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Thanks to a new update from Freddie Mac, a government-owned mortgage regulator, it’s easier than ever for lenders to consider rental payment history in their decision to approve a loan.

First-time homebuyers can show they’re financially responsible by including up to 12 months of on-time rental payments in their application.

Freddie Mac is one half of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). They work with lenders nationwide to support and maintain the mortgage market. If a lender is backed by Freddie Mac, they can easily pull rental history using their digital underwriting system.

Eligible rent payments include check, electronic transfer, or digital transfers made through Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal. Rental payments in cash aren’t documented according to their guidelines and won’t be counted.

It’s up to the applicant to decide if their rent is considered. On the flipside, omitting it doesn’t hurt their chances of being approved.

Michael DeVito, CEO of Freddie Mac, says “millions of American adults lack a credit score or have limited credit history. By factoring in a borrower’s responsible rent payment history into our automated underwriting system, we can help make home possible for more qualified renters, particularly in underserved communities.”

A number of companies can help renters by automatically reporting rental payments to the three major credit bureaus. Rental Kharma, Essusu, and Level Credit are common recommendations from Landis agent partners.

This is expected to be one of multiple FHFA measures that make homeownership more accessible by helping first-time buyers compete in the market.

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