The couple believed to be the owners of Britain’s largest buy to let portfolio have defended sending letting agents an 11-point list of people who should be banned from taking up tenancies of their properties.
Fergus and Judith Wilson - whose estimated 1,000 property portfolio, mostly located in Kent, has featured in many Letting Agent Today stories - are in the process of selling at least some of their apartments and houses, but say families and single parents pose a problem as it can take up to 13 months to get a possession order if he decides to dispose of the properties they occupy.
The 11-point list, published in some national newspapers, reads as follows:
Letting Criteria from January 1 2017
Like any business we are consistently fine-tuning to best advantage.
The following are not acceptable:-
1) Tenants with children under 18. A child over 18 can be a co-tenant.
2) Only tenants with a Rent Guarantee
3) No Single Mums or Single Fathers
4) No tenants on Housing Benefit
5) No low income workers
6) No single adults
7) No Zero hours workers
8) No Plumbers
9) No battered wives
10) No Smokers
11) No tenants with pets.
Both tenants names to go on the Tenancy! Take National Insurance numbers. Take car numbers. Take details of employment.
In the Daily Telegraph, Fergus Wilson is quoted defending the list by saying: “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 [sic]. 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.”