Campaigns Welfare Reform and Homelessness

Natwest to review lending practices following concerns

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Natwest has announced that it plans to review its lending practices, following concerns that they prevent landlords from renting to tenants who are claiming for benefits.

Last week, we wrote to the Treasury Minister responsible for banking, John Glen MP, calling for urgent action to tackle discrimination against benefit claimants by buy-to-let mortgage providers.

We wrote to the Minister, following news that a landlord had her mortgage revoked because she is renting to a benefit claimant.

Helena McAleer, a landlord from Northern Ireland, contacted her bank, Natwest, after she discovered that the value of her property had increased and that there was a potential that she could release equity from the house.

Following discussions with the bank, she was told that she would no longer be able to receive her buy-to-let mortgage from Natwest as it was the bank’s policy not to allow rentals to benefit claimants. She started an online petition calling for measures to tackle such practices which clearly discriminate against benefit and Universal Credit claimants.

On Friday, Natwest announced that they plan to review its lending practices to address concerns that they prevent landlords renting to benefit claimants.

Commenting on today’s decision, RLA Policy Director David Smith said:

“With increasing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector for a home we welcome NatWest’s decision to review its lending practices.

“The RLA continues to urge the rest of the industry to do likewise so that private landlords are better supported to house vulnerable tenants.”

Research carried out by the RLA’s (RLA) mortgage consultants, 3mc, last year found that 66 per cent of lenders representing approximately 90% of the buy-to-let market do not allow properties to be rented out to those in receipt of housing benefit. This includes TSB, Virgin and the Natwest.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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