A credit card provider says it’s partnering with landlords to help provide “every young person a path to homeownership” by allowing them pay their monthly rent with a credit card, and apply the points they earn to making a down payment on a home.
Kairos, the company behind the Bilt Mastercard, says it’s partnered with landlords of 2 million rental units to launch Bilt Rewards, “the first rewards program that allows renters to earn points on rent” and “renting-related events” like signing a lease or referring a tenant.
Kairos said participating landlords include AMLI Residential, AvalonBay Communities, Blackstone, Camden Property Trust, Cushman & Wakefield, Equity Residential, GID-Windsor Communities, Lennar Corporation, The Moinian Group, Morgan Properties, Related Companies, SL Green Realty Corp., Starwood Capital Group, Trammell Crow Residential, and Veritas Investments.
Kairos claims Bilt is “the first company to win regulatory approval to redeem points towards down payments on home mortgages through Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the FHA, says it’s aware of the company, but does not provide such regulatory approvals.
“We exchanged written communication with this organization relative to the funds being an eligible source of downpayment assistance according to our policies,” a HUD spokesperson told Inman via email. “However, FHA is not a banking or credit card regulator, and does not provide regulatory approvals nor does it approve downpayment assistance programs.”
Fannie Mae provided a similar statement: “Fannie Mae provides guidance to its lenders that credit card reward points converted to cash and deposited into the borrower’s depository account are an eligible source of funds for closing a mortgage transaction. Fannie Mae does not provide regulatory approvals, nor do we approve any specific third-party programs.”
Kairos did not respond to Inman’s request for comment.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a response from Fannie Mae.