The Government should set up a database of renters as an alternative to credit checks says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

It believes the measure would help stop discrimination against less affluent people or those with a poor credit ratings.

Rics proposes the database hold the history of 10million households in private and social rented properties in England.

Information could only be accessed with tenants’ permission and landlords would be able to access information such as previous rent payment history and references.

Currently tenants have to pay for their own credit checks but the Government is looking to axe that system next year ahead of the ban on letting agency fees.

Figures collected in 2014 showed there were 45,978 rented properties in Tower Hamlets.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said the proposals could help people in the borough avoid the costs and trouble of having to prove their rental history.

He said: “It’s understandable landlords will want reassurance about potential tenants but that shouldn’t mean tenants with poor credit ratings but excellent rental payment history should be excluded from properties.

“If it’s done right a scheme like this could help to protect against that kind of problem and to offer both residents and landlords greater peace of mind.”

He said Tower Hamlets already had a landlord licensing scheme in three wards to help ensure tenants were treated fairly.

He said: “We know how hard it can be for people living in private rented accommodation to know their rights and have their voice heard, that’s why we will be introducing a Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter, why we are doing all we can to support them and why I think the Government should look seriously at these proposals.”

Rics presented the idea in its Rented Sector Policy Paper and wants it to be included in the forthcoming white paper on housing that will be presented to in the New Year.

It has also launched an anti-homelessness campaign A Home For Cathy, to coincide with 50th anniversary of the film Cathy Come Home.

Rics head of policy Jeremy Blackburn said: “An ever increasing proportion of the population is looking to rent. By 2025, we know that there will be a 1.8 million shortfall in rental properties and that could mean a rise in homelessness.

“It will be hard enough for those young professionals who cannot afford to buy to find a rental home, but for those on the breadline who cannot provide the usual spread of credit references, it could prove impossible.

“The introduction of a rental database will provide a credible alternative to the tenant-funded credit checks that the Government is proposing to scrap, putting more vulnerable members of society on a level with more affluent peers by reducing the likelihood of discrimination.”

Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf

Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook