone would not be hit by the sale, nor would it disadvantage existing tenants.
Wilson’s statement on the sale refers to himself in both the first and third person. “He is sorry to be giving up but common sense must prevail. He is 67 years old and getting no younger.
“Buy to let became an obsession for Fergus Wilson. He is a self-confessed BTL junkie. Each day I must have my daily fix. I look up prices and say to myself what a lucky man I am.”
It continued: “Owning BTL became a hobby for Fergus Wilson that simply got out of control. He says BTL is the national hobby and is followed by millions.
“Whether you are a tenant or an owner occupier or indeed a BTL landlord you have an interest in the letting industry for letting industry is what it is.”
The news follows the Chancellor’s Budget announcement that he will cut back the tax relief available on buy-to-let properties from April 2017 and his Autumn Statement proposal to increase stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes by 3% from April 2016.