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MPs today debate whether rent should contribute to credit scores

MPs are today going to debate whether rent payments should be included when calculating credit scores to support tenants wanting to buy a home of their own.

At present, credit rating agencies do not routinely include rent payment history when calculating credit scores. This means a tenant can find it difficult to access a mortgage, even if they have a long history of rent being paid in full and on time.

This follows the success of an online petition, signed by 147,307 people, saying: "paying rent on time [should] be recognised as evidence that mortgage repayments can be met".

The idea already has the backing of the Residential Landlords Association; it surveyed almost 3,000 landlords carried out by the association with 61 per cent of respondents supporting such a move.

Including rent payment would also support landlords, the RLA says, providing them with a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history.

Some lettings agencies have already participated in an experiment conducted by global information services company Experian; its Rental Exchange helps private tenants strengthen their credit histories simply by Experian recording their rental payments. 

“What many people don’t realise is that you need a good credit rating to access mainstream financial services from bank accounts, credit cards, personal loans and mortgages, to mobile phone and utilities contracts. In the past, building a good credit rating has been easier for homeowners than for tenants, because mortgage payments are factored in” says Experian spokesman Mark Goodfellow.

  • Asa Bentley

    With the private rented sector doubling since 2004 and home ownership in England at a 30-year low (English Housing Survey, 2017) helping tenants on their path to homeownership is so important.

    At www.creditladder.co.uk our research shows that rent can account for up to 40% of income but counts for nothing in the eyes of lenders even though there is clear evidence that they are reliable payers. It should be a tenants right to have their biggest expense recorded on their credit file to help gain access to better rates for a more secure financial future. Today's debate in parliament is a major step forward.

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