Which Credit Report Information Can Landlords See

Posted by Kevin Pearce in Personal Finance on 20 December 2019 - Kevin is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

These days whenever you rent a property you may be required to pass checks set by the landlord or letting agent to prove that you will be a good tenant and can reliably make rent payments to the property on time.

In addition to affordability checks and getting references from previous landlords, your Credit Report is also checked – something that when first mentioned can make people worry about their previous Credit History and how it might affect their chances. In some cases your social media profiles might get a look over as well so the landlord can see what kind of tenant you might be.

You can see what landlords see on your Credit Report by checking with us. Your Multi Agency Credit Report will show you everything the four Credit Reference Agencies hold in your details.

If you haven't already, you can try checkmyfile free for 30 days and then for just £14.99 a month, which you can cancel at any time.

What type of search is carried out?

Letting agents and landlords carry out a Soft Search during your application, which only looks at information on your Credit Report that’s publicly available. These are different to the searches carried out by lenders, which focus more on money that you’ve borrowed and repaid.

Primarily landlords are only looking for verification that you are who you say you are, along with any court information that might be related to you having missed past payments, all of which is available with a Soft Search.

Soft searches can only be carried out with your permission, but when signing letting agents’ paperwork it might be hidden in the small print. Rest assured that these searches won’t affect your Credit Score.

Can a landlord see my previous rent payments?

Until recently there was no way for lenders to see your past history of making rent payments, regardless of whether they had been made on time or consistently missed, unlike Application Searches carried out when you apply for credit, the type of search used by landlords only shows publicly available information.

In recent years a number of rent reporting platforms have been made available that allow your rent payments appear on certain versions of your Credit Report. Landlords enrolled in these schemes will be able to see rent payments reported in previous tenancies, meaning there is now more reason than ever to make sure rent is paid on time. As a rule though, landlords will not see nearly the same level of detail when checking your Credit Report that a potential lender would – they won’t find out what credit accounts you hold or how they have been managed in the past (unless lack of payment has trigged more serious action such as court proceedings).

What is included in a landlord credit check?

The information checked by landlords and letting agents comes from the public data on your Credit Report, so as mentioned doesn’t include your Credit History and in many cases your previous rent payment history won’t be seen either. The two main pieces of information they are looking for are Court Records and your Electoral Roll status. It’s a good idea to check well in advance to make sure you’re on the latest version of the Electoral Roll, to give yourself time to be added, should you need to.

Court Information

Court information is searched to make sure that there aren’t any CCJs or Insolvencies in your name as a result of a substantial history of missed payments in the past. Because only a soft search is carried out, that means defaults themselves will not appear in this credit search.

Electoral Roll Listing

Your Electoral Roll status is also checked to make sure the address you’ve provided is the one you’re actually living at, so it’s important to make sure that you’re registered to vote and that it’s actually recorded correctly on your Credit Report.

Any issues can be resolved by contacting your local council’s Electoral Registration Office and the named court if there are any incorrect court records. It’s much easier to resolve issues before you apply, and even if you’re turned down based on the outcome of your credit check, you might not even be told what basis you’ve been turned down on.

Essentially, as long as you’re showing on the Electoral Roll at the address you have provided as your current address and you don’t have any County Court Judgments (CCJ) or Insolvencies, you’re a step closer to moving into a new rental property.

Can you rent a property with bad credit?

Yes. Occasional missed payments or a lack of credit history won’t appear on the landlord’s search, so unless you’ve got a CCJ, IVA or Bankruptcy appearing on your court information on your Credit Report, you shouldn’t be held back by it during the credit check.

If you do have adverse court information on your Credit Report, it still might not stop you from being able to rent – many places will accept a larger deposit or guarantor co-signer upon application. It’s worth remembering that, if you use a guarantor and payments are missed, this may harm their Credit Report, so make sure they are prepared before agreeing.

Find out more about getting the best chances of renting if you have a poor credit history.

Is there a minimum credit score for renting?

No. Your Credit Score is yours to see and yours alone. It won’t be checked or seen by landlords at any point. Your Score is a useful tool to monitor Credit Report’s overall health, but the focus for landlords and lenders is on the data itself.

How are tenancy credit checks carried out?

Landlord checks can gather information from any combination of the UK’s Credit Reference Agencies (CRA). Each CRA should return the same public information about you, regardless of which one is checked, but not all will return your rental payment information.

On rare occasions the information held by the Credit Reference Agencies may differ, but checkmyfile’s Multi Agency Credit Report allows you to spot errors quickly across all four CRAs.

Additional checks carried out

As your landlord doesn’t have access to your full Credit Report, they gauge your Affordability using additional checks. For this they may require proof of income and possibly contact your employer to make sure your annual salary can comfortably cover rent payments – usually it is required that your combined annual income (if renting in a group) comes to at least three times the annual cost of rent.

A former landlord may also be contacted to make sure that rent was paid on time to establish whether you are a high, medium or low risk. In some instances, they may even ask how much of your previous deposit was paid back to you to get a feel for how well you managed to look after previous properties.

Even though your landlord can only see basic information on your Credit Report, if it’s incorrect it can cause unneeded hassle while house-hunting. If you haven’t already, you can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, then £14.99 a month, which you can cancel at any time. Not only will your report show you if there are any errors being reported by the Credit Reference Agencies, but our professionally-qualified Credit Analysts will help resolve any issues you might have.

Updated 20/12/2019 by Sam Griffin

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