Rent campaigners claim victory over Santander buy-to-let ‘rent rise clause’

SantanderHigh street banking giant Santander has confirmed that it will remove a clause in its buy-to-let mortgages which housing campaigners claimed previously forced landlords to get “the maximum increase in the rent”.

Following a petition signed by almost 1,000 renters, activists from Living Rent in Scotland and Acorn in England planned simultaneous demonstrations at Santander branches across eight cities this weekend over the legal clause.

Santander’s buy-to-let mortgage contracts contained a term that forces landlords to “get written advice from a qualified valuer” and “take all steps to ensure that leads to the maximum increase in the rent”.

The bank confirmed yesterday that the clause in question will now be removed from its mortgage contracts.

It said: “We have never invoked the clause and having reviewed the wording, we are in the process of removing it from our terms and conditions.”

According to Living Rent, private tenants in the UK already pay the highest rent in Europe. In the last decade, average rents have increased faster than wages.

Chair Liz Ely said: “Tenants across the UK are facing a triple burden of insecurity, poor standards and extortionate rents, Santander’s rent rise clause was making it harder for tenants to make ends meet. The news that Santander are cutting the clause is very welcome, and proves that when tenants come together we can win real improvements.

“This is a fantastic victory for the growing renters movement and will spur new tenants unions on in their fight for decent, secure, affordable homes for all.”

Celebration rallies will now go ahead instead with renters meeting at 12pm in Glasgow 84 Argyle St and at 15 Leith Walk in Edinburgh on Saturday 17 February.

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