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Fergus Wilson defends letting criteria policy

By Aidan Barlow

A property tycoon has defended his decision to exclude single mothers, battered wives, plumbers and low income earners from becoming his tenants.

Fergus Wilson, 69, was replying to a document that was posted online which revealed the latest “letting criteria” which he has issued to a letting agent.

In the document, which was issued at the end of December, Mr Wilson said: “Like any business, we are consistently fine tuning to best advantage.”

Fergus Wilson
Fergus Wilson

He set out 11 criteria 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.

Instead only those who are able to afford rent and can provide a rent guarantee are to be accepted for his properties in 2017.

Mr Wilson said: “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.

Fergus Wilson set out 11 points in his letting criteria for 2017
Fergus Wilson set out 11 points in his letting criteria for 2017

“The average salary in Ashford is £23,000, but with average rents of £1,000 per month 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.”

Property tycoon Fergus Wilson and wife Judith own hundreds of properties across Maidstone and Ashford
Property tycoon Fergus Wilson and wife Judith own hundreds of properties across Maidstone and Ashford

Mr Wilson runs his Kent property empire along with his wife Judith and said he is continuing to sell-off properties, but said 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.

Fergus Wilson set out 11 points in his letting criteria for 2017
Fergus Wilson set out 11 points in his letting criteria for 2017

As regard plumbers, he said that 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 were ripping him off.

He said: “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.”

Mr Wilson added that 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.

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