Campaigns Welfare Reform and Homelessness

NatWest changes due to RLA benefits campaign

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

High street lender NatWest has praised RLA lobbying in evidence to a government select committee on ‘No DSS’ advertisements.

NatWest recently changed its lending practises, scrapping restrictions preventing landlords with its buy-to-let mortgages renting homes to benefits claimants following pressure from the association.

The campaign began after research by RLA mortgage consultants 3mc showed two thirds of the largest buy-to-let mortgage lenders did not allow landlords to rent property to tenants receiving housing benefit.

The RLA wrote to the treasury asking it to take action and supported Helena McAleer, a landlord from Northern Ireland who had her mortgage revoked when it was discovered she was renting to a benefits tenant.

It has reminded members that landlords should not refuse to rent a home to someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis.

When questioned about NatWest’s change of lending policies, Lloyd Cochrane, the bank’s Head of Mortgages said that it made changes to its policies following input from the RLA. 

He said: “Together with the Residential Landlords Association, we have updated some information on our website, so we are comfortable that we are supporting our smaller landlords to understand the market while providing them with the ability to provide tenants into it. 

“We are writing to all our buy-to-let customers, to ensure that they understand that we have changed our policy, and that we would not seek to enforce any of the terms that were previously in place.”

Later he added: “I am really pleased that we have taken the decision to understand the market, get input from the Residential Landlords Association, get input from Shelter, and be able to provide that support to smaller landlords as well as larger landlords. We should have done that sooner, I think, but I am really pleased that we have done it now, and those restrictions are for all our customers.”

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has now published the full transcript of its oral evidence session on ‘No DSS’ adverts in the PRS which can be accessed here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

1 Comment

  • If banks are now accepting (or had pressure on them to accept?) there is no higher RISK to landlords letting to Benefits claimants, WHY do they believe there is a higher risk in providing a mortgage to a Landlord who will be renting the property out, at all? i.e. Surely there’s NO MORE RISK in that versus a Residential mortgage – so what about the RLA taking that on as its next campaign? Lower the Interest rate to that of residential mortgages?

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