Helena McAleer was told by NatWest that she would have to either evict her tenant on benefits or pay thousands of pounds in early repayment charges and find a new lender.
She has since started a petition calling for the government to stop mortgage providers from discriminating against welfare recipients, which Mortgage Solutions is supporting.
The campaign has already received more than 1,500 signatures and we are calling on our readers to also put their name to the petition.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has also backed the campaign.
Difficult to place
NatWest said McAleer breached her mortgage terms by hosting a tenant in receipt of benefits. Brokers have also said that placing these cases can be difficult.
McAleer told Mortgage Solutions: “I believe that when someone sees discrimination or something that is fundamentally wrong, and they have their ability to use their voice to call this out when others don’t, then they should use their voice – I only recently found mine.
“We are lucky to live in a world where determined individuals can make an impact on the world in ways that might not have been possible before.”
A NatWest spokeswoman said: “The bank has specific lending criteria and is not able to 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.”
‘FCA must investigate’
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is sending a letter to John Glen, the Treasury minister for banking, calling for change.
The trade association wants the government, as one of NatWest’s biggest shareholders in parent company RBS, to use influence to end discriminatory practices.
The Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England should investigate the extent of the problem and prepare plans to end it, as the practice breaches the Treating Customers Fairly principle, the RLA added.
Furthermore, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission should undertake a review of whether such practices breach equalities law, it added.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA said: “With growing numbers of benefit claimants now relying on the private rented sector, it is shameful that many lenders are preventing landlords renting property to some of the most vulnerable in society with little or no justification.
“The banks have had long enough to get their house in order. It is now time to take firm action to stop such unjust practices.”