This is a question that sprung to mind while I was reading a recent Guardian article about English landlords Fergus and Judith Wilson. They are the owners of nearly 1,000 homes in the Kent area in the United Kingdom. The value of the landholding must be phenomenal although their actual worth will depend on how heavily their portfolio is leveraged. But you have to wonder at their need to continuously amass more and more houses.
It is not as if they are decent human beings They attracted some notoriety in January this year when they sent 200 eviction notices to tenants reliant on a benefit and instructed letting agencies that they would no longer accept tenants who would need a housing benefit. They said at the time they would give preference to East European immigrants to solo mums.
They have now changed their tune. As reported in the latest Guardian article:
But, in a bizarre twist, the Wilsons have begun evicting many of their eastern European tenants – because they are having too many children. “I have taken the decision to evict all families with more than two children and also three-generation households,” said Fergus Wilson in a statement sent to the Guardian.
“Most of our houses in Ashford go to childless couples. However, after a couple of months there are four, five, six children and I have to evict the family. The tenancy has been taken by deception. We have had a number of eastern European families slip in under the radar with four, five and six children. We have had no British tenants with three or more children for some weeks. They have been evicted as I took the decision to no longer take housing benefit cases. All those British tenants with three or more children have long gone.”
We asked Wilson how many families he has evicted on this basis. He said: “Eight to date, and at least four more to go.” He added that visiting grannies are also a problem. “Three-generation houses seem to be very popular with east European immigrants. When they move in the children, they move in grandma.”
Our society is in a bad way when a family’s expectation of secure housing is dependent on the whim of such uncaring bigots like the Wilsons.
Their particular form of humanity should be contrasted to that of former left wing Uruguayan President José Mujica. He stood down recently as president although he has been elected to the Uruguayan Senate. He was immensely popular because he was such a decent human being and was described as “the world’s ‘humblest’ president”. He lived an austere lifestyle and used to donate most of his $12,000 monthly salary to charity. He lived in a a farmhouse, flew economy class and drove an old Volkswagen Beetle.
We live in an interesting world where the Wilsons and José Mujica share the same basic genetic structure but can have such different levels of humanity. Hopefully José Mujica and his ilk can determine the future direction that humanity takes.