Britain’s biggest landlord, Fergus Wilson has banned “battered wives” from his properties claiming he does not want to risk ex-husbands or boyfriends returning to destroy his houses.
Perhaps Britain’s most notorious buy-to-let landlord, Wilson is no stranger to controversy. In 2014 he sent eviction notices to over 200 of his tenants, many from low income backgrounds, claiming that he was “sending battered wives back to their partners to be beaten up again”. He was also convicted in the same year for assaulting an estate agent over a broken boiler which he denied, claiming that he was “too fat to punch anybody or even tie his own shoelaces”.
Posted for residents of Ashford (Kent), the list of unacceptable tenants include:
- Zero hours workers
- Battered wives
- Tenants on housing benefits
- Tenants with children under 18
- Single parents
- People with pets
- Low income workers
Despite Mr and Mrs Wilson’s estimated wealth of £200 million, the couple are known for penny-pinching. In 2014 Fergus Wilson lost a court battle to charge a tenant £3,000 for a broken toilet lid even though the tenant had offered to replace it out of his own pocket. Judith Wilson is also believed to owe £3,000 in court costs after a failed attempt to sue a gas engineer for £5,000. The Wilsons had claimed that the engineer’s decision to issue an “At Risk” notice on gas equipment in one of their properties had made the house unrentable. Such considerations factored into Fergus’ decision to ban plumbers as tenants in his latest letting criteria since he believes they “rip him off” about repairs and “invent” problems with the properties which he says they bill him for.
Fergus Wilson’s ban of domestic abuse victims comes after the 69-year old’s unsuccessful bid to stand as an independent candidate for Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner last year which was blocked for incorrect submission of nomination papers. It was also expected that Wilson’s candidature would be deemed ineligible for a conviction of assault for which he was fined £500. Wilson, who planned to stand as an independent, intended to run on a platform of tackling domestic violence saying that he was particularly concerned by two domestic abuse cases involving Kent Police and would have used his £85,000 salary to fund a rapid-response team of four officers.
Commenting on the tenancy rules Fergus said the criteria are revised every year and are concerned with “financial fine tuning of the business” adding: “it is just economics… I live in the big bad world of reality, if I do not let properties and do not get the rent then I do not eat, I starve to death… it is the Government’s job to help poor people.”