So what is The Rental Exchange and how does it help tenants? Big Issue invest, partnered with Experian have created an initiative called The Rental Exchange as they have stated was brought about to tackle the financial, digital and social exclusion faced by social housing tenants.

According to them it has the potential to benefit 3.4 million tenants across the UK. We will explore how this benefits tenants, who else it helps and how to see if your housing provider is using this initiative.

The Big Rental Exchange, how does it benefit tenants?

Renting can be seen by many as not providing stability, due to being able to be evicted or tenancies not being renewed. Some people would say that renting is ‘spending dead money’. This comes from the idea that when renting, your money does not benefit you in the same way paying towards a mortgage does. This is because when you are paying a mortgage you are paying for something that you own whereas renting does not benefit you financially.

However, if this initiative was to come into effect then rent you pay each month would benefit you in terms of your credit rating. Your credit file will have your tenant payment history incorporated at no cost to the tenant or the housing provider. The Rental Exchange will benefit tenants as having this information on your credit file can make it easier to:

  • Open a new bank account
  • Get a credit card
  • Have a loan application approved
  • Shop online
  • Apply for a mortgage

Who else does this help?

This scheme doesn’t just benefit tenants by giving them online proof of identity and building credit history, it also benefits;

  • Housing Providers – This initiative can help housing providers (such as housing associations) as it can help to build long term, reliable relationships and tenancies.
  • Credit providers– Make accurate, fair and informed decisions when evaluating new and existing customers for credit purposes. It also allows you to offer services to help a wider group of individuals.
  • Private landlords/letting agents – It will help to encourage on-time rental payments, whilst offering tenants the facility to build their credit.

How to make sure your housing provider is using this

You can ask your housing provider to report your rental data into the The Rental Exchange. You can do this regardless of if you are a social housing tenant or a private tenant (if your private landlord manages over 500 properties.) It can help you in many financial situations to have proof of reliability so you may want your housing provider to use it.

As we know, renting makes up a lot of  housing market at present. Renting is set to rise to the main form of housing tenure, so the Rental Exchange could be crucial. Renters need stability and also need to be rewarded when they have been paying their rent on time consistently.

With renting being the future, we hope that more schemes are put in place to benefit renters and offer them protection and also provide them with proof of their payments if they were to move.

How to sign up?

If you are a social housing provider, you can sign up for the rental exchange.

You can also sign up for the rental exchange if you are a private landlord or letting agent.