Deposit-free rental scheme to be trialled in Edinburgh

The project is described as a 'lasting solution' to issues facing renters. Picture: Steve Reid.
The project is described as a 'lasting solution' to issues facing renters. Picture: Steve Reid.
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A project eliminating the need for tenants to pay a deposit and build a profile of their trustworthiness is to be piloted at a recently-launched development in Edinburgh.

Independent estate agent Rettie & Co has partnered with UK property rental market app Canopy to trial two initiatives at the 138-home Harbour Gateway mid-market build-to-rent development in Edinburgh.

Rettie & Co tenants will be given the choice to move into properties without paying an initial security deposit, which is typically equivalent to four weeks’ rent. Instead, they can choose Canopy’s DepositFree insurance product, backed by Hiscox.

DepositFree insurance is billed as providing landlords and renters with the same protection as a traditional cash deposit. DepositFree is a one-off policy premium paid by the renter that covers both parties for up to three years. For longer tenancies, a renewal premium would be payable.

And tenants can choose to pay their rent via Canopy’s free to use RentPassport, which is backed by credit-checking group Experian. This enables them to build a credit score and a renter profile that accurately reflects their history as a tenant.

It is also described as cutting the back-office costs historically associated with the screening of prospective tenants and reduces the risk of rental arrears. The tenant will own their digital rental history and data, able to choose with whom to share it.

Rettie & Co, which operates in Scotland and the north of England, said that about 40 per cent of households under the age of 35 are in the private rental system, rising to about 65 per cent in Edinburgh.

Matthew Benson, Rettie & Co director and head of development services, said Canopy’s initiatives “offer a lasting solution to the issues currently facing Scottish renters”.

He added: “Scotland, like the rest of the UK, is facing a chronic shortage of housing. In its current state, the private rental sector fails to meet the needs of the nation’s renters.”

Jon Pitt, chief commercial officer of Canopy, added: “Securing a rental property can be very challenging for many prospective tenants, especially when they are waiting for their previous deposit to be returned at the same time as trying to secure and pay for a new property.

“This trial will help people rent their dream home by taking out DepositFree insurance and using Canopy to track their rent to help improve their Experian credit score.”

The structured finance team at Rettie & Co delivered Harbour Gateway, its second mid-market rent development, at Edinburgh’s Western Harbour. The site marks the second managed by Rettie & Co on behalf of Forth Ports in the Western Harbour areas of the city.