I appreciate that our bank balance and credit card statements will tell us that we are still in single digits for the date of the new calendar year, but I am querying not the day of the week, but the year of the millennium. 2017? Or 1917 if one is a certain Mr Fergus Wilson. According to the New York Times, 2017 is, “The Year of the Renter” New York Times, Friday 6 January 2017. Not if the infamous Kent property magnate has any thing to do with it. Regular followers of our blog will note that we have had cause to mention this gentleman before in previous dispatches. The owner of in excess of 900 (yes, that is the correct figure), buy-to-let properties has a history of making statements bordering on the ridiculous, contentious and willfully bellicose and the the British media has a history of publishing them. According to the Medway Messenger and kentonline.co.uk, Fergus has introduced a set of rules for any potential tenants of his houses and this “letting criteria” is being introduced as a means of, “fine tuning” the business to “best advantage”.OK. Are you sitting comfortably children, shall we begin?
For Mr Wilson, the following (amongst others), are, “not acceptable”.
- Tenants with children under 18. What happens if the tenant gets pregnant?
- No single parents. What happens if a relationship breaks down or one partner is killed or is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has the temerity to die? Forget choosing the hymns for the funeral, you need to be finding a new house.
- No low income workers. How does one define ‘low income’. Does no income but a trust fund of £3 million exclude them?
- No single adults. So they may be earning a considerable amount, but because they are working hard at their job of heart surgeon, lawyer, professional poker player they have no time /interest in socialising/meeting potential spouses, so that rules them out?
- No battered wives. So battered husbands are alright? And when does a wife start being classified as battered? If she does get belted every Friday night (or any other day of the week) and leaves her husband taking their three year old with them, does he get kicked out as well for being a single father, even though the child is no longer there?
In his interview, Fergus says that he has, “nothing against lesbians, single mothers” and wait for it, “coloureds” kentonline.co.uk, Friday 6 January 2017 FFS, Fergus, it is 2017 in Kent, not 1957 in Alabama. Interestingly, Fergus does not state criteria re no renting to lesbians or homosexuals or “coloureds”, so why mention them in the same breath as single mothers with whom he must definitely does have an issue? Nor does he state that that has has anything against fat f£$kers. The photo accompanying the article possibly explains why…
Subsequent failure to meet any of the criteria would not give Fergus possession of the property under a Section 8 notice, so how exactly does he plan to manage his way out of any of the rules being flouted. Does he plan to visit the wife in A&E as she waits to have her arm reset whilst giving a statement to the police, to try and issue her with a Section 8?
Not much results in my being left dumbfounded, but I genuinely had to check the diary to confirm that it wasn’t April 1.
One last question; How the hell did he manage to acquire 900 properties?