Renters sometimes struggle to open bank accounts, get affordable loans and credit cards or a mortgage because they don’t have a credit history (a track record of paying off credit agreements). Companies use credit history to assess your creditworthiness before making a lending decision.
Having a good credit history also helps to prove who you are, and where you live and have lived before. This can help you to a range of goods and services online, such as better deals on mobile phones, TV and broadband packages and car insurance.
Homeowners with a mortgage have an advantage as their payment history can count towards their credit history; we strongly believe that your rent payment history should be used in the same way to help you access more affordable credit. There is a legitimate interest in the sharing of data for these purposes, which forms our legal ground for the sharing of this data into the Rental Exchange. Landlords who share data into Rental Exchange will have a legitimate interest in being able to make use of this data to support better informed tenancy decisions.
We’ve signed up with Experian to take part in The Rental Exchange to help strengthen your credit report without you needing to take on new credit. We share details about the rent you pay with Experian on a monthly basis. This is included in your credit report, meaning you will then be recognised for paying your rent on time.
Not only will we be able to work with you more closely to manage your existing tenancy agreement, your track record as a tenant will enable Experian to use the information supplied to them to assist other landlords and organisations to:
- assess and manage any new tenancy agreements you may enter into;
- assess your financial standing to provide you with suitable products and services;
- manage any accounts that you may already hold, for example reviewing suitable products or adjusting your product in light of your current circumstances;
- contact you in relation to any accounts you may have and recovering debts that you may owe;
- verifying your identity, age and address, to help other organisations make decisions about the services they offer;
- help to prevent crime, fraud and money laundering;
- screen marketing offers to make sure they are appropriate to your circumstances;
- for Experian to undertake statistical analysis, analytics and profiling,
- and for Experian to conduct system and product testing and database processing activities, such as data loading, data matching and data linkage.
More information about this and how credit reference agencies use and share rental data as bureau data (including the legitimate interests each pursues) is provided here – www.experian.co.uk/crain (Credit Reference Agency Information Notice (CRAIN)). For a paper copy, please get in touch with us or with Experian.
We will continue to exchange information about you with Experian while you have a relationship with us. We will also inform Experian when your tenancy has ended and if you have outstanding rent arrears Experian will record this outstanding debt. Experian will hold your rental data for the time limits explained in CRAIN (section 7). Rental data falls into the Identifiers (e.g. your name, address, date of birth) and financial account categories (i.e. tenancy account, rental payment information).
We and Experian will ensure that your information is treated in accordance with UK data protection law, so you can have peace of mind that it will be kept secure and confidential and your information will not be used for marketing purposes.
If you would like advice on how to improve your credit history you can access independent and impartial advice from www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk (you can get a copy of your Statutory Credit Report by visiting www.experian.co.uk/consumer/statutory-report).
If you are unhappy with anything relating to Rental Exchange, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org You also have the ability to get in touch with the Information Commissioner’s Office. More information can be found at: ico.org.uk/concerns/.
Standard information for new tenancy applications
In order to process your application, we may perform credit and identity checks with Experian. Where you take services from us we may also make periodic searches with Experian to manage your account with us.
To do this, we will supply your personal information to Experian and they will give us information about you. This will include information from your application and about your financial situation and financial history. Experian will supply to us both public (including the electoral register) and shared credit, financial situation and financial history information and fraud prevention information.
We will use this information to:
- Assess your creditworthiness and whether you can afford to take the product;
- Verify the accuracy of the data you have provided to us;
- Prevent criminal activity, fraud and money laundering;
- Manage your account(s);
- Trace and recover debts; and
- Ensure any offers provided to you are appropriate to your circumstances.
When Experian receive a search from us they will place a search footprint on your credit file (this will not be seen by other organisations).