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Falling Behind With Rent Should Affect Tenants' Credit Rating, Landlords Urge

Not everyone will benefit.

17/08/2017 10:31 | Updated 17 August 2017

Falling behind with rent payments - even for just a few days - should affect tenants’ credit ratings, landlords have urged.

The Residential Landlords Association has said a study found 61 percent of its members would like to see rent included in the calculation of credit scores.

While the move would mean tenants with stable incomes who always pay precisely on time would benefit from a good credit score, it could penalise those in precarious work or on zero-hours contracts.

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
Landlords have urged rent payments to count against credit scores, but not all tenants will benefit

There has long been calls for years of rental payment history to be considered by credit rating agencies - with higher scores allowing stable tenants to access better financial products and more advantageous rates on mortgages.

Earlier this year, a Parliamentary petition secured more than 140,000 signatures in favour of the idea, prompting a reply from the government.

Responding in May, the government said: “Lenders must consider a range of factors when assessing a mortgage application.

“Meeting rental payments is not sufficient in itself to demonstrate affordability over the lifetime of the loan.”

A previous proposal suggested tenants pay money via a special website, which would monitor payments and directly affect credit scores.

The Residential Landlords Association surveyed 3,000 landlords for its study.

And while its chair Alan Ward said the idea would help tenants buy homes of their own, he acknowledged landlords could use the data to screen prospective renters.

He said: “Moving to such a scheme would help not just tenants, but also landlords by giving them a clearer sense of whether a prospective tenant has historically paid their rent in full and on time.”

Helen Saxon, chief product analyst at MoneySavingExpert.com told HuffPost UK: “For tenants who pay their rent on time, having this added to their credit record would be positive.

“However, there will be some people who have difficulties paying rent on time, and this could turn what may already be a bad financial situation worse.”

Generation Rent spokesperson Dan Wilson Craw told HuffPost: “While a lot of renters would welcome this and benefit from it, large numbers of tenants on zero-hours contracts or who are self-employed might be late with rent payments.

“They wouldn’t want this to affect their credit scores.”

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