Tag Archives: Building Society

Legal Advice – West Bromwich Building Society Class Action Advice, Landlord Action, Latest Articles, Legal, Property118 News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

As you will be aware, we are actively looking for a suitable course of action to oppose the planned increase in the interest rate charged on your mortgage by West Bromwich Building Society (WBBS).

I would like to set out our plan below as to how we intend to take this forward:-

  1. We need to establish the exact conditions and legal arguments WBBS is using to justify the increase. The first thing we are doing is writing a letter on behalf of everyone who has contacted us to ask WBBS this question.  In particular, whilst we have seen a sample offer letter which of course makes no reference to the ability to increase the interest rate in the manner they are proposing to do, we have seen their terms and conditions which does include this term (however vague it may be).  We need to understand the basis under which WBBS believes those terms are incorporated into the mortgage contract.
  2. We also need a complete set of documentation which would include any promotional material you may have from WBBS, the completed application form, the key features document, the mortgage offer letter and any other document you have received on the grant of the mortgage.  We would also like to know how many investment properties you owned at the time you took out your mortgage.  This may be helpful in countering any arguments regarding your status as a consumer or professional borrower. If you have not retained copies of all of this documentation please send us copies of everything you have.
  3. Once we have this response from WBBS and a full set of documentation, we will instruct a barrister to provide us with a legal opinion on the merits of pursuing a legal action against WBBS to prevent them from imposing this increase.  There are a number of legal remedies available and we will identify the most suitable ones to pursue.  We are also considering the merits of providing a template claim form and particulars of claim to allow you a cost effective way of bringing a claim against WBBS in the small claims court.
  4. At the same time, we will prepare a template letter for you to send to your solicitor who acted for you on the loan.  At the time you took out your loan, your solicitor would have had a duty to report a term as significant as the one WBBS is relying upon to you and you may have a negligence claim against them.  The letter will ask them to put their insurers on notice with regards to the potential claim.  We will also provide you with  a template complaint form to lodge your complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  5. Following receipt of the advice from the barrister we will start the appropriate action.

Obviously all of the above costs money.  Our budget for steps 1 – 4 above will be in the region of £15,000.  We will therefore be seeking a payment from you of £240 to cover steps 1 – 4.  Any excess funds received will be used to fund Step 5. If you have more than one loan from WBBS then this sum is payable per loan.

We will have a better idea of the cost of step 5 once we have received the barrister’s advice.  The cost to you will depend on how many people sign up – obviously the more there are, the less it will cost each of you. Legal Advice - West Bromwich Building Society Class Action

In order to move forward, please will you therefore do the following:-

  1. Send your documentation to (outlined in 2 above) to: West Bromwich Action Group, The Law Department, 7a Wellington Road, London NW10 5LJ
  2. Complete and return our instruction form (download here) together with copies of two pieces of identification for you.
  3. Pay the sum of £240 into our client account. Details as follows: Account Name: The Law Department Client Account,  Account Number: 06658997, Sort Code: 12 24 82. Alternatively, you may also send a cheque accompanying the papers referred to above. Cheques should be payable to The Law Department Client Account.

Upon receipt of all of the above, you will receive an acknowledgement from us and the template letters.  We will update the Property118 forum regularly with timelines as to when we expect to receive the advice from the barrister.

Regards

 

Justin Selig

The Law Department

7A Wellington Road London NW10 5LJ

The Law Department is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 441085).  The Principal is Justin Selig who is a solicitor regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

 


Tracker Mortgages Press Release Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

We are encouraging everybody who has registered for the Tracker Mortgage Class Action campaign to contact their local press with a copy of the Press Release below. Please copy/paste into an email, send it to your local Newspaper and follow up with a call to their financial editor.

Tracker Mortgages Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

Local landlords have been shocked by a bombshell letter received from lender West Bromwich Building Society which has doubled their mortgage payments almost overnight.

Buy-to-let borrowers with three properties or more have been targeted by West Brom to bail out their balance sheet by increasing their tracker mortgage rate – in direct contradiction to the terms of the mortgage offer signed by the landlords.

The building society has engaged a team of lawyers to scour the small print of a booklet issued with the original mortgage offer and is using a well-hidden clause to justify the increase, based on a rationale of “prudence and efficiency”.

