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Helping social housing tenants gain access to more affordable credit PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Vicky McNab, Head of The Rental Exchange, Experian comments on the extension of the right-to-buy scheme.

“The extension of the right-to-buy scheme for Housing Association tenants in England which will be included in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday (27 May 2015) raises interesting points around the aspiration of social housing tenants to buy their own homes, but more importantly their ability to access the financial services and products that enable them to do so.

“Around 4.8 million people live in social housing in the UK and for many financial exclusion is a huge barrier to obtaining affordable credit, buying their own home and even accessing services such as monthly mobile phone contracts, utilities contracts and insurance products.  Indeed, our research among social housing tenants reveals that only 13 per cent would approach their bank or building society for a loan or credit card, while 38 per cent would approach family and friends for a loan first.

“This suggests that many believe mainstream credit is just not open to them. One way of addressing this issue is by including social housing tenants’ rental payment history in the Rental Exchange. The Rental Exchange is a partnership between Experian and Big Issue Invest designed to address the financial, digital and social exclusion challenges faced by social housing tenants. It provides lenders with another source of data and improves the level of information available to help them assess risk and affordability.

So the inclusion of this data in the Rental Exchange enables social housing tenants with good payment records to build a credit history, demonstrate their creditworthiness and help boost their credit scores in the same way that mortgage-holders currently do. Our own data shows that including this rental payment information improves the credit scores of 72 per cent of social housing tenants (3.45 million people) ultimately helping to open up access to more affordable credit.

“Given that 29 per cent of social housing tenants polled said they hoped to buy their own home in the future, a figure that increases to 55 per cent among 18-34 year olds, initiatives such as the Rental Exchange clearly have a significant role to play in helping people towards home ownership.”

(Source - Experian News Release)  

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