Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae is making it easier to include rent-payment history as part of the mortgage approval process, a move intended to help borrowers with limited credit histories get better access to home loans.

Fannie Mae said that starting next month it will help lenders factor in borrowers’ history of rent payments when weighing those applicants’ qualifications.

Fannie Mae doesn’t require lenders to consider rent history, if a borrower has a credit report and score that meet the company’s criteria. But credit reports often don’t include residential-rent payments because most landlords don’t report the data to credit-reporting firms. Renters’ credit scores, which are based on information in their credit reports, as a result also don’t reflect that data.

The issue has been problematic for consumers with limited borrowing histories, who have difficulty getting approved for affordable credit.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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