Last week we held the first of ten intensive workshops with the first seven ventures to join our Reimagining Rent innovation support programme. Sheraz Dar, CEO of CreditLadder, enterprise that launched 18 months ago to improve tenants credit scores through on time rental payments, met the cohort to tell them about his experiences of innovating in the Private Rented Sector. Here he explains more about CreditLadder and some of the advice he has for new business start-ups.
Awareness is growing that tenants in the private rented sector are treated unfairly when it comes to those all-important credit scores. There are approximately 11 million renters in the UK and currently, their rental payments aren’t recorded or recognised in the same way mortgage payments are on credit scores. It’s important to have a good credit score as without one, access to affordable and appropriate forms of credit is near impossible. It is essential when applying for a credit card, loan, mortgage and even a phone contract. In short, it costs more to be poor.
CreditLadder, with Experian, are part of the Rental Exchange scheme. This aims to re-level the playing field for renters by making their rent payments count towards their credit ratings. We use tech and data to change the world of renting for good, providing tenants with a free service that recognises their on-time rent payments.
There are other ventures out there also trying to make a difference in the rental sector. This week I was fortunate enough to meet seven new ventures currently receiving support from The Young Foundation on their Reimagining Rent innovation programme. I was invited along to the first of ten workshop sessions they will be part of on this 6-month journey of intensive support to strengthen and grow their business models. It was great to find out more about the vision these bright new ventures hold as well as pass on some advice from experiences in setting up new businesses.
I often tell the story of how “you need to open a door to see what’s behind it”. This is my way of saying one chance meeting or being willing to offer up your time could be the gateway to many more opportunities.
I told of some of the highs and lows of building a business but most importantly stressed that if you do things the right way, and for the right reasons your chance of being successful, in my experience is much greater. I hope to play a small, but significant role as these businesses are nurtured by The Young Foundation.
And talking about ‘doing the right things, for the right reasons’ brings us back full circle. It’s imperative that tenants are supported to ensure they are rewarded with improved credit scores when they pay their rent on time – just as those lucky homeowners are when they pay their mortgage on time.
This is why we are also backing, The Young Foundation and The Big Issue’s #MakeRentCount. This is about supporting the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill being led by Lord Bird which will require lenders to take rental (and council tax) payment history into account when they assess tenants’ creditworthiness.
The Rental Exchange scheme has already shown that 80% of tenants see their credit score rise once included in the initiative. Therefore at CreditLadder we fully support this Bill and look forward to it becoming law to #MakeRentCount. Visit the #MakeRentCount Facebook page for more information and share the posts, like this one below, to show your support.
Also can also meet the seven ventures who’ve joined the first of the Reimagining Rent programmes and find out more about how they are working to disrupt the private rented sector.
Sheraz has significant experience in building brands. His journey started in soft drinks, where he launched J20, and more recently he has worked within the property technology space. He is also a seasoned startup investor and adviser having invested in, among others, eMoov and OpenRent, the latter now being the largest UK letting agent by volume.