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West Brom borrowers set for court in fight over buy-to-let rate hike

A group of landlords suing the West Brom Building Society over a tracker rate hike have been given the go-ahead to take the case to trial.

At a case management hearing on Friday, the class action was told it could have a trial after November 17 and is now applying for a date.

In September 2013, West Brom told 6,700 of its buy-to-let tracker customers their rates will increase by 2 per cent on 1 December.

The borrowers all have mortgages with West Bromwich Mortgage Company, its now closed specialist lending arm, and own multiple properties.

The action has attracted more than 400 individuals who believe the decision breached their contractual rights. They have each paid £1,144 raising more than £500,000. owner Mark Alexander, who is leading the action, says the borrowers are confident and believe they have a “very strong” case.

A similar action has been launched by Bank of Ireland borrowers angry at a similar rate increase last year.

From May 2013 buy-to-let borrowers saw their rate jump from Bank of England base rate plus 1.75 per cent to base plus 4.49 per cent, while residential borrowers saw their rate rise from base plus 1.75 per cent to base plus 2.49 per cent, then to base plus 3.99 per cent.

But the case has struggled to raise funds and is currently on the “backburner” although borrowers hope to resurrect it soon. The FCA has rejected an appeal by the BoI borrowers to intervene.


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