A landlord who instructed a letting agency in an email not to accept ‘coloured people’ as tenants in his properties acted unlawfully.
An injunction has now been issued at Maidstone County Court at the request of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which brought its action against well known landlord Fergus Wilson.
The court ruled that his policy of banning Indian and Pakistani tenants was unlawful.
Refusing to let a property based on race breaches section 13 of the Equality Act 2010.
Circuit judge Richard Polden said: “I find that the policy is unlawful. Such a policy has no place in our society.
“This country has proud traditions which this court upholds of welcoming people from various ethnicities and origins.”
The injunction bans Wilson from applying criteria discriminating against “coloured” tenants or those of Indian or Pakistani backgrounds. It will remain in place for three years.
If Wilson complies, no further action will be taken, but if he does not, he could be in contempt of court.
However, Wilson told a local newspaper that he was “mystified by the injunction”. He denied he was racist and said he was joking in his email to the letting agent.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We welcome this outlawing by the court of Mr Wilson’s discriminatory letting policy.
“Our homes are fundamental to our private lives and to who we are. Denial of a home on the grounds of race or colour is abhorrent conduct we do not accept in today’s society.
“There are still deep inequalities in our country, as our race report earlier this year demonstrated, and sadly some of the causes of those inequalities were illustrated by Mr Wilson’s comments over the summer. However, today takes us one step closer to a more equal Britain.”
In March, it emerged that Wilson banned “coloured” people from being his tenants because he said they made his properties smell of curry.
He gave the order in an email to letting agents Evolution Properties, in Ashford, Kent.
His email listed Wilson’s requirements to tenants: “No coloured people because of the curry smell at the end of the tenancy.”
He also said he would not let to “battered wives, single parents and zero-hours workers”.
In comments to the Sun, Wilson claimed that curry “sticks to the carpet” which in extreme cases had to be replaced.
Roy Fever, manager at Evolution Properties, told EYE at the time: “We would never implement a policy like that.”
When the allegations first emerged, Hilsenrath condemned Wilson’s remarks as “truly disgusting as well as being unlawful instructions from a landlord to a letting agent”.
Last night, a spokesperson for the Commission told EYE: “Our advice would be for any agents that such actions have been proven to be unlawful, and if they are instructed to carry them out they should refuse and remind them of the outcome of this case.”