How do I change my address on the Electoral Roll?

Posted by Sam Griffin in Electoral Roll on 11 October 2018

A letter from your local council reminding you to register to vote and asking you to confirm that your details are correct for 2018/2019 should have been delivered some time ago.

This isn’t a piece of post that should end up in a long-forgotten pile with old bank statements and pizza flyers - it’s something that you need to pay attention to every year, and if you don’t it can affect your ability to get approved for credit.

Lenders put a surprising amount of faith in the Electoral Roll, so it’s important to ensure that your listing is up-to-date and showing your most recent address. If you’ve recently moved house and haven’t yet had a chance to register to vote, you might have trouble the next time you apply for finance.

See how Electoral Roll information appears on your Credit Report

How do I change my address on the Electoral Roll?

Updating the Electoral Register with your new address is a reasonably straightforward process; you can contact your local council by phone or online by heading to the Government website and following the on-screen instructions.

Alternatively, to amend the information held on your current Electoral Roll listing, you can contact your local council’s Electoral Roll office directly by email or telephone – contact details will be available on your local council’s website.

I have updated my information – what do I do now?

Once you have successfully amended your Electoral Roll details, it can take up to 3 months (depending on whether the Annual Canvass is under way) for your local council to pass the updated information to the Credit Reference Agencies, and then a further month for it to appear on your Credit Report. Once a Credit Reference Agency receives the new information from your council, you should find that your information is updated automatically.

If you want to fast-track this process, you can request an official letter of confirmation from your local council, detailing the exact name and address formats to which your listing is registered and the date your listing commenced. The provision of such a letter is standard procedure for most councils in the UK and should be free of charge. With this letter in hand, you can approach each Credit Reference Agency individually to request they each amend your status.

We are able to raise dispute requests on behalf of active checkmyfile subscribers – armed with a scanned copy of this letter, we can forward it on your behalf.

Why should I keep my Electoral Roll entry up to date?

Prospective lenders take your Electoral Roll status very seriously. It forms part of the ‘public’ element of your Credit Report at each of the UK’s four Credit Reference Agencies and is one of the first things that a lender will look at.

In much the same way that remaining with your current employer implies a degree of stability to lenders, so does regular inclusion on the latest version of the Electoral Roll.

As public information, it can also be seen by prospective landlords and employers that might run a credit check to verify that you are who you say you are, which is another good reason for making sure your report is as easy for them to find as possible, so the rest of your application can go smoothly.

It’s possible to be listed as present on the most recent update at your current address, on a former update at your current address, at a previous address, or to be not listed at all. Ideally, you want to be in the first category because this is seen as a far more reliable piece of information.

How does the update work each year?

Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) obtain Electoral Roll information via local councils. Each council shares information independently, and each agency completes its own data upload. There is one big update each year – local councils will collect the data sometime around August, during their Annual Canvass and the CRAs will then update their own systems, which can be a few months or more later.

Because each of the four Credit Reference Agencies holds and shares information separately, it’s possible for mistakes to happen and some records to be missed. The key thing to understand here is that it’s not just a case of registering to vote with your local council and putting your feet up. You need to verify for yourself that all four agencies have updated their records correctly.

It’s important to keep in mind that this needs to be done each and every year – registering to vote once will not be automatically enrolled indefinitely. In addition, if any of your details change between updates, it’s important to make sure you contact the local Electoral Roll officer to notify them of this change, and not wait for the Annual Canvass to come around to notify them of the changes.

What if I move house between updates?

When you move house, one of the first things you should do once you’re settled is to make sure you’re on the Electoral Roll. Even if there’s not a Local or General Election due for a while or the council hasn’t written to you telling you register, it should be a priority.

The most common amendment to Electoral Roll information is a change of address, but the same concept applies for changes to other information recorded on your Electoral Roll listing, such as if you get married and change your surname. After all, if you were to apply for credit using your new married surname and the lender searches for an Electoral Roll listing which is still under your old name, it may miss your listing entirely.

Any outdated or incorrect information on your Credit Report has the potential to derail an application for finance, which is why it’s important to see what lenders will see before you apply. To make sure your Electoral Roll listing is being reported by Credit Reference Agencies and that your address appears in the right format, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days, then for just £14.99 per month, which you can cancel online, by phone or by email.

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