The next phase of the government’s Rent Recognition Challenge takes place this week, as six short-listed PropTech companies know which will win more funding for the next stage.
The initiative, launched in December with the first six winners announced in March, aims to encourage startups to use technology to help share renters' payment histories with lenders and credit reference agencies.
The first £600,000 of £2m allocated by government to the project was split equally between the six winners of round one (RentalStep, CreditLadder, Bud, Canopy, FirstHomecoach and Movem).
This week one or more companies out of those six will receive additional funding to further develop their proposals. The judging panel includes Paul Smee (director of mortgages, UK Finance), Charlotte Crosswell (chief executive, Innovate Finance) and Neil Munroe (chief executive, CRS Insights) among others.
One of the six participants, RentalStep, has issued a statement saying it is relishing the new phase of the competition.
"We're really looking forward to round two...and pitching our proposition once more to the Treasury," says Mike Georgeson, founder and chief executive of RentalStep.
"Ensuring that tenants' rental payment histories are recognised in their credit scores is hugely important and we're proud to be able to contribute towards this much-needed movement. As the country's housing balance shifts increasingly towards private renting, there is no reason why rental payments - which are frequently more costly - shouldn't carry the same weight as mortgage repayments," he adds.
The second round money will be used to support the creation of a wider home ownership tool which brings together all the available financial services for tenants onto one online platform.
RentalStep, which landlords can use to find the best tenants who are fully referenced and credit checked, says its team have been working hard to prepare for round two while continuing to help landlords save money and tenants boost their credit score with a TenantPassport.
The startup says it has used the initial investment to improve its platform, create an enhanced communication centre for users and test an Open Banking integration for tenants to be able to automatically verify their rent and income payments.