RentalStep backs bill to use rental payments in credit scores

Michael Lloyd

April 17, 2018

PropTech startup, RentalStep has restated its support for Lord Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill and the movement towards mandatory inclusion of tenants’ rental payment histories in credit scores.

RentalStep,  which provides a solution to this problem, said that the day when all credit scores include rental payment histories can’t come soon enough.

Launched last year, the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill aims to make this measure a legal requirement. The bill, which was put forward by Big Issue founder Lord John Bird, is currently awaiting a third reading in the House of Lords, before being debated in the House of Commons.

Mike Georgeson, founder and chief executive of RentalStep, said: “We are delighted to see the cross-party and property industry support this movement and we relish the opportunity to continue working with the government to make this much-needed requirement a reality for all tenants.

“Making sure that all rent payments contribute towards credit scores should be considered a matter of urgency.”

He referenced to the latest English Housing Survey, published in January, which shows that private renting is now the largest housing tenure in London and accounts for 20% of all households in England (4.7 million).

Georgeson added: “With such a high proportion of the population privately renting, and therefore a phenomenal amount of money being spent on rent each month, it’s imperative that these payments are recorded and contribute towards something as crucial as a credit score.

“More people are choosing to rent for lifestyle reasons and for longer periods of time, meaning they’re likely to build up a history of payments which should provide a useful insight into their financial situation.

“Rent is often described as ‘dead money’ but if it contributes towards helping renters get a loan or mortgage in the future, it can become much more valuable.”

RentalStep is already working to provide a solution to this long-standing problem with its TenantPassport.

The PropTech innovation allows landlords and letting agents to verify tenants’ monthly rental payments. RentalStep has also partnered with Experian, meaning that as tenants pay rent on time over a prolonged period, their credit score will subsequently increase.

Georgeson said: “Our TenantPassport is free for renters and provides landlords and agents with comprehensive reference and credit reports of prospective tenants.”

The startup was recently named as one of six winners of the government’s Rent Recognition Challenge.

The challenge offers a £2m prize fund to tech firms developing solutions that allow tenants to share their rental payment histories with mortgage lenders and credit reference agencies.

Along with the five other winners – whittled down from 43 entrants – RentalStep has received £100,000 in funding to support the development of its product.

The next stage of the competition will see three or four of the winning startups receive further funding to enhance their offering and bring it to the attention of a wider market.

He said: “We’re delighted to be named as one of six winners of the Rent Recognition Challenge.

“It’s now time to further develop our platform while continuing to raise awareness of the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill and the importance of these issues for future generations.”

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