(New York, NY) — Today, a wide range of advocates expressed support for Comptroller Scott M. Stringer’s proposal to make rent count by allowing New Yorkers to add their rent payments to their credit scores using an opt-in system.

“Assuming that the Comptroller’s proposal for a voluntary opt-in program is adopted as proposed and that tenants can just as easily, without cost or penalty, opt-out of the program, we are in favor of providing tenants with the ability to create and enhance their credit scores through reporting rent payments to credit agencies. At present, the system is one-sided. Landlords can destroy the credit rating of a tenant when they leave an apartment owing rent, but as a rule regular rent payments are not counted to enhance credit scores. I look forward to following up on this important proposal,” said Harold DeRienzo, President of the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc.

“Too many low-income New Yorkers face limited economic opportunities because they find it difficult to build or improve their credit without taking on additional debt or adding to their monthly expenses,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “By expanding the use of rent reporting for credit building, the city can make crucial asset-building tools available to everyone. Enterprise applauds the NYC Comptroller’s Office for releasing this important report and highlighting an underutilized tool that can make a huge difference.”

“Since our founding in 1923 by a labor union, Amalgamated Bank has been dedicated to addressing income inequality. Buying a home or starting a small business are critical ways working families enter the middle class. Having a good credit score is an important component of securing a loan to make those dreams come true,” said Keith Mestrich, CEO and President of Amalgamated Bank. “We commend Comptroller Stringer for raising the issues in this report and look forward to helping tenants build their credit score by working in collaboration with key stakeholders.”

“NYLAG applauds Comptroller Scott Stringer’s latest initiative designed to strengthen the financial stability of all New Yorkers, particularly the low-income clients we support with free legal and financial counseling services. We see every day how a poor credit score results in higher interest rates and other payment burdens, making it harder to save and locking vulnerable people into a cycle of poverty,” said Beth Goldman, President and Attorney-in-Charge at the New York Legal Assistance Group. “Allowing rent payment data to be reflected in individual credit scores will help poor and low-income families boost their scores — in many cases gaining a credit score for the first time – making them eligible to rent an apartment and opening the door to financial opportunities that can help them build more secure lives.”

“The housing crisis is getting worse and worse for low income New Yorkers and homelessness is at historic highs. As a City, we need to be doing everything we can to give low income households a leg up in a hostile economy,” said Jonathan Westin, Director of New York Communities for Change. “Allowing tenants the opportunity to add rent payments to their credit reports can help New Yorkers break into an economy that has disadvantaged low-income communities of color for far too long.”

“New York City has an affordability crisis, and we need to embrace bold solutions to provide relief. That’s why Comptroller Stringer’s proposal is so important – it recognizes that a strong credit score is critical to securing affordable goods and services,” said Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq., Executive Director of Community Voices Heard. “Linking rent and credit is an innovative idea that has the power to change the game for low-income New Yorkers. It would help New Yorkers boost their credit and provide a lifeline to those without a credit score at all. We thank the Comptroller for jumpstarting a much needed conversation and for his relentless focus on the affordability challenges impacting working New Yorkers.”

“Our City faces an unprecedented affordability crisis. If we’re going to give all New Yorkers a fair shot and keep residents from being priced out of their own neighborhoods, we need bold solutions that provide relief. Comptroller Stringer’s proposal does just that,” said Rob Solano Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of Churches United For Fair Housing. “Allowing tenants the opportunity to build credit through their rent payments is a common sense idea that could be a game-changer for low-income New Yorkers. It will put more money into the pockets of working people by lowering everything from their cell phone bills and utility charges, to the cost of financing a new car or paying for college. We look forward to working with Comptroller Stringer on this initiative.”

“Too many low-income New Yorkers face limited economic opportunities because they find it difficult to build or improve their credit without taking on additional debt or adding to their monthly expenses,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “By expanding the use of rent reporting for credit building, the city can make crucial asset-building tools available to everyone. Enterprise applauds the NYC Comptroller’s Office for releasing this important report and highlighting an underutilized tool that can make a huge difference.”

“Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) has been a pioneer in helping affordable housing providers facilitate rent reporting. CBA strongly endorses the Comptroller’s initiative to help landlords and property managers provide opt-in programs that give tenants the option to let their landlord report rent payment information to the credit bureaus. Our experience has shown that 100% of residents who initially had no credit score had either a high nonprime or prime score with the inclusion of their rental payment history. Additional findings are that most tenants increased their credit score in addition to their rates of on-time rental payments,” said Dara Duguay, Executive Director, and Credit Builders Alliance.

“In this day and age, financial literacy is paramount; especially for low-income families whose resources are limited,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “We look forward to working with Comptroller Stringer on expanding access to credit information and financial education for our clients.”

“Our research shows that nationally, younger workers earn twenty percent less than their counterparts in 1989 with a decline in home ownership and many lack a credit history necessary to build credit. By factoring rent into credit scores, millennials and others can get on the credit map and gain access to better deals, lower prices, and more financial opportunity,” said Marissa Martin, Northeast Director at Young Invincibles. “Young Invincible applauds New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for publishing this report and we look forward to working together to help all tenants use their rent to build credit.”

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