Socialist Worker

Protests after bank stops benefit claimants renting

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2632

Outside NatWest in Stratford

Outside NatWest in Stratford (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Housing activists protested outside NatWest branches in seven cities last Saturday in response to the bank targeting housing benefit claimants.

NatWest and other banks have clauses in some buy?to?let mortgages that prohibit prospective landlords from taking on tenants on benefits.

Protesters were demanding that NatWest drop the clause.

The demonstrations were called in response to a woman being told by the bank she must evict a tenant who claimed housing benefit.

Some 30 people gathered outside the NatWest branch in Stratford, east London, as part of the London Renters’ Union mobilisation.

“NatWest’s policy puts people into vulnerable positions because it forces them to take whatever they can get,” protester Ali told Socialist Worker. “One of our members is on benefits. She was told last week that in order to be eligible to rent she would have to pay six month’s rent in advance.

“This isn’t just about bad landlords being mean—NatWest write it into the contracts so it’s systematic.”

Occupied

Protesters occupied the Newcastle and Manchester branches.

The bank announced it would review the contracts just before the protests.

There should be no limits to who has access to housing. And at the same time, activists need to fight for council housing and for all that is out of the control of private landlords.

Housing campaigners are gearing up for a conference in London on 8 December.

The Safe, Secure Homes for All event, organised by the Homes for All campaign, is a chance to discuss the fightback.
Go to Facebook event Safe, Secure Homes for All


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