A controversial clause in buy-to-let deals with Santander asking landlords to increase rents by “as much as can be reasonably achieved” looks to be in the process of being dropped.
Tenants’ action group Acorn yesterday claimed victory after organising protests tomorrow in eight towns and cities across the UK about the clause. Acorn said the action day will still go ahead.
Stuart Melvin of Acorn said that he had been told by Santander: “We have never invoked the clause and having reviewed the wording, we are in the process of removing it from our terms and conditions.”
Acorn’s demonstrations tomorrow are said to be still going ahead in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Hackney, Glasgow, Newcastle, Reading and Sheffield, between noon and 1pm. In the past, protesters have targeted letting agents’ offices.
The clause states:
a) …a reasonable time before any opportunity arises for a review of the rent payable under the lease, you will get written advice from a qualified valuer who is a member of the RICS whether the market rent at the date of the review is likely to be higher than the rent currently payable under the lease;
b) You will provide us with a copy of the valuer’s advice;
c) If the valuer advises that the market rent at the date of the review is likely to be higher than the current rent, you will promptly take all steps which it is open to you to take under the lease to ensure that the review takes place and leads to the maximum increase in the rent which can reasonably be achieved;
d) You will notify us promptly of the result of the review.