Landlord News

Controversial Landlords Sell Their Empire

Em Morley - December 10, 2015

Arguably the most controversial buy-to-let landlords in the country, Fergus and Judith Wilson have sold off their property empire.

It is claimed that the couple sold 900 homes in Kent for £250m to individual and institutional foreign investors.

The deal has yet to complete, but means that they must repay around £80m in interest-only mortgages. Fergus Wilson states that the properties were sold at market value.

In a statement to The Guardian, Wilson says: “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 adds that prices for homes on his estates “have been rising due to the shortage of available properties on the market”, but he insists that he has “taken steps to ensure the property prices in Ashford, Maidstone and Folkestone are not adversely affected”1 and that the sale will make no difference to existing tenants.

The Wilsons sold 100 properties of their 1,000-home portfolio in June to Chinese and Indian investors for about £25m.

The couple, both ex-maths teachers, previously tried to sell their portfolio in 2008, but were not successful. During the last economic crash, falling house prices meant that they had to stay in the market to meet mortgage payments of around £350,000 per month.

Wilson, 67, claims that he would not be able to get these mortgage deals now: “You couldn’t do now what I did. It’s partly because they will not lend at the higher levels of before. If I was starting again, I’d be pushed to get a 75% loan as a landlord.”2 

The Wilsons began building up their empire in the mid-1990s, at some stages buying several properties a day.

They have long been controversial, with Wilson evicting all tenants on housing benefit last year, in favour of Eastern European tenants. He was also fined after being found guilty of assaulting an estate agent.

The couple will not completely leave the sector, saying they will keep ten properties.

1 http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/dec/09/fergus-wilson-sells-buy-to-let-property-empire-foreign-consortium-landlord

2 http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/sold-britains-most-controversial-buy-to-let-landlords-finally-sell-up/