Retail group the John Lewis Partnership, owner of Waitrose, has partnered with emerging property startup Canopy.
Canopy provides an app which allows users to build their credit history through regular rent payments, improving their access to more affordable financial products including mortgages.
The 85,500 staff members of 50 John Lewis shops, 353 Waitrose supermarkets, an online and catalogue business, a production unit and a farm will gain access to the app.
Tahir Farooqui, chief executive and founder of Canopy said: “Renting and letting is often a stressful and expensive business for all parties involved.
“We have created a world which benefits renters, landlords and agents all together; where you can find a property or a suitable renter easily, and make the move hassle-free, with greater financial stability.
“With house prices on the up, the property industry needs to make renting fairer and more affordable. We want to support all parties in having a voice and a choice regarding how they rent, so that it works for them financially. John Lewis Partnership shares this vision.”
All John Lewis Partnership partners currently renting a property, or renting in the future, will be entitled to benefit from the Canopy rent tracking product.
This will allow Canopy to automatically reconcile their rent payments and improve their credit history using open banking technology.
Renters can start adding rental payments to their credit history and improve credit score overtime. Canopy is working with Experian to encourage more lenders to take rental payments into account.
Canopy also offers an insurance based deposit free alternative to the traditional cash deposit, underwritten by HISCOX, freeing up funds which can be saved, invested, or spent on living necessities, such as furniture, whilst the landlord remains fully covered.
Stacey MacDougall, leisure benefits development manager, at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Our aim is to provide a relevant and valued range of benefits for our Partners. For a number of years, we have seen shelter, accommodation or housing as one of the most important gaps in our offer.
“The importance of good shelter has a critical impact on individuals, their wellbeing, their effectiveness and happiness at work. Having listened to feedback from our partners we made the decision to work with Canopy to help us bridge the gap in the shelter space.”
The average tenancy deposit in the UK is now £1,161 – an increase of 18.6% over five years. On top of this, tenants often have to pay a new deposit when moving before they get their old one back.
Canopy’s deposit free list is also available with other property partners Get Living London, Tipi, CBRE and a number of house share providers for those renting one room.
Renters create a ‘rent passport’ on the Canopy app where they build a trust score, and instantly verify everything from their income, creditworthiness, employment to their regular rent payments and past references.