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10,000 social housing tenants to receive credit boost

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10,000 social housing tenants to receive credit boost

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance

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An ALMO is hoping to strengthen the credit histories of over 10,000 of its tenants.

Solihull Community Housing has signed up to share rental payment information with the Rental Exchange, a partnership between Experian and Big Issue Invest.

It is hoped the move will help tenants to gain access to more affordable credit and allow them to prove their identity easily and quickly online, easing, for example, access to current accounts and insurance.

As part of the deal, SCH, which manages around 10,500 properties on behalf of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, will undertake an education programme to help their tenants fully understand the positive impact the Rental Exchange could have on their lives.

An initial survey of their tenants revealed that a majority were already keen to have their rent payment history included in their credit reports to help strengthen their credit scores. This was particularly true for the younger generations (76% of 18 to 45-year-olds).

Chris Deery, SCH's head of ICT, said: “As well as often having to make do with the more expensive credit options, so many housing tenants currently struggle to access a range of basic services, such as opening a bank account or taking out insurance, simply because organisations cannot identify them electronically.

“The majority of our tenants pay their rent regularly and on time, and there is currently no recognition for paying this major commitment. We wanted to make sure our tenants were given the credit they deserve for fulfilling this commitment every month.”

Jonathan Westley, managing director of consumer information services at Experian UK & Ireland, added: “The social housing sector can make a real difference to tenants suffering from social and economic hardship by sharing information on their rent payments.

"The inclusion of rental information in future credit reports will significantly improve the level of insight available to help credit providers assess affordability and help social housing tenants more easily demonstrate their creditworthiness.”

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