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October 31

by Samantha Altman
Landlord protests against banks banning tenants on benefits

A buy to let landlord has launched a petition to protest against unfair conditions mortgage lenders impose.

Over 4,000 supporters have signed up to the online campaign triggered by NatWest Bank refusing to remortgage a flat rented to a tenant claiming benefits.

The lender ordered the landlord, Helena McAleer, from Belfast, to find an ‘alternative tenant’ if she wanted the cash.

The landlord refused and sourced the money from another lender prepared to accept tenants on benefits.

The incident frustrated McAleer as her tenant, a woman in her 50s, had lived in the flat for two years and always paid her rent on time.

McAleer says a 2017 survey by housing charity Shelter revealed 43 per cent of landlords are banned from renting to tenants on benefits because of conditions in their mortgage offers.

“Some banks refuse mortgages to buy to let landlords who let to welfare recipients. My bank instructed me to seek an alternative tenant if I wished to keep my mortgage because my tenant was a welfare recipient,” said McAleer.

“The government must close these loopholes, as they are a breach of basic human rights

“This isn’t only because landlords are discriminatory, many banks prohibit landlords from renting to reliable tenants just because of their circumstances. Welfare recipients are not second class citizens they deserve access to safe, secure, habitable, and affordable homes as is their human right.”

Broker Mortgages for Business reckons about 20 buy to let lenders have a similar policy to NatWest.

“The bank has specific lending criteria and cannot offer mortgages in certain circumstances, which are made clear on a customer’s terms and conditions. There are alternative providers who may be better suited for customers in these circumstances,” said a NatWest spokesman.

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