Automated rental payment provider PayProp has joined the call for private rent payments to be counted towards tenants’ credit scores in a bid to increase their eligibility for mortgages.
Over much of last year, Letting Agent Today reported on various calls for rent records to add to tenants’ scores, and in November the House of Lords gave a second reading to the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill, moved by Big Issue founder Lord John Bird. The Bill, which moves into committee stage next month, is likely to become law this year.
Now PayProp says it’s time for credit agencies to routinely include tenants’ rent payment histories when calculating credit scores.
"Many tenants have been paying rent on time for years, if not decades. The fact that this does not carry the same weight as a mortgage payment is hard to believe,” says Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp in the UK.
"Thanks to the rapid growth of the private rental sector, more tenants are paying higher rents. Taking cognisance of rent payments would therefore make perfect sense, encouraging the next generation of property buyers."
Cobbold says the prospect of a better credit score will give tenants even more incentive to pay their rent on time each month, something which would benefit the cash flow of letting agents and landlords, and contribute towards reducing rental arrears.
In addition, agents and landlords referencing tenants would benefit from having a better idea of prospective renters’ payment history and financial situation.
Interest in the issue was ignited early last year when an online petition attracted over 140,000 signatures, forcing MPs to debate the issue in Parliament prior to Lord Bird’s Bill being drafted.
The campaign for adding rental payment history to credit scores was further bolstered by an announcement made in the Budget in November.
The government has put aside £2m for technology entrepreneurs to create a system allowing relevant data to be recorded and processed under an initiative called the Rent Recognition Challenge, which will fund six short-listed proposals.
"Recording and counting rent payments towards credit scores is a modern phenomenon and therefore it needs a modern solution," Cobbold adds.
"That's why this is a fantastic idea and one that shows the government is keen to embrace the PropTech revolution.”