By ACORN (@ACORN_tweets)
Back in November, ACORN put together a coalition of ourselves, Living Rent (Scotland) and London Renters Union for a nationwide day of action against NatWest. Our demand was simple: drop the discriminatory clause preventing landlords from renting to benefits claimants.
Our members occupied and picketed bank branches up and down the country, making national news in the process. NatWest of course asked us to stop the action, promising a review but we weren't born yesterday and the day of action went ahead.
NatWest offered to consult us as part of the review but later retracted, dragged it out and ignored our attempts at further dialogue. They were freezing us out. ACORN members voted for further action and within five minutes they were on the phone, begging us to call off it off. We made it clear that the only acceptable outcome was total removal of the policy or our actions would go ahead and be a significant escalation from before.
Today we had confirmation. NatWest will be "lifting all restrictions on landlords renting to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefits and extending the maximum length of time of assured shorthold tenancy from 12 months to 36 months, which allows landlords to offer tenants the security of longer tenancies."
This is a huge win for tenants and for benefit claimants, with the announcement that this will also apply to all UK branches within the RBS group (including NatWest, RBS, & Ulster Bank).
This is the third major bank that ACORN has taken on and forced to change policies in the last couple of years (TSB and Santander being the other two). We prove what can be done when ordinary people unite and take direct action.
Please help spread the word by clicking on the image below to share our victory video on Facebook.
If you've not yet become a paying member then now is the time. We are not just a union for tenants and this year will see us taking on more and more issues that affect low and moderate income people across the country.
5 March 2019