Rental history to show up on credit checks in victory for campaigners

House rental payment history now appears on the Experian credit reports of more than 1.2 million tenants from across the UK.

Previously, even if a tenant had paid rent on time for several years they could be refused a mortgage or another tenancy due to a credit score which didn’t take into account their rental history.

A petition which called for paying rent to be used as proof people could afford a mortgage gathered nearly 150,000 signatures last year.

Tenants can see their rental payments on Experian’s CreditExpert and statutory credit reports as part of the Rental Exchange initiative, developed in partnership with the Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue Group.

79% of tenants would have seen a noticeable improvement in their credit score when lenders take rental data into account.

Analysis also shows by adding rental data to credit reports, the proportion of tenants who can prove their identity online increases from 39% to 84%, broadening the range of financial services available to them.

Clive Lawson, Managing Director of Experian Consumer Services, said: ‘We’re proud Experian is the first credit reference agency to add rental payment data to credit reports, leading the way in helping people understand their financial health.

‘Tenants pay a significant amount of money each month for the roofs over their heads, so it’s right to recognise these regular payments in a similar way as mortgages.

‘Adding rental payment data to credit reports would help millions of people prove their identity so they can access online services and mainstream finance. We’re already working with a range of lenders who want to use rental data to improve their understanding of a person’s financial situation so they can make higher quality decisions.’

John Montague, managing director, The Big Issue Group, added: ‘We set out with the aim of creating a fairer playing field for people accessing credit because we recognised that people in poverty were routinely penalised.

‘The Rental Exchange has succeeded in making more inclusive data available to credit service providers, and it is this data which has the potential to reduce levels of financial and digital exclusion and improve the circumstances of some of the poorest in our society.’

More than 150 social housing providers, local authorities and letting agents are reporting data into the Rental Exchange. Experian also say they are working closely with the winners of the HM Treasury Rent Recognition Challenge, and other property startups within the private rented sector, to help tenants self-report their data.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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