DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Housing

The Big Issue's Rental Exchange is already helping 1.2 million renters

Credit reference agency Experian’s Rental Exchange scheme, developed alongside Big Issue Invest, is levelling the playing field for renters. Now, Lord John Bird’s Creditworthiness Assessment Bill aims to force lenders to take notice

Creditworthiness Assessment bill #MakeRentCount

Rental payment data now appears on the credit reports of more than 1.2 million tenants from across the UK, thanks to an initiative inspired by Big Issue Invest.

Credit reference agency Experian developed the Rental Exchange alongside our social investment arm in 2010 in a bid to level the playing field for the UK’s 14.8 million renters. If a tenant kept up with the rental payments, that data was not recorded on their credit file, limiting their access to a mortgage or fair credit.

The Rental Exchange allows tenants to view their rental payments on Experian’s CreditExpert and statutory credit reports with more than 150 social housing providers, local authorities and letting agents reporting data in the initiative to date.

“We set out eight years ago with the aim of creating a fairer playing field for people accessing credit because we recognised that people in poverty were routinely penalised,” said John Montague, managing director, The Big Issue Group.

“The Rental Exchange has succeeded in making more inclusive data available to credit service providers, and it is this data which has the potential to reduce levels of financial and digital exclusion and improve the circumstances of some of the poorest in our society.”

The Rental Exchange has already enabled 79 per cent of tenants to see a noticeable improvement in their credit score after lenders took into account rental data. The proportion of tenants who can prove their identity online has increased from 39 to 84 per cent.

Clive Lawson, managing director of Experian Consumer Services, said: “Adding rental payment data to credit reports would help millions of people prove their identity so they can access online services and mainstream finance. We’re already working with a range of lenders who want to use rental data to improve their understanding of a person’s financial situation so they can make higher quality decisions.”

The Rental Exchange inspired Big Issue founder Lord John Bird to take the fight for fair credit a step further with his Creditworthiness Assessment Bill.

The peer’s proposed legislation is currently awaiting a second reading in the House of Commons after receiving cross-party support during its passage through the Lords. The next step for Lord Bird to make rent count is in a roundtable parliamentary meeting on November 1 with Economic Secretary John Glen MP and lenders.

Lord Bird said: “Currently a history of meeting rent payments is not routinely recognised in people’s credit scores and is not commonly taken into account in credit service providers’ affordability assessments.

“As rent payments are usually a tenant’s largest monthly outgoing, they are a significant indicator of a borrower’s creditworthiness. It is right that a history of successfully paying rent should be recorded, recognised and taken into account.”

The Creditworthiness Assessment Bill’s co-sponsor Justine Greening MP, who is calling for the bill to pass through the Commons, asked Theresa May if the bill would feature in Monday’s Budget during Prime Minister’s Questions today.

However, May refused to confirm if Phillip Hammond’s statement will touch upon the bill and said: “Of course, I can’t say what will be in the Budget next week but she will notice that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have heard the point that she has made”.

Image: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage
Privste renter Decoda Smith
RENTING

'All my stuff is ruined now': Renter speaks out after home flooded with faeces and sewage

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'
Grenfell memorial
Grenfell

Council charges Grenfell residents cleaning fee for memorial to victims: 'Who would think this was fair?'

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'
Labour leader Keir Starmer
General election 2024

Labour manifesto's 'vague' plans on homelessness unpicked: 'Next to nothing for those on the margins'

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice
Grenfell

Seven years after Grenfell Tower fire: Residents fear they'll die before seeing justice

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know