MPs took part in a debate over whether rent payments should be taken into account when private renters apply for a mortgage to buy their own property.
The RLA has called for these proposals to be introduced after a survey of almost 3,000 landlords found that 61 per cent would support such a move.
At present, credit rating agencies do not routinely include rent payment history when calculating credit scores. This means a tenant can find it difficult to access a mortgage, even if they have a long history of rent being paid in full and on time.
The debate was triggered after an online petition, demanding that a history of punctual rent payments should be recognised as evidence that mortgage repayments can be met, attracted almost 150,000 signatures.
The RLA believes that including rent payment in this way would also make it easier for landlords to make a more accurate assessment of a prospective tenant’s credit and rent payment history.
The RLA’s chairman, Alan Ward, commented: “With many tenants wanting to buy a house of their own, it is absurd rent payment is not routinely included when undertaking credit checks for mortgage applications.
“Moving to such a scheme would help not just tenants, but also landlords by giving them a clearer sense of whether a prospective tenant has historically paid their rent in full and on time.”
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay MP, said: “Although it is encouraging to see the number of mortgages granted to first-time buyers, now at the highest levels since the financial crisis, it is clear that many people still struggle to make the first step on to the housing ladder.
“Lenders and credit reference agencies being able to access data relating to a prospective borrower’s history of paying rent will benefit both the borrower and the lender.
“There are already private sector solutions, some of which we have heard about in the debate. I am keen to look for ways to raise awareness of those, and to look at how we use open banking to open up further possibilities in future.
“We have had a very constructive debate and I look forward to having further discussions with Members in the coming weeks.”
Click To access the full debate transcript.