If you’re working to build credit while renting your home, you’re about to see a positive change coming up on your path to homeownership: According to a recent press release, Fannie Mae said it would add a new feature to its mortgage underwriting system that would consider the history of rent payments during the credit worthiness evaluation.
As a result, renters who have a limited credit history but consistent timely rent payments will be able to submit their rent payment history as part of their mortgage credit evaluation process. This change will go into effect on September 18, 2021. Notably, while consistent rent payments can be used to improve your eligibility, missed or inconsistent payments will not negatively impact your chances to qualify for a mortgage, per the press release.
The rent payment history will be accessed through the applicant’s bank statement data (where electronic or check payments can be identified), and the applicant must provide access to this data. Payments made via online platforms or a company’s payment portal can also be easily identified. However, cash payments may not be able to be accounted for.
Additionally, this change does not mean that rent payments will become a mandatory part of the evaluation for mortgage eligibility. In fact, applicants with sufficient credit history can choose not to include their rent payments in the assessment process.
“Many renters believe they will never be able to buy their own home because of insufficient credit,” said Hugh R. Frater, chief executive officer at Fannie Mae. “We can responsibly expand mortgage eligibility by including positive rent payment history in underwriting risk assessments.”
Currently, fewer than 5% of renters report rent payment history on the credit report today — a number that is likely to change once this new measure is implemented. Therefore, for many renters who see a long road to homeownership because of insufficient credit history, this change promises to be a major step forward.