Affordable HousingBlack HomeownershipMortgage

Fannie Mae launches rent payment reporting pilot program

Program enables renters in multifamily properties to improve credit scores

Fannie Mae on Tuesday launched a pilot program to help renters of multifamily properties build their credit histories and improve their credit scores.

Effective Sept. 27, eligible multifamily property owners can share rent payment data through a vendor network to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian in the renter’s credit profile.

“Around 20% of the U.S. population has little to no established credit history, a group in which Black and Latino/Hispanic people are disproportionately represented. Of the consumers who do have a credit score, a disproportionate number of Black consumers have a subprime credit score. These imbalances reinforce racial disparities in access to credit and quality affordable housing among renters and homeowners,” said Michele Evans, Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily at Fannie Mae.

“The absence of sufficient credit history reduces a renter’s ability to access housing in higher-opportunity neighborhoods, obtain a mortgage, and attain lower-cost credit, such as auto loans and education financing.”

Renters who miss a payment are automatically unenrolled to preserve their credit score. They can also opt out of the program. Fannie Mae says it will cover the costs of collecting and disseminating rent payment data for a 12-month period for multifamily borrowers who use one of the three approved vendors to collect the data.

In September of 2021, Fannie Mae began to incorporate customers’ rent payments into its underwriting system, known as Desktop Underwriter.

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Freddie Mac, the smaller of the two government sponsored enterprises, announced in late June that it too would be incorporating rent payments into its risk assessment. It also has encouraged multifamily landlords to report positive rental payments to the credit bureaus to improve tenants’ shot at qualifying for a mortgage. The GSE said in November that it had 70,000 households across 816 multifamily properties enrolled in the program.

In a research study published last year, Fannie Mae said that in a sample of mortgage applicants who were denied a mortgage, 17% could have received an approval if their rental payment history had been considered.

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