Article by Sophie Regester - 5th July 2016

Changing Your House Name Can Impact Your Credit Report

Thinking of changing the name of your house? Sure, go ahead, but don’t expect the contents of your credit file to be unscathed.

Can I change my house name?

Of course you have the right to call your house whatever you want, but having a new sign made and hanging it up proudly on your garden wall will not be the end of the process. You will need to let your local authority know the change, along with Royal Mail. In addition, your local authority may not be able to make certain changes unless all people affected agree.

For example, if there are 10 houses on your street and you want to drop the number 5 and just be called Poppy Cottage, this may not fly unless your neighbours agree. Your house may always be officially known as number 5 for Electoral Roll purposes and on company address databases and Poppy Cottage may just be known as a vanity name. The official house name will need to be used if you make any credit applications - searching Poppy Cottage may draw a blank unless it is what is held by both your lenders and the council.

What do I need to do?

If the change is accepted, your Electoral Roll department will need to update your listing, which may interrupt your Electoral Roll presence on your credit file in the interim. The likelihood is that a new listing will start for you under the new address format, so if you have been listed on the Electoral Roll for five years then the name changes your listing starts again, back to year one. The longer you are registered on the Electoral Roll at your current address the more stability this indicates as far as your credit file goes, so you may see a small drop in your score.

What other changes could affect me?

Changing surname due to marriage, divorce or just due to personal preference via deed poll can also cause issues but normally only in the short term.

After changing your name and notifying your lenders of the change you should see an alias appear on your credit file, in this way when your new name is searched information in your previous name is also linked back to you. Again though, when it comes to Electoral Roll because the data is not the same due to a new name being reported your listing will start again at year one.

These are things to bear in mind but probably are not enough to convince you not to change things as and when you need them changing. I would just urge caution and advise that following any change you take it upon yourself sooner rather than later to notify everyone. The sooner your lenders, Royal Mail and your council know of an amendment the sooner the update will happen and the more short-lived the impact will be on your credit file.

You can see how the information held about you affects your credit rating with checkmyfile. You’ll see data from all four Credit Reference Agencies in the same, easy-to-understand format. It’s free to try for 30 days, then £14.99 a month, which you’re free to cancel online at any time.

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