A buy-to-let tycoon who banned Indian and Pakistani tenants from renting his homes “because of the curry smell” is facing legal action.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has applied for an injunction against Fergus Wilson.
In his latest letting criteria, the Kent landlord has also banned zero-hour workers, single parents and “battered wives”.
Mr Wilson has defended his lettings policy on economic grounds.
EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said it had applied for an injunction at Central London County Court.
She said: “We have asked the court if it agrees with us that Mr Wilson’s lettings policy contains unlawful criteria and, if so, to issue an injunction.”
Mr Wilson said: “Given that I have not had any Indian or Pakistani person apply for a house during the past five years, I am not sure what the EHRC seeks to achieve.”
Long regarded as Britain’s biggest buy-to-let investor, Mr Wilson has hundreds of properties in Kent.
As well as zero-hour workers, single parents and “battered wives”, he has also banned parents with children under 18 in his latest letting criteria.
The EHRC last month demanded a written assurance from Mr Wilson that he would not refuse to let a property based on race, colour, nationality or national origins.
It said it would now begin an investigation into his policy on women.
Despite having to call in police following online abuse, Mr Wilson has refused to back down and insisted his motivation was to avoid financial risk.
He said: “Like any business we are consistently fine-tuning to best advantage”.
He has insisted he is not racist and has rented to “non-white” people, including Gurkhas.
Mr Wilson said: “It is not the colour of their skin, but the smell of the curry.
“The EHRC appears to be saying that the purchaser then must let the house to someone who does cook curry.”
Advocacy group Hope Not Hate said: “Mr Wilson needs to join the 21st century.
“It’s almost as if he has taken a tick box to offend every vulnerable group in Britain.
“We hope these legal proceedings will help him rapidly re-focus his outdated views.”