Corporate accountability

Santander Stop Raising Rents

Multinational bank backs down to local campaigners” – Bristol Cable

In 2017 it emerged that Santander bank who made £2 billion profit in 2016 had been forcing up rents since 2011. Deep in their buy-to-let mortgage contracts was a hidden term forcing landlords to “get written advice from a qualified valuer” and “take all steps to ensure that [it] leads to the maximum increase in the rent which can reasonably be achieved”.

With tenants facing a triple burden of insecurity, poor standards and already high costs, Santander’s clause was making it harder for people to afford a home.

Along with our Scottish sibling organisation Living Rent, we organised demonstrations in eight cities across the UK demanding that Santander drop the clause. The threat of the protest worked and they scrapped the policy immediately.

TSB – Say yes to DSS

“TSB relents; an email is sent to Acorn indicating the bank will change its terms and conditions so that buy-to-let mortgage holders can rent to people on benefits.” – The Guardian

ACORN’s fourth birthday coincided with the ten year anniversary of the 2008 crash. While researching bank policies that hurt tenants we discovered that TSB had a clause in their buy-to-let mortgage contracts banning landlords from renting to housing benefit claimants, students or asylum seekers.

The majority of people on housing benefit who are under the age of 35 are single parents, and we’ve had members with children forced to move miles away from their support networks because they can’t find a landlord that will accept their payments.

This clause seemed particularly ironic to us given that in 2008 Lloyds-TSB received £21 billion of government funding.

In response we organised demonstrations across the country and delivered demands to TSB branches that they drop the policy and apply the change to all previous contracts.  

We’ve always said that taking action gets the goods and we’ve proved it once again because TSB have confirmed that they’re scrapping the clause banning landlords from renting to benefit claimants and students, and are reviewing the section on asylum seekers.