Wannabe Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced that, if elected next month, she will introduce measures to enable tenants within the private rented sector to record their rent with the UK’s credit reference agencies.

This will both help tenants get on the property ladder via improved credit profiles, but also help landlords and letting agents vet tenants more easily.

The idea is not a new one – a bill to achieve much the same thing was introduced into parliament in 2019, backed by now former education minister Justine Greening and Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue. The Private Members Bill ultimately failed to get through parliament.

For the system to work, tenants must enable Open Banking permissions via their current account provider, which then allows AI tech to ‘read’ their transaction history and record their payments.

This has put some tenants off, but it’s gaining traction and several providers including CreditLadder and Canopy already offer similar services, usually for a small monthly fee.

The three best-known credit reference agencies all of whom provide credit profiling data to lenders, now record rental payments if asked to do so.

Any policy would introduced by Truss would, most likely, involve compelling or incentivising these agencies (Equifax, Experience and TransUnion) to make rent recording the norm as it is for mortgage payments.

Landlord bonus

Such a scheme would be a major bonus for landlords. It would revolutionise tenant referencing, enabling landlords and letting agents to see, via a quick online check, if a prospective tenant has paid their rent on time in the past.

chris hutchinson canopy rent

“Rent makes up over 30% of the average renters outgoings and given that the majority pay their rent in full and on time each month, it’s unfair that this doesn’t get taken into account when they are looking to secure a mortgage,” says Chris Hutchinson, CEO of Canopy.

“Renters are currently able to take advantage of credit building services such as Canopy’s, that track their rental payments and inform the credit bureaus in order to build credit over time, however we are hugely in favour of this becoming policy so more renters can benefit.”

“Whether a renter is working towards homeownership, or just wants more from their time living in a rental property, a better credit score is an important place to start. The difference between a ‘fair’ an ‘excellent’ credit score can be worth over £40k over the lifespan of a mortgage.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Nice idea – full of flaws

    Who agrees with the Credit Agency what the correct rent is? – it’s great that Open Banking will show a tenant paying £50 every month as a regular rent payment – but not so great when the actual rent is £550 and they’re £500/month in arrears.

    Does the Landlord inform Equifax etc? – what about data protection, what about landlord time.

    What happens when rent goes up? – again, how does a Credit Agency know it’s gone up?

    Who notifies the Agency that a Tenancy has ended? – the tenant can simply say they moved out to stay with family, while staying put and not paying rent – who knows, who checks?

    We need a Tenant Pack where a Tenant can prove their suitability to rent – just as LLs have to provide Tenants with x,y,z to show the property is suitable to let.

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