Borrowers are furious as their tracker mortgages, promised to track at 0.99% above base rate have been increased by 2% with effect from the beginning of December. The rise will add between £200-£400 to the average monthly mortgage payments, inevitably forcing rent rises as leases are renewed.

As anger grows amongst the 6,700 affected borrowers, a legal campaign is already well in hand. Solicitor Justin Selig of The Law Department says, “I have had a look at the paperwork and there doesn’t seem to be any reference to the ability to increase the margin, so I don’t know how they think they can get away with it. This is definitely worth fighting.”

Mark Alexander of the Property118 landlords forum is co-ordinating the campaign and says, “Whether you are a client of West Brom, Bank of Ireland (which has also done the same) or indeed you have a tracker mortgage elsewhere you need to help fight this case. Your tracker mortgages may not be with West Brom or Bank of Ireland, however, that does not mean that you are safe. You may be OK today but what about next week, next month or next year?”

The Property118 forum is raising a fighting fund to take a Class Action Lawsuit to the courts. Currently nearly 700 people have committed. A template complaint letter to the building society and financial ombudsman is also available on the website.

 


West Bromwich Building Society Tracker Margins Legal Action Advice, Financial Advice, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Legal, Mortgage News, Property Investment News, Property News, Property118 News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

West Bromwich Tracker Rate Mortgages Legal Action Group

West Bromwich Building Society Tracker Margins Legal Action

Are you affected by the West Brom Tracker Rate Hike?

If your mortgage account number begins with the number 8 you are highly likely to be one of the unlucky 41% of the mortgage customers of the West Bromwich building Society with a West Bromwich Mortgage Company account affected by the 1.9% increase in your tracker margin rate. However, if you arranged your mortgage directly with West Bromwich Building Society (i.e. not via a broker) or before 2006 the chances are that your account number will begin with the number 9 and you are not affected – YET!!! West Brom will give no assurances that mortgages with account numbers beginning with the number 9 will not be affected at some point in the future.

OUR INTENDED CLASS ACTION LITIGATION OVERVIEW

Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates

The reasons we started this campaign are very simple:-

1) We believe the actions of West Brom are immoral

2) We believe the actions of West Brom are unlawful, i.e. they have no legal grounds to increase their tracker rate margins

3) We have no wish to subsidise other areas of the West Bromwich Building Society business model

4) We are fearful of other lenders following suit if West Brom are allowed to get away with this

Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law) said …

“Representative actions, where one person starts a case representing many others, who all want the answer to a legal question from a court such as ‘is this contract enforceable against me?’ but are not seeking damages. All those who sign up to the action will get the benefit of the win, but they do not have to start their own cases, as they are ‘represented’ by the lead claimant.

The only people who will definitely benefit from success in the case are those who have signed up. There will be no free rides. Any others will have to fight their own corners individually, either alone or with legal help (which will inevitably cost significantly more than the group case).”

We will NOT settle on any basis.

Landlords take legal action against West Brom Mortgage Company

We have a moral duty to do what is right for those who support the values upon which this campaign was started. Our promise to all who support these values is that we will not sell out on you at any price. We will continue to fight this injustice and we will fight any other lender who tries to follow suit.

Are you with us?

This discussion thread is now closed – we’re off to Court!

To link to the new discussion please CLICK HERE

West Bromwich Mortgage Company Tracker Margins Legal Action


Will Mortgage Express copy BoI and West Brom and raise their rates? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Is there a trend? First the Bank of Ireland raised their Tracker rates and now West Bromwich Building Society have followed suit, will Mortgage Express copy and raise their rates?

We borrowed a tidy sum from Mortgage Express and have been enjoying the “Product Variable Rate” of 1.75% above the Bank of England Base Rate. The rate seemed secure but West Bromwich Building Society’s recent move to increase their tracker rates worries me.

If West Bromwich BS get away with this, then will Mortgage Express have a punt as well? Their reputation these days is of doing all they possibly can, fair or foul, to get borrowers to re-mortgage to other banks.

