5 Tips For Renting with Bad Credit in the UK

Are you looking for housing in London but running into issues with credit checks? Check out these tips that you may not know about!
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Two years ago, renters in London had it made: many renters left London due to the pandemic, leading to the lowest rents in nearly a decade. But today, the tables have turned against renters—and not only in London. Rents increased everywhere in the UK during September, and finding a new rental is becoming exceedingly hard across the country, with queues of prospective tenants waiting to pounce on any available unit or house. Why is that?

Why is Renting in the UK so Hard Right Now?

The challenges renters are facing right now aren’t isolated. They’re another symptom of the UK’s unstable economic climate. With energy prices increasing, the pound reeling, and inflation standing well-above the Bank of England’s ideal 2%, landlords are feeling the pinch too, and they’re passing the costs on to renters.

To compound the impacts of inflation, mortgage rates have been rising and aren’t expected to stop anytime soon. Landlords with mortgages may be trying to recover those expenses by raising rents, and those who might have been purchasing homes are choosing to continue renting until mortgage rates stabilise.

Can You Rent With Bad Credit?

Renting is arguably harder now than it’s ever been in the UK, and these challenges are even more pronounced for renters with bad credit. However, it is possible to rent with bad credit.

How to Rent With Bad Credit

To rent with bad credit, you have to be persistent and stay on the lookout for the right opportunities. For the best chances of success, try taking some of the following steps:

Find a Private Landlord

If you have poor credit, it’s best to avoid agents or formal renting agencies. Unless you meet their requirements, these firms will most likely deny your application. However, private landlords may have less rigid requirements, and may not even run a credit check if you’re working a stable job and have a consistent income.

To find a private landlord, check the classified sections of local free papers, listings on Gumtree, or rentals on Facebook Marketplace. While finding a private landlord is one of the best ways to rent when you have bad credit, be cautious while doing so. If a listing seems too good to be true, it probably is—the last thing you need when trying to find a rental is to get scammed in a phishing scheme.

Make an Offer the Landlord Can’t Refuse

While landlords can only legally accept five weeks’ rent as a tenancy deposit, they can accept more in rent upfront. If a landlord is wary of your credit, offering to pay a few months of rent in advance can help put them at ease.

However, it’s still important to do your due diligence. If a landlord isn’t current on their mortgage payment, and their property (and your apartment) get repossessed, you could find yourself in a tough situation.

Show Proof of a Stable Income

Credit is important for renting, but at the end of the day, it’s arguably more important to have a stable income. Being able to demonstrate that you have a steady income and job that will allow you to pay the monthly rent is vital for renting with bad credit.

Consider leading with this information when contacting private landlords, and offer to submit proof of income and pay stubs. Offering this information up front shows that you’re trustworthy and transparent, and could result in the landlord skipping a credit check altogether.

Talk to Your Local Council About Renting with Bad Credit

There are a few ways that a local council can help you out if you are trying to rent with bad credit. Contact them and ask about the following:

  • Ask if they have a bond guarantee scheme (also known as a rent deposit scheme). Essentially your local council might be able to help cover the cost of your deposit with a bond that you can pay back over time.
  • Work smarter, not harder: ask if your council has a list of accredited landlords and start by contacting these individuals. Some councils even have a list of accredited landlords that have current vacancies.
  • Ask to be added to a rental vacancy waiting list with your local council. This option may take a while depending on where you are looking to rent, so keep pursuing rentals through private landlords in the meantime.

Take Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Finally, understand that finding a private landlord, offering several months of rent in advance, consulting with your local council and more can only do so much. Ultimately, the best way to find better housing and rental deals is to improve your credit score. In fact, an ‘excellent’ credit score could save you tens of thousands of pounds over your lifetime.

To see how much a better credit score could save you, try our free calculator today.

Other actions you can take to improve your credit include:

Stop Renting With Bad Credit — Start Improving Your Score Today

When trying to rent with bad credit, you’re going to face rejection. Some landlords will simply be unwilling to rent to you if you don’t meet their credit requirement. However, many landlords simply want tenants in their units, as an unoccupied flat isn’t bringing in any money, so don’t let a few rejections stop you from ringing the next landlord.

With that said, building your credit and improving your credit score will make finding housing significantly easier. However, it can be hard to know where to start building credit, and that’s why we made Pave. The Pave app helps you build your credit score through bills monitoring, active credit building, and personalised credit fixes. To start building your credit today, download Pave from the App Store or Google Play today.