10:27 AM, 29th April 2016, About 7 years ago 67
Our legal team from Cotswold Barristers and Michael Ashcroft QC were superb at The Court of Appeal. Three judges sat on the panel to hear our case, two Lords Justices of Appeal and one Lady Justice, the most eminent being the Rt Hon Lord Justice Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division and third most senior Judge in the UK
For those who don’t know, with the backing of over 400 other landlords I took up a legal battle with the West Bromwich Mortgage Company.
The background to the case is that the mortgage lender provided me with a fixed rate mortgage which reverted after an initial fixed rate period to a tracker rate mortgage at bank base rate plus 1.99% to the term end. The loan term was 25 years.
In September 2013, along with thousands of other borrowers who had similar mortgages, I received a letter stating that my mortgage lender was varying my interest rate despite there being no change to the base rate. As if that wasn’t enough to make me furious, their letter carried a veiled threat, stating they had to increase the rate for their own commercial purposes, failing which they would have to consider calling in the loan. Note that my loan wasn’t and has never been in default.
Thankfully, enough other landlords were equally furious and we found each other via Property118. Without their financial support I would not have been able to mount a legal battle of this nature.
The rate rise only affected me to the tune of just over £100 a month but that wasn’t the point. It was about the principle.
Over £500,000 has been raised to fight this case!
We knew the West Brom would play dirty and do all they could to run up legal bills in the hope that we would drop our case. Before this move the Building Society was losing millions every year. This rate rise secured their solvency and returned their failing business back into a profitable position.
Needless to say, they underestimated our resolve.
We should have a verdict in a few weeks time, we are not sure exactly when.
Win or lose, I am incredibly proud that landlords were able to come together to show the world that big financial institutions must not assume that just because they have deeper pockets than their customers they are always in the right. Our group has achieved something that the landlord associations refused to entertain. We fought back!
Even if the Appeal Court Judges were to decide that technically the West Brom contract is how the West Brom lawyers perceive it, this case has shown the world the true colours of this building society. If the lender had made it clear to any of the affected borrowers that their contracts were intended to enable them to vary tracker mortgage margins, or to call in a 25 year loan with just 30 days notice without it being in default, I very much doubt that any borrower, or indeed broker, would have given them their business.
All who attended the Appeal today are as confident as I am that justice will prevail. The prior preparation and planning and the level of detail and the commitment to research undertaken by the team at Cotswold Barristers was admirably extensive and could not have been better presented by Michael Ashcroft QC.
We all felt the three Appeal Judges were able to see through the ludicrous excuses made by the mortgage lender and the unfairness of what they’ve done. It could of course simply be that the judges were “playing to the gallery” but their cutting remarks to the QC representing West Brom seemed very genuine to all in the room.
The Court room was packed!
We live in hope that landlords will continue to come together and fight injustice, whether that comes from mortgage lenders, government policy or elsewhere.
The landlords associations continually fail to represent landlords when it really counts, this case is just one example, there have been far too many others. It is down to all is to fight injustices, of which there are many, #tenanttax being the hot topic of late.
Please share this message with as many landlords as you know.
If we do win this case, we would like to think it will inspire other landlords to unite, raise funds and fight similar cases where we know we are in the right.
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16:10 PM, 8th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Brilliant, u r the Daddy!
In fact, all those involved are the Daddies.
Imbecile of a mortgage company completely taking the cheese.
I love it, let's hope the clause 24 court thing is victorious too.
17:13 PM, 8th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Thank goodness !!
Well done and congratulations to everyone involved in this action.
Legal team Landlords Mark Alexander and 101 or more others that contributed their time and energy to this monumental effort...
Hopefully that's the sound of champagne corks popping I can hear in celebration and not an armed lynch mob looking for the individual that dreamt up The Tenant Tax!!
Well done everyone and a huge THANK YOU
21:32 PM, 8th June 2016, About 7 years ago
it has been an incredible journey but an amazing result.. well done Mark and everyone in your team for finally ensuring that justice was done and that lenders will need to be very careful now about relying to any general small print which in practice contradicts the specific terms agreed.. Common sense rules eventually sometimes at least.. ..I remember an anecdote I heard once.. barrister in the court of appeal in an opening address begins.. " a contract is made when there is offer, acceptance, consideration and an intention to enter legal relations..." The judge stops her to say.." I think we can assume in a court of law that we know the principles of a basic contract... " she replies.. "I made that mistake once your honour.. I am not going to do it again !!".
Under let Landlord
8:56 AM, 10th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Sincere thanks to all who supported this action.
Apologies for not having read all comments but I would like to add some simple answers to a few questions raised.
1. Anyone witness Japanese base rates post their 90's crash. I stopped buying in 2004 remortgaged to trackers shortly after that.
2. I can only wonder what an Fbi officer might imagine was involved here. Is 9am too late for an early morning raid.
3 A very special thanks to Nicole Blackmore not my fav paper but she has been fab.If you want to know what's really going on search for Rebecca tv.
15:29 PM, 18th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Question for Mark Alexander, but first, well done. You've achieved what I thought was the impossible, but what is our next step with the West brom, they phoned me today saying they are willing to hand my house back to me. That is just not enough, They appointed a reciever to evict my tenant just before Christmas 2014 (a young couple with 4 children). It's a small village we all have to live in and when the news got round that I HAD EVICTED THEM, the empty house got trashed, it was empty for over a year before the receiver decided to rent it out, they had to spend nearly 10K to bring it back up to a rentable state, (which was added to my mortgage), where do I stand for compensation, I av lost nearly 2 years revenue on a empty property, they charged me for renovation beverage the property was in a bad state of repair for being stood empty. Would my ex tenant be able to claim for illegal eviction?, can you or one of our forum advise please
Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118
22:53 PM, 18th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Reply to the comment left by "john jones" at "18/06/2016 - 15:29":
Are you a paid up member of the West Brom action group?
Are you a member of Property118 Action Group?
Why were LPA receivers appointed?
23:08 PM, 18th June 2016, About 7 years ago
Reply to the comment left by "john jones" at "18/06/2016 - 15:29":
I cannot answer your questions, but I do think it raises some very important points as to what recompense borrowers can expect in relation to the knock on effects caused by the actions of West Brom BS. I would suggest that it may be worth employing the services of the barrister that dealt with this case (Cotswold Barristers), and pursuing West Brom for as much of the ensuing costs as possible. However, I suspect that you may have to establish that the results are as a direct result of the actions of West Brom's mortgage rate hike, not due to other financial factors, and that they would not have happened if West Brom had not put up their mortgage rate (e.g. was the mortgage affordable and not in arrears prior to their interest rate hike?).