Half a dozen apprehensive proptech CEOs will be queuing up for their passes at the HM Treasury building (above) today to make their pitch for a slice of the government’s £2 million ‘rent recognition’ development fund designed to help more tenants get on the property ladder.
The six were earlier this year given £100,000 each to develop new or existing platforms and then asked to bid for all or some of the remaining £1.4 million today.
The short presentations, which are backed up by more detailed applications, are being heard by a panel of industry and government experts who will be awarding the cash to at least one and possibly more of the competitors.
The main aim of the ‘Rent Recognition Challenge’ (RRC) is to stimulate innovation and competitive activity within the proptech sector and enable more tenants to have their regular monthly rent payments history added to their credit scores.
Launched as a response to an e-petition signed by over 140,000 people last year and started by a young builder frustrated at not being able to get a mortgage, the RRC is designed to create a larger market for ‘rent recognition’ tech.
The contestants are Bud, Canopy, CreditLadder, FirstHomeCoach, Movem and RentalStep, all of which made it into the second round of the competition in March.
Earlier this week CreditLadder, which was the first to launch into the market two years ago and uses Open Banking plug-ins to most of the UK’s main banks, added MetroBank to its list of banks through which tenants can process report their rent.
CreditLadder says it has already processed rent worth £23 million to date, that over 1,000 letting have tenants who use its service, and that over 65% of all the UK’s 11 million tenants would see improvements to their credit scores if they all began reporting their rent payments.
Rental Step, which has created an online tenant passport, this week said it had used the initial £100,000 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”.
Other contestants have been busy proving their mettle including Canopy, which recently signed a deal with John Lewis to offer its 85,000 staff the ability to report their rent to Experian and also access cashless deposits.