It was the Polish Jew Peter Rachman, born in Lwów in 1919, who caused the word “Rachmanism” to be entered into the OED as a synonym for the exploitation and intimidation of tenants. Rachman had a property empire of more than 100 mansion houses in Notting Hill, now a very affluent part of London. From Wiki;

In order to maximise his rental income from the properties in Notting Hill, he is said to have driven out the—mostly white—sitting tenants, who had statutory protection against high rent increases, and then filled the properties with recent immigrants from the West Indies. New tenants did not have the same protection under the law as had the previous ones, and so could be charged any amount Rachman wished. Most of the new tenants were West Indian immigrants who had no choice but to accept the high rents, as it was difficult for them to obtain housing in London at the time. Indeed, Rachman’s initial reputation, which he even promoted in the media, was as someone who could help to find and provide accommodation for immigrants.

Fifty to sixty years on and lets bring this right up to date with this article in the Independent:

…..Fergus Wilson, who said this week that he was kicking out 200 families on benefits from his properties to replace them with Eastern European migrants. Mr Wilson said coldly of his decision: “We’ve found [migrants] to be a good category of tenant who don’t default on their rent.”

Along with his wife Judith, Mr Wilson owns around 1,000 properties in Kent, giving him an estimated of fortune of around £240m, making them among the richest private landlords in Britain. It appears, however, their wealth has not made the couple any more inclined to give their hard-up tenants an easier ride.

In an interview that went viral, Mr Wilson told Channel 4: “I feel sorry for battered wives who have come to us because we’re very much consigning them to go back to their husbands to be beaten up again.” When asked if he had exercised any moral judgement over the eviction of impoverished tenants from his homes, he said: “The only judgement we exercise is a financial judgement”.

An Eastern European immigrant becomes infamous for kicking out British tenants from his flats in London and replacing them with immigrants from the West Indies. Fifty years on, a Brit becomes infamous for 15 minutes by kicking out British tenants from his properties and replacing them with immigrants from the Eastern Europe.

History repeats itself, or as Mark Twain said “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”.


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