The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is calling on the British Government to create a central database of householders in rented properties as an alternative to the current system of tenant-funded credit and reference checks.
RICS Rented Sector Policy Paper
The RICS has published a policy paper on the rented sector detailing the proposed database that would hold landlord references and past rental payment histories for up to 10 million householders, all currently living in private- and social-rented properties across England.
A Home For Cathy
The policy paper has been launched to coincide with their anti-homelessness campaign, A Home For Cathy, which aims to tackle the homelessness crisis and sees industry leaders from up and down the country come together to develop a manifesto of solutions that the property and construction sectors can offer.
Protecting vulnerable tenants
The database would allow landlords to access other vital information, such as past rental histories which would be particularly beneficial to more vulnerable tenants with poor credit ratings. The proposal states that details could only be accessed with the tenant’s permission.
1.8 million shortfall by 2025
RICS Head of Policy, Jeremy Blackburn said, ’An ever increasing proportion of the population is looking to rent. By 2025, we know that there will be a 1.8 million shortfall in rental properties and that could mean a rise in homelessness. It will be hard enough for those young professionals who cannot afford to buy to find a rental home, but for those on the breadline who cannot provide the usual spread of credit references, it could prove impossible.’
Similar pilots trialled across England
Similar pilots are being successfully trialled across England. Kettering Borough Council offers a voluntary tenant passport scheme. This allows potential landlord to see that they have been good tenants, even though they may have poor credit history. It’s aimed at those currently in social housing who wish to move into private rented accommodation.
Next year’s Housing White Paper
Aa an alternative to credit checks, the development of a detailed database of renters in both private and social sectors is one of many recommendations that RICS is putting to Government ahead of the publication next year of the Housing White Paper. The RICS are urging the Government to take urgent action through the Housing White Paper to deliver homes for the Cathies of today and tomorrow.