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Fannie Mae: Helping Renters Build Credit

Fannie Mae has announced the launch of its Multifamily Positive Rent Payment Reporting pilot program, aimed at helping renters build their credit history and improve their credit score. Beginning September 27, 2022, eligible multifamily property owners can share timely rent payment data through a vendor network to the three major credit bureaus for incorporation in the renter's credit profile.

This pilot program is the latest solution among Fannie Mae's ongoing efforts to bolster equitable access to credit and remove unnecessary obstacles in a consumer's housing journey, whether they choose to rent or aspire to own a home.

On-time rent payments are rarely included in credit reports and therefore usually do not contribute to a consumer's credit score, putting many renters at a disadvantage. Positive Rent Payment Reporting aims to accelerate the adoption of rent payment reporting by the multifamily industry, and it complements Fannie Mae's existing practice of helping lenders incorporate positive rent payments in the single-family mortgage credit evaluation process via Desktop Underwriter (DU).

Incentivizing Fannie Mae Multifamily borrowers to adopt Positive Rent Payment Reporting will benefit renters who pay on time each month, including historically underserved groups who disproportionately have lower or no credit scores. Esusu Financial, Inc., Jetty Credit, and Rent Dynamics are approved vendors who will collect the rent payment data from multifamily property owners and format it for dissemination to the credit bureaus.

"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 VP and Head of Multifamily, 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. By enabling easier and more expansive adoption of positive rent payment reporting, we can knock down this longstanding barrier to building credit and help more consumers begin to establish a strong financial and credit foundation."

"Related Affordable has seen firsthand what on-time credit reporting can do for our residents to help improve their financial health," said Jeffrey I. Brodsky, Vice Chairman of Related Companies. "We are excited to work with Fannie Mae's Multifamily Positive Rent Payment pilot and to see programs like these expand to impact even more residents."

Positive Rent Payment Reporting is available to Fannie Mae Multifamily property owners looking for ways to help their renters. This is a positive-only initiative: Renters who miss a payment are automatically unenrolled to preserve their credit standing, and renters may opt out of the program if they prefer. Fannie Mae will cover the costs of collecting and disseminating rent payment data for a 12-month period for multifamily borrowers who leverage one of the three approved vendors to collect the data.

"Launching this pilot program is the latest step on Fannie Mae's journey to make the housing system work better for everyone," said Evans. "By accelerating the adoption of positive rent reporting across the multifamily industry, we will help ensure renter households get the credit they deserve for paying on time each month. This builds on the positive rent payment history enhancement we introduced in the single-family mortgage market last year, which has opened the door to homeownership for many more renters who have aspired to buy."

The Multifamily Rent Payment Reporting pilot program is one of many specific actions Fannie Mae is taking to advance greater equity in America's housing finance system, its practices, and its outcomes. The company has launched new initiatives and innovations, including several over the past year, to knock down barriers faced by renters and homeowners throughout their housing journey. Some of these actions include:

  • Changing the way renters are served by expanding access to quality affordable rental housing in more high-opportunity neighborhoods, including for renters who rely on Housing Choice Vouchers. In April 2022, Fannie Mae introduced Expanded Housing Choice to drive greater acceptance of vouchers in the multifamily market, helping to make the rental housing market more inclusive and equitable.
  • Creating a more inclusive credit eligibility system for people who are denied access to quality, affordable homeownership in a manner that is safe, sustainable, and fair. In September 2021, Fannie Mae enabled single-family mortgage lenders to seamlessly incorporate a history of timely rent payments as an eligibility factor when reviewing borrower applications, helping more first-time homebuyers to responsibly qualify for mortgage credit.
  • Empowering consumers through a robust program of financial and housing education. In January 2022, Fannie Mae introduced HomeView, a comprehensive and free education resource designed to support consumers at every stage of the homeownership journey.

To learn more about the new Multifamily Positive Rent Payment Reporting program, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at [email protected]
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