Annual Canvass 2015 – make sure you register

Posted by Ben Tumilty in Electoral Roll on 16 September 2015 - Ben is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Not registered to vote at your current address? If you are being declined credit then this may have something to do with it – so what better time to resolve this than the 2015 Annual Canvass.

Your local council will be sending a brown envelope to your residence, addressed to “The Occupier”. The envelope will contain a form, asking you to confirm if the residents listed to vote at the address are correct, and if anyone at the address has either moved or become eligible to vote then you can update the form, to alert your council to this.

If anybody has recently become eligible to vote at the address, or has recently moved to the address, then this information will mean that the council can send out a registration form for the individual to fill in and send back to the council – alternatively, you can register to vote at the address online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Once you have registered, you should shortly receive written confirmation – either by email or by post – of your addition to the Electoral Roll. Outside of the Annual Canvass we would advise a time period of three months from when your council has confirmed your addition to the voter’s register for this to show on your credit file, but this changes slightly during the Annual Canvass.

The Annual Canvass is collated by the local council Electoral Roll offices and published on 1 December. Following this, the credit reference agencies purchase this and will usually update their records within a month or so of the release. During this period the agencies will not accept manual updates, due to the amount of information they are processing at this time.

Your Electoral Roll entry is crucial for your credit file, as many lenders may decline an application made for credit purely for this reason. Lenders will be aware of the Annual Canvass period, and will take this into account when an individual applies for credit – they will usually verify your address using addresses held on other credit agreements, or a previous Electoral Roll entry. With this in mind, lender awareness should minimise the impact of your Electoral Roll entry not showing straight away during this period.

Although being registered to vote is of paramount importance when making applications for credit, not being on the Electoral Roll has other implications as well. It is a legal requirement to provide details on the Electoral Register – otherwise, you can be subject to a £1,000 fine. It is also used when selecting for jury service, and many landlords and employers will look to this when performing a check for your prospective employment or tenancy.

So the recommendation is simple – check to see if you’re registered to vote, and if you are not, get yourself on the Electoral Roll!

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