Notorious buy-to-let landlord Fergus Wilson has been ordered to pay £125,000 to his council after abusing councillors for a decade.
Ashford Borough Council took legal action against the landlord last year, ultimately securing an injunction to stop him from contacting them in September 2021.
Now the High Court has ruled that Wilson must pay £125,000 by 4pm on May 17 as part payment “on account” while the full costs to the council are assessed, said to be an estimated £170,000.
The landlord intends to appeal against the ruling, telling Kent Online that the move is “motivated by spite”, and that they have taken a “sledgehammer to knock in a tin tack”.
However Darryl Allen QC hit back, saying that “they were perfectly proper proceedings designed and intended solely to protect the welfare of the First Claimant’s current and former officers, employees, councillors and agents.”
Last year’s case
At court the council handed over 454 pieces of correspondence between Wilson and council officers over four years.
In one letter, delivered to council leader Gerry Clarkson’s home address, Wilson called him “a buffoon, an a******”, a bag of ****” and told him to “do all the young people in Ashford a service and commit suicide”.
It seems the harassment was constant, as Adam Solomon QC, representing the council last year, told the court that members of the council have been receiving emails every day, leading to workers feeling bullied and distressed.
Fergus Wilson, along with his wife Judith Wilson, were once some of the UK’s biggest buy-to-let landlords, reportedly owning around 1,000 properties in the Ashford and Maidstone areas of Kent at their peak.
They have since been reportedly selling off their portfolio in order to retire.
Fergus Wilson has attracted controversy multiple times in his time as a high-profile landlord.
In 2014 he sent eviction notices to every tenant who received government-funded housing benefit.
In 2017 he hit headlines by refusing to rent to “coloured tenants”, saying the properties smelt of curry at the end of the tenancy. The Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled this as unlawful.
And in 2019 he was arrested after having an altercation with a council worker. He admitted calling the councillor a “petty little Hitler”, adding “words were exchanged – he alleged I punched him but there is no corroborative evidence”.