Press and Journal

Bill bids to improve credit rating of tenants

A move to improve the credit rating of millions of people who rent houses will come a step nearer when a Bill is introduced in the House of Commons.

The Creditworthiness Bill has already been supported in the Lords after being drawn up by Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue magazine.

Conservative MP Justine Greening is taking the Bill forward in the Commons, with a second reading scheduled for October 26.

Lord Bird said Britain’s 14.8 million renters are being discriminated against when it comes to access to credit as rent payments are not recorded or recognised in the same way as mortgage payments.

This means some of the poorest are paying the most for credit services, insurance, white goods, utilities and mobile phones, he said.

Justine Greening supports the Bill in the Commons (David Mirzoeff/PA)

The Bill aims to change this by requiring credit service providers to take rental and council tax payment history data into account when assessing a borrower’s creditworthiness.

Ms Greening said the Bill has cross-party support.

She told the Press Association: “If you own your own home you build up your credit rating, but if you rent it doesn’t count. That is wrong.

“It is unfair access to credit for people renting.”

Lord Bird said: “With rising levels of indebtedness, there is an urgent need to democratise access to affordable credit.

“My Bill, now sponsored in the Commons by social mobility champion Justine Greening, is central to this work.

“Fulfilling our shared mission of equalising access to lower-cost credit will require tenants, landlords, social housing providers, credit ratings agencies and lenders marching in lockstep behind my Bill.

“I call on the Government to lead this charge by making time for Justine to lead the Bill through its remaining stages.”