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Credit Checks and renting

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887 views 2 replies latest reply: 21 May 2015
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Tenant

Me and my husband currently live in a one bed house. We are both in our early thirties, both have full time long term secure employment with a joint take home salary of £70k in the South East of England. We have been living together in rented property for the last 3 years and both of us have perfect rental history for around 10 years each in total and have been really good tenants. We decided that we wanted to find a bigger property as we want to start thinking about a family. Now, unfortunalty I do not have a great credit history (credit card debts from a previous abusive relationship taken out in my name) and recently found out that I have a CCJ on my account for a relatively small amount,  my husbands credit score is excellent and we have no finacial conections in that respect. So we thought, same as has been the case before, that getting a property would not be a problem and worst case we have a garentor. Turns out we where wrong.

We found a property and advised the letting agent of the credit issue before doing anything further, we found a property and put down a holding fee. Independant credit checks where carried out on both of us,  mine came back as a failure, no suprise there, what did come as a shock was that my partners credit check came back as a failure too! When the letting agent informed us, my husband downloaded his credit report off from all three major credit agencies and emailed them over to the letting agent. They looked into the system and it turns out that, If one person fails in a credit check the system fails them both, however, all other checks came back perfect and the letting agent armed with the correct info to pass on to the Landlord did not see a problem. We passed the affordability just on my husbands salary alone, his credit was perfect and we have a garentor if need be. It was left with the landlord and we had to wait. 

A week later the landlord came back to the letting agent to state that she was not willing to let the property as she had been told that people with bad credit ratings must be in debt and are unlikely to pay the rent!.. Now I know she does not know me but I could not help but take this personally. Even if creditors choose to take my whole salary each month, my partners salary alone would pass the affordability and we had the backing of a garentor if need be.

We have decided to stay a little longer in our current property, but to be honest I am worried!It is far to small for children we work hard, earn good money and have never defaulted on rent. The letting agent advised that he would contact us if any thing came up as they have a number of landlords with multiple properties who are not worried about credit checks.

All I want is a nice home that I can have a family with enough space for them in a reasonable street or area, we have worked so hard and struggled all our lives to get somewhere and I am honestly concearned that if my current landlord asked us to leave we would end up on the street, or in some slum house that has been neglected by the landlord in a bad area. We can afford to pay our way in life so why should we end up like this. It also concearns me that more and more properties in the south east seem to be being let for professional couples and stating no children. i even saw one avertised as a lovely family 3 bed home in a lovely community,  then go on to state, no Children! My concearn is that once a child comes along it will be even harder to secure a property. I really dont know what to do and am genuinely conceared.

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Administrator

Hi Sarah

This is incredibly frustrating for you because it’s mainly ignorance on the part of the landlord that means you’re not being considered for the property. The way most ASTs are drafted these days means that if one tenant couldn’t pay their share of the rent the other tenant(s) would be liable for it so if your husband can cover rent alone, practically speaking, there shouldn’t be a problem. The trouble is landlords have so much choice when it comes to tenants and if it’s a choice between two perfect sets of tenants but one of them has a credit issue, guess which one they’re going to opt for.

However, it’s worth pointing out that not all agents or landlords suffer from this kind of blinkeredness and more and more people have had debt problems so your issue is more common now than it used to be. I don’t think you will always find this to be the case. The children issue is one that has been raised on here before – the lack of affordable housing in the UK is something we have blogged about and is the reason that families, who in years gone by would have bought by the time they considered children, are now stuck a the whims of a rental indsutry that is really not designed for families. It’s something that can only be changed by demanding a rental sector that is designed for long term, family renters, which is something you can speak to your MP about.

I think all you can do is take all necessary steps to mend your credit record (it’s six years before a CCJ is wiped right?) and try not to get downhearted when you come across agents or landlords who are swift to judge. As I said, not all will be the same and I’m sure you can still find a great rented property that will take children – I hope you do.

Alex

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Tenant

Things in the rental sector have certainly changed over the last few years and not for the good! When we moved to our current hom nine years ago it was an easy process even though we were moving 200 miles and my wife had not yet started her new job. My income at the time was quite low and my credit record and my wife didn’t have a credit record. Yet we sailed through the referencing and had no problems since.

Now we have to move and we have already been turned down by one landlord just on the basis of my wife being on a probationary period in a new job and me being self employed.

My advice to you Sarah is to buy rather than rent. That may seem like a crazy thing to say and I would certainly have thought so myself just a few years ago but look at your situation. Your made to feel like your almost having to beg to rent a place and pay someone elses mortgage. It’s all about security. If you buy your own house, no matter how modest it may be at least you don’t have to worry about being given notice to move or having to decide if you should start a family or not.

If you can stay where you are for now then look at the governments help to buy scheme. You only need to put up 5% and you can get yourselves a home that will be more than enough to start a family. Save up maybe 10-12k and give up renting for good. That’s what we intend to do. This next rental will definitely be our last as we are not going to find ourselves in this situation ever again.

Best of luck to you and your partner.

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