How to Rent with a Bad Credit Score

Written by
Canopy Blog Team
Canopy Blog Team
Renters
August 26, 2020

When renting a property in the UK almost all private landlords and letting agents will ask for a reference. This will include requesting information about your credit history and assessing your ability to pay the bills on time.   

What if you’ve never rented before? What if you’ve moved out for the first time? What can you do if you have a poor credit history? What if you’re an international student or a foreign professional looking to rent a home in the UK?  If any of these sound like you - you may struggle to rent a property as you don’t have any credit history in the UK.   

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a number of things you can do to remove the credit history obstacle, and boost your chances of finding your dream rental. Below we outline the things you can do to overcome your lack of credit history.

Find a Guarantor 

The quickest and easiest way of securing a let is to find a guarantor. This is someone who does have a good credit history and agrees to guarantee your rent payments.

This could be a relative or a friend who is willing to sign a document that says they will pay your rent if you are unable to, including any rent arrears and cover any damage you may cause to the property. 

This is something not to be taken lightly as it’s a serious position to put a friend or family member in; as they will then be jointly responsible for paying the rent on the property as well as any damages that occur while you are renting the property.

 

Use a Guarantor Service

If you don’t know anyone who’s prepared to be your guarantor, then there are several companies who can provide this service for you. Prices differ but expect to pay approximately £300 or more depending on your circumstances.

You’ll also be asked to sign a contract or ‘guarantor deed’. Most of these companies will ask you for your ID, salary and require that you earn at least 1.5 times your rent. 

 

Pay Your Rent Upfront

If you don’t feel comfortable with using a guarantor then an alternative option is to pay for your rent in advance. This assumes of course that you can afford to do so. Offering to pay rent up front (usually between 6 and 12 months’ rent) may help you secure your rental. This is how many international students secure places to rent in the UK.

Having this kind of spare cash to hand is probably not going to happen for most young or credit-hampered tenants. So, the other option is to ask a friend or relative to loan you the money to help pay for your rent in advance.

Move into a House Share

Another way to overcome the credit referencing process is to move into a shared property, where the current occupants need to fill a gap left by someone who has moved out. 

As all the tenants in a shared house are jointly responsible for the rent, the landlord or letting agent may let you move in without completing a credit reference, assuming the other tenants agree to this.

Be open and honest

If the landlord or letting agent will be able to see your credit score during the tenant check – be upfront. Tell them what they need to know before they find out!

Being open and honest should always be one of the first steps for those wondering how to rent a house with bad credit. This will make you appear a much more trustworthy and reliable tenant.

Another way of showing you’re a trustworthy and reliable tenant is to provide evidence of your monthly income, proving you’re a responsible person to let to. And, if you’ve rented before, if you can provide references from previous landlords or letting agents then this should help show you as trustworthy. 

Improve your Credit History

Finally you can also improve your credit history, while living in your current accommodation. 

This is where Canopy can help. If you’re already paying rent, then your monthly payments to your landlord can be recognised via our Rent Tracking service, and will be added to your credit history via our partnership with Experian and the Rental Exchange. All you need to do is download the Canopy Renter app from your app store, complete a soft credit check, connect to Open Banking to enable you to securely identify your payments, and start tracking your rent.

You’ll need approximately six to 12 months of rental payments tracked to improve your credit history.

 

 


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