PropTech firm RentalStep is continuing to expand and improve its platform as part of round two of the Government’s Rent Recognition Challenge, which is taking place this week.
The initiative, launched in December with the first six winners announced in March, aims to encourage startups to use technology to help share renters’ payment histories with lenders and credit reference agencies.
HM Treasury has put forward £2 million – £1.4 million of which will be made available to a winner or several winners of round two of the competition.
The Rent Recognition Challenge is being judged by an expert panel which consists of Paul Smee (director of mortgages, UK Finance), Charlotte Crosswell (chief executive, Innovate Finance) and Neil Munroe (chief executive, CRS Insights) among others.
“We’re really looking forward to round two of the Rent Recognition Challenge and pitching our proposition once more to the Treasury, “ says Mike Georgeson, founder and chief executive of RentalStep.
“Ensuring that tenants’ rental payment histories are recognised in their credit scores is hugely important and we’re proud to be able to contribute towards this much-needed movement. As the country’s housing balance shifts increasingly towards private renting, there is no reason why rental payments – which are frequently more costly – shouldn’t carry the same weight as mortgage repayments,” he adds.
The first £600,000 of government money was split equally between the six winners of round one (RentalStep, CreditLadder, Bud, Canopy, FirstHomecoach and Movem).
The second round money will be used to support the creation of a wider home ownership tool which brings together all the available financial services for tenants onto one online platform.
As well as an initial £100,000, the six winners of round one were also given access to expert legal and PR advice, FinTech tools and meeting space.
RentalStep, which landlords can use to find the best tenants who are fully referenced and credit checked, says its team have been working hard to prepare for round two while continuing to help landlords save money and tenants boost their credit score with a TenantPassport.
The startup says it has used the initial investment to improve its platform, create an enhanced communication centre for users and test an Open Banking integration for tenants to be able to automatically verify their rent and income payments.
RentalStep also helps landlords to save money by allowing them to list available properties on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation. Landlords using RentalStep, meanwhile, have access to free access to an online booking system and comprehensive referencing services.
“At RentalStep, we’re passionate about matching landlords with the perfect tenants for their rental properties while making sure tenants have all the information they need in one place before moving home. “We’re also dedicated to helping landlords save money on the costs associated with letting a property in a market which is becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to navigate,” he says.