If you are looking to move home soon and do not have enough savings or a good credit score that will allow you to get on the property ladder, you’ll be searching for rented properties to sign up for.

You might be worried that your bad credit score will impact your ability to rent a house in the UK, and this guide is designed to give you all the information you need to understand your rights and options when seeking to rent a new home.

Is There A Credit Check For Renting?

The vast majority of letting agents will carry out a credit check on any application for a rental property.

This is in addition to the wider referencing of the applicant, including income and other screening processes to check whether they believe you can afford to make rental payments consistently and on time. 

What Is A Credit Check?

A credit check is a standard procedure that banks and lenders use to determine how reliable an applicant is and whether they should lend to that person at all, and if so, with what conditions such as the interest rate and payment schedules.

Credit Check

Estate agents sometimes also carry out credit checks before confirming an applicant for a rental property.

Those people with a low credit score might find it more difficult to rent property, but it isn’t the end of the story if you do have bad credit history.

What Can Lettings Agents See On Your Credit File?

When carrying out a credit check on a rental application there are a few things that the agents can view in your publicly available records.

In most cases, they will not be able to see any missed or late payments, but they can see if you have any CCJs or bankruptcies on your credit file, and they can also check if you’re on the electoral roll.

Aside from this a few factors will be checked, such as your employment status and income, proof of identity, references from a previous landlord, and any other addresses where you might have rent arrears or a CCJ.

If you are applying with another person, both of your credit history will be checked.

Is There A Minimum Credit Score For Rental Applications?

There is no minimum credit rating required if you are looking to rent property in the UK. Each individual landlord or lettings agent will make a decision based on their own processes for assessing applicants.

Despite this, the worse your credit rating is, or the worse your history of missing rental payments and other bills is, the less likely it is that you will be successful when applying to rent a property.

A landlord just wants to know if you are a person that they can trust to pay the rent on time, and the higher your credit score is, the more trustworthy you are in that regard.

What Will Impact My Credit Check?

There are a few different things that can influence your credit check. This can help you to understand whether or not you are likely to pass a credit check and to begin to change things for the better if you are likely to fail a rental application due to a bad credit score.

Your Credit Score

The biggest element of the credit check is to see your credit score. Your credit score is made up from a range of factors, including your history of applying for credit cards and loans, a history of whether you have paid back bills on time consistently, as well as how much credit you have taken out in terms of percentage of what’s available to you.

A bad credit score is a red flag to some landlords, although each landlord will have a different threshold that they will consider.

Your Rental History

This is a big one when it comes to rental applications, as in many ways it is more important to a landlord than your overall credit score.

If you have a history of always making rental payments on time and in full, you’ll be good to go. If, however, you have a history of missing payments, and being evicted from properties, you are less likely to be accepted.

Debt-to-income Ratio

If you have a larger level of debt than your income can cover, it is likely that you might struggle to pay your rent every month and maintain payments on your debt. This can have an impact on an application through a lettings agency. 

How To Improve Chances Of Renting With Bad Credit

If you have a poor credit history and you want to rent, don’t worry, there are still some ways in which you can be successful with an application to rent a property. Below are some of the approaches that you can take when you next apply. 

Rent Through A Private Landlord

If you are renting from a private landlord individually, and not dealing with an agency, you might not have to pass a credit check, but you will almost certainly require some references and maybe a guarantor.

Private Landlord

Check with your friends, family, and colleagues to see if anyone can recommend private landlords in your area or use social media and other online platforms to see what is available.

Be Honest About Your Credit Score And History

We would advise that you should never lie or hide anything about your financial history and credit score when applying for a rental property, or any type of credit application for that matter.

If you are completely honest from the outset with an agency or private landlord, it goes that little way to establishing trust and showing how you plan to improve your situation in the future.

Proof Of Income

A proof of income can help you to pass a check during an application for a rental property as it demonstrates that you have regular wages coming into your bank account, whether this is weekly or monthly pay.

This could include your latest payslip, the last three months of bank statements, or your tax returns.

An obvious steady income shows landlords that you have the means to make rental payments on time every month.

Provide References

References from previous landlords, your employer, and personal references can help to demonstrate how reliable you are, even if your credit score is low.

If you have a good relationship with a previous landlord that you rented property from, this will go a long way to helping you secure your next rental home.

Provide A Guarantor?

You might need a guarantor to be confirmed as the new tenant of a rental property. A guarantor is a person who legally agrees to pay your rent if you cannot pay it.

In most cases, this would be a parent or a close relative. If you do not pay your landlord, they can ask your guarantor to pay instead, and if they refuse, it is the guarantor that can be taken to court.

A credit check will be carried out on your guarantor, to ensure they have the means to pay rent in the worst-case scenario when you cannot afford to pay it.

Most landlords prefer a guarantor that lives in the UK, and most guarantors are liable until the end of a tenancy agreement.

Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying For A Rental Property

Improving your credit score is something you should aim to do for the future anyway, but the added bonus here is that the better your credit score, the more appealing you become to a landlord you are attempting to rent property from.

Make sure your information is accurate on your credit files, register to vote as this helps prove your identity and address when going through a credit application, try to limit the percentage you borrow from what’s available to you, and most importantly, make sure you always make payments on time each month to any credit you have outstanding.

If you are struggling with debt, bad credit, and the above does not help you in the immediate future, there is help out there for you from local councils if you are worried about homelessness.

As you can see, we’ve answered the question of whether or not you can rent a property in the UK with bad credit.

Even those people with the worst credit score and rental history have options open to them when it comes to finding somewhere to live.

There are many people out there with bad credit, and plenty of people looking to either move home or rent a property for the first time.

They are not excluded from finding a place to live, though with a poor credit score and credit history, it does make things a little harder than if you were looking to rent a house or an apartment with a good credit score and respectable renting history.

Don’t be disheartened if you do have poor credit, the above tips and guidance should help you see what options there are open to you.