Pay your rent on time – and boost your credit rating!

 

Do you always pay your rent on time? If so, your on-time payments could soon improve your credit rating in exactly the same way that homeowners benefit by keeping up their mortgage payments.

The Cindexreditworthiness Assessment Bill, which is now going through Parliament, will enshrine this in law. The Bill requires certain matters to be taken into account when assessing a borrower’s creditworthiness and once enacted – hopefully in 2019 – for the first time, credit providers will have to include your rental and council tax payment history when calculating your credit score. At the moment, timely rental payments aren’t necessarily reflected in people’s credit reports but – hopefully – this is all about to change. The Bill, which was put forward by Big Issue founder Lord Bird, has cross-party backing in the House of Commons and had its second reading in October.

And the change won’t only work in tenants’ favour – it will be good news for landlords too. The Residential Landlords Association says 61% of landlords support the move; it believes including rent payments in your credit rating in this way will also make it easier for landlords to make a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history. In turn that would make it more straightforward for people with a good credit record to find rental property quickly and easily.

This bill is long, long overdue. With rental and/or mortgage payments being the largest and arguably most important outgoing for UK households, it has always been unfair to tenants that they have been denied the ability to have their ‘rent worthiness’ to be taken into account.

Latest estimates show that around 5.4 million UK households rent, so once this legislation is enacted it stands to make a big difference to many people’s lives whether they wish to prove their credit worthiness to a prospective landlord, buy a new car or take out a bank loan. It will open up fairer access to more affordable credit to a wider pool of responsible borrowers and prevent people from falling into the high-cost-credit poverty trap.

Your Move’s Landlord Survey, which recently polled 1,071 landlords and tenants to learn more about their portfolios, behaviours and attitudes towards tenants, agents and the lettings market, shows that landlords vote trustworthiness as the most important quality in tenants. Just over a quarter (26%) of landlords’ surveyed rate tenants who pay on time as the most important consideration.

PlanetRent created by the Ringley Group will soon be making rent worthiness data available to support tenants and landlords alike.  PlanetRent is lettings automated – for landlords who want paperless deals, advertising, landlord websites, compliance sorted, protection from fines and the whole audit trail completely taken care of.  To find out more go to PlanetRent.co.uk

 

 

Honest profits of thousands of small businesses squeezed today…..

Today was the day that Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed plans to ban letting agents’ fees to tenants in England.  It is unclear what constitutes letting agents fees to tenants;

  • Is it the disbursement we pay to 3rd party referencing agents such as Agent Assured, Maras or Paragon?
  • Is it the fee that represents the cost we pay to get our tenancy agreements drafted or licenced use?
  • Surely it is not the Inventory Clerk’s charge?
  • And, what where the Agent has invested in staff training to provide these services in-house – are they now to be penalised?

Whilst the details of this important announcement are very unclear there is a promise that in Spring 2017 the DCLG will consult ahead of legislating.

For those Agents like us who have already invested in technology it may hurt less, our portal  planetrent.co.uk  enables us to

– take e-offers at the viewing, which

– nudges landlords to accept offers, and

– enables tenants to go home and do their referencing,

– takes payments by phone,

– sends out contracts for e-signing to landlords, tenants and guarantors,

– triggers authority to release keys, and

– a series of pre-move in checks

So whilst one can argue that if we are e-signing contracts and tenants are referencing at home arguably we have innovated to prepare, but how do we recover our 150,000 investment?

ARLA do not believe that these measures will tackle rogue landlords or agents who will continue to operate outside the law.

ARLA is extremely disappointed that this announcement has been made without a strong basis of evidence.  We are asking the Chancellor and the Housing Minister for a meeting at their earliest opportunity in order to ensure that they fully understand the damage that this will cause to housing standards and the impact on the cost of renting.  But we then come full circle to – how does the government expect agencies which represent a huge number of small businesses to recoup their capital investment costs.

So whilst the legislative burden and our admin continues to grow we don’t have the tax payer to pay for IRIS eye scanners or counterfeit passport training to help us become unpaid UK Border Force employees.  We cannot look to our landlord’s for help as despite buy-to-let properties being the best answer to the pensions crisis our landlord’s are being squeezed as ‘mortgage interest tax relief’ and ‘wear and tear’ allowances are phased out. So once again small business is hit whilst we drink coffee, search and bank with legalised tax evaders and our industry once again takes the brunt of successive governments’ inability to provide sufficient housing stock.