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Housing campaigners target NatWest branch over BTL mortgage ‘discrimination’

Campaigners opposed to mortgage lenders allowing landlords to rent property to people claiming benefits tried to voice their discontent over the weekend by attempting to storm a Bristol branch of NatWest.

Activists from campaign group Acorn demonstrated outside the branch in Broadmead on Saturday. They handed out leaflets to customers and passers-by as part of an organised protest against what the group see as the ‘discriminatory’ terms and conditions in which it offers buy-to-let mortgages.

The protesters did attempt to enter the branch, but were denied access by security and the police.


There are growing calls for the government to tackle discrimination against benefit claimants after it emerged last month that NatWest told one landlord that she would either have to evict her tenant of two years, or take her mortgage business elsewhere, after a blanket ban by the bank on benefit claimants.

The bank’s own buy-to-let eligibility criteria notes: “We will not consider multiple tenancies, Homes of Multiple Occupancy, bedsits, DSS tenants or ‘Related Person’ tenancies.”

Research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) found two-thirds - 66% - of mortgage lenders representing 90% of the buy-to-let market refuse a loan where a tenant is claiming benefit.

The Work and Pensions Committee last week blasted lenders for adopting what it sees as “no DSS” policies.


But the CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland group, which owns the bank, justified the clause in a letter to MPs last week.

Ross McEwan wrote: “In line with a number of other lenders … our mortgage policy for landlords with smaller property portfolios … includes a restriction on letting to tenants in receipt of housing benefit.

“This reflects evidence that rental arrears are much greater in this segment of the market and we are satisfied that this restriction does not contravene equality legislation.”

But NatWest has confirmed that it is now reviewing its buy-to-let mortgage policies.

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  • James B

    Why shouldn’t the banks take such a stance it’s a risk factor they should be allowed to take those decisions
    If those protesters placed half as much energy into getting a job they wouldn’t need to rent from a landlord anyway

  • icon

    Simple, in every single case, the council Must pay their clients housing benefit straight to the landlord. Why do these thoughtless stupid councisl make it all so difficult. Other answer is for landlords to stop taking on universal credit persons?


    most council employees are lefties and believe property is theft

  • icon

    Councils also need to start classifying non payment of housing benefit to landlord as benefit fraud! I have never understood why this is not the case.

  • icon

    The bank is absolutely right and the protesters should vent their frustration elsewhere.

    Get rent money paid directly to the landlord in all instances and the issue will more than likely resolve itself.

    Why government and the protesters cant see this is beyond me

  • icon

    We know from past experiences that in 90% of cases where tenants are claiming benefits we are going to have problems getting the rent paid, then we have to go down the eviction route which will cost money and take months, i stick to my policy no DSS and no single mums, my properties, my choice of tenants, end of. leave benefit claimants to councils and housing association.

  • icon

    The Council or Government could GUARANTEE that Landlords be fully covered for all losses for providing HOMES for people they themselves CAN'T or WON'T help. Perhaps SHELTER could set up a fund to compensate out of pocket Landlords instead of encouraging rent dodgers to stay put and deny homes to tenants who would pay their way?

  • icon

    Shelter and Councils are of the same mine, which is clueless when it comes to Running a business which B2L is. Thoughtfully landlords proved good excellent accommodation, properties they work hard for using their own money and maybe with help of Lenders. The council's use Our money to pay their wages,provide their officers and all the half backed schemes they come up with, Our money even pays the benefits. This is the problem, their money they waste is not theirs in the first place.
    Shelter and Councils provide homes, end of,, private landlords dont take any person on benefits.

  • John Cart

    When will these half wit campaigners learn that the banks are working on legitimate business risk, and benefit tenants prove time and again that they are a bad risk when it comes to paying the benefit money for rent they receive to their landlord


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