I’ve looked back at my mortgage offers from Mortgage Express and it looks hopeful for us. The mortgages started as either discount or fixed rates and then reverted to the “Product Variable Rate”. The first one we took out in 2001 and then we renewed the deal with various extra drawdown loans and new discount rates etc. On first impression, the renewals all seem to refer back the original contract rather than start new ones. The key phrase in the original 2001 agreement was straight: “the interest rate will be 1.75% above base rate”. I trust it still stands.

Another Mortgage Express mortgage offer (2004) states “a variable rate of 6.5% (which is 1.75% above the Bank of England Base rate – currently 4.75%)” and later it states that the rate “will revert to the variable rate …. for the remainder of the term”. The separate “Conditions 2004” booklet did contain a section on Mortgage Express’s rights to change the interest rate but it started “If the interest rate is one which we can vary at our discretion …”. So again this looks good.

However, I hear from Property118 that West Bromwich have no clauses in their offer letters referring to their rights to increase their tracker margin. Also they didn’t refer to their special conditions booklet (which presumably did have some text providing for when and how the tracker margin might be changed). Finally, they ignored the October 2004 mortgage regulations cut off date.

Property118 also reports that Bank of Ireland did keep to those 3 rules and they seem to be getting away with it. So, now West Bromwich have gone further than Bank of Ireland and we all wait to see if they’ll get away with it.

Mortgage Express would need to push the boundaries further still, I guess. I suppose they are first waiting on the outcome of the West Bromwich’s move. Will Mortgage Express copy BoI and West Brom and raise their rates

Are you worried as well?

EDITORS NOTE

Property118 is leading a Class Action group to fight back by taking a test case to Court if necessary to prove once and for all that amending the margin on a tracker rate mortgage is breach of contract. If you are worrying whether your mortgage lender will follow the lead of Bank of Ireland or West Brom please READ THIS and complete the form below to support this campaign.


ACT NOW to protect the margin on your YOUR tracker mortgage Advice, Buy to Let News, Cautionary Tales, Financial Advice, GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors, Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Legal, Press, Property Market News, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Help us to protect YOUR tracker marginsIf you have a tracker mortgage you may be forgiven for thinking that your mortgage payments will only change when the base rate changes. 

Just suppose you open your post one day to find that your mortgage lender has decided to increase the tracker margin by a couple of percent!

Sounds unimaginable doesn’t it?

Well it isn’t, and you could be next!

This shocking news was recently delivered to 6,700 customers of the West Bromwich Building Society. What’s more, this is not something new, 13,500 Bristol & West and Bank of Ireland Mortgages customers received exactly the same treatment in February 2013.

Outraged? Their customers certainly were!

Could you be next???

West Brom stand to make an extra 19 million pounds a year if they get away with this. How much will your mortgage lender stand to make when they decide to do the same thing? It’s a big incentive for them isn’t it, especially if they think they are unlikely to be challenged due to the inability of landlords to raise the required funds to put up a fight.

If a group of named landlords decides to fight this in Court the claims will typically be for the value of the increase over the remaining term of the mortgage. By way of example, if your mortgage increases by £150 a month and you have 18 years to run on your mortgage your claim for damages would be £32,400.

We need to raise awareness if we are to raise the money to fight the test case

There are 6,700 affected borrowers with West Bromwich Building Society and a further 13,300 affected by bank of Ireland already. However, that doesn’t mean raising the required level of funding will be an easy task to achieve. Many of these people will never get to hear about this campaign and that’s where you come in. You may or may not be affected today but what about next week, next month or next year? To discourage your lender to follow the lead of WBBS and BoI and increasing your tracker margins we need to convince them they will have a fight on their hands if they do! Knowledge of our intentions will also act as a deterrent to other mortgage lenders due to the huge commercial risks associated with the potential for thousands of compensation claims running into hundreds of millions.

YOU can make a difference

Whether you are directly affected now or not, we urge you to help promote this campaign. The sooner we can raise enough interest, the sooner we can raise the money to commence litigation and stop this profiteering in its tracks. Please talk to your friends about this campaign and ask them to sign up. Please email a link to this discussion, share it on your Facebook, Tweet it, blog about it, post links on forums – SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

Your wealth is at risk if you choose to ignore this message!

Please get involved and support this campaign by completing the form below.


Property Forum and News website where UK landlords and letting agents share best practice