Tycoon bans zero-hours workers and 'battered wives' from renting his properties
A controversial buy-to-let tycoon has defended his decision to ban zero-hours workers, single parents and "battered wives" from renting his properties as he revealed his latest letting criteria.
Fergus Wilson has also banned parents with children under 18, low-income workers, single adults and housing benefit recipients.
Mr Wilson, long regarded as Britain's biggest buy-to-let investor with hundreds of properties in Kent, said "like any business we are consistently fine-tuning to best advantage".
Defending his latest letting criteria, dated June 1, the landlord said: "I am merely taking economic steps to ensure that we do not end up with people who are unable to pay their rent."
Mr Wilson said single parents, "battered wives" and zero-hours workers tended to be on low incomes and unable to meet the financial criteria to obtain a rent guarantee.
He previously provoked a backlash by banning Indian and Pakistani people from renting his homes because he claimed they left the properties smelling of curry.
Although they were not included on his latest list, Mr Wilson said he would still not house them due to previous experiences of paying out to rid his homes of smells.
He insisted he is not racist, and that he has rented to "non-white" people, including Gurkhas. He said his stance is based on an economic judgment.
Mr Wilson said: "It is not the colour of their skin, but the smell of the curry."
Advocacy group Hope Not Hate has described Mr Wilson as "the unacceptable face of the housing crisis" and compared him to racist bigot Alf Garnett from BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission demanded a written assurance from Mr Wilson that he would not refuse to let a property based on race, colour, nationality or national origins.
Despite having to call in police following online abuse labelling him racist, the landlord remained unrepentant and insisted his motivation was to avoid financial risk.