A buy to let landlord who could only remortgage a rented home if she evicted her tenant has started a petition protest calling for the government to outlaw lenders with a ‘no benefits’ policy.
NatWest told the landlord, Helen McAteer, that she could only increase her loan if she found another tenant, even though the woman in her 50s renting the flat had no arrears and had lived in the property for two years.
The bank – part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group – bans landlords letting to tenants on benefits and refused to increase the landlord’s borrowing while the tenant stays in the flat.
McAteer ignored the bank and remortgaged her flat with a more liberal lender happy to allow the tenant to stay.
Now, McAteer has organised an online petition demanding mortgage lenders stop forcing landlords to discriminate against tenants on benefits.
She says a housing charity survey in 2017 revealed 43% of landlords have loans banning them from letting to tenants on benefits.
“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 McAteer.
“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.”
So far, around 3,800 people have signed up to the petition protest – and if the tally hits 10,000, the government must give a written response.