A property tycoon has banned single mothers, battered wives, plumbers and low income earners from becoming tenants.
Fergus Wilson, a landlord, defended a document posted online which revealed the latest ‘letting criteria’ which he has issued to a letting agent.
The 69-year-old set out 11 stringent rules for those who will not be able to rent his properties, which also includes families with children, pet owners, smokers, single adults and workers on zero hours contracts.
He’s even banned plumbers from renting out his properties as he believes they overcharge him while carrying out simple repairs and adding extra jobs to the list.
Married couple: Mr Wilson (pictured with his wife Judith) set out 11 rules for those who will not be able to rent his properties in 2017 – including single women
Instead only those who are able to afford rent and can provide a rent guarantee are to be accepted for his properties in 2017.
Fergus runs his Kent property empire along with his wife Judith and said he is continuing to sell-off properties, but that families and single parents pose a problem as it can take up to 13 months to get a possession order if he decides to sell.
Last year he campaigned to become Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner and vowed to take on the bullies who batter their girlfriends, wives or partners.
But he said that typically the bullies cause damage to his properties by kicking down front doors, and also causing damage inside the homes, therefore he doesn’t wish to take on those who are victims of domestic violence.
Mr Wilson has sold off many of his properties in Kent, but said families and single parents pose a problem owing to the length of time to get a possession order when he decides to sell
List: This is the controversial document that lists what is not acceptable for Mr Wilson’s tenants
WHAT IS THE LAW? WHO CAN LANDLORDS ‘BAN’ AS TENANTS?
Private landlords cannot discriminate against tenants on several grounds, including:
Pregnancy and maternity
Race, religion or belief
Sex or sexual orientation
Landlords cannot refuse to carry out repairs based on any of these factors either.
This also means landlords should make ‘reasonable changes’ to a property to allow a disabled person to live there. That includes changing the tenancy agreement to allow pets if a blind person has a guide dog.
What is reasonable varies from case to case and may not apply if the landlord lives in the same property, but a landlord who refuses any changes could be breaking the law.
It is not illegal to refuse to rent a home to a benefit claimant, and many landlords opt to refuse on the basis that benefit is paid in arrears and rent is demanded upfront.
Mortgage lenders may also have conditions meaning houses cannot be rented to those on benefits.
Source: Citizens Advice Bureau
However, when it comes to plumbers, he does not want them to rent from him.
He claims this is because they regularly offer to carry out seemingly routine repairs before telling him that more work needs to be done, leading him to believe that they are ripping him off.
In the document, which was issued at the end of December last year, Fergus said: ‘Like any business, we are consistently fine tuning to best advantage..’
Landlord: Fergus Wilson defended a document posted online which revealed that tenants must not be ‘mums, plumbers of battered wives’
The multi-millionaire claimed he did not discriminate against minorities – as long as they pay the rent.
Fergus added: ‘We do a letting criteria every year, and like four out of five landlords we don’t accept those on low incomes and housing benefit.
‘The average salary in Ashford is £23,000, but with average rents and to provide a rent guarantee someone would need to be earning at least £30,000 a year for our properties.
‘The system is against single people, but most of my properties are family homes. We don’t have one-bedroom flats.’
‘We have said nothing against lesbians and homosexuals or coloureds. As long as they can pay the rent. We are in business to make money so we make a selection based on a sensible business plan.
‘If ever a person came in wearing pink socks and defaulted on rent, and it became a regular problem, then we would stop renting to people who wear pink socks.’
Fergus said he takes details of national insurance and employment to prove who is living in his properties to insurers and to prove that his tenants can afford to live there.
Meanwhile he also takes car registration details for council car parking permits and for flats with allotted spaces.
According to the law, there can be no discrimination by landlords based on disability, sex or sexual orientation, or race or religion