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How to improve your credit score whilst renting

If you’re looking at renting in Brighton and Hove, make sure you keep an eye out on our properties to rent in the city as we add new rentals regularly.

An important aspect of renting in Brighton and Hove, or anywhere for that matter, is your ‘credit score’, or ‘credit rating’ as it may also be known.

This article will explain what a credit score is, why it is important and ways you can improve it.

What is a credit score?

A ‘credit score’ or ‘credit rating’ is a tool that lenders and other organisations use to see if you’re creditworthy or not. This helps them calculate the risk involved in lending you money, for example loans, mortgages or other forms of credit such as rental agreements.

In the UK, there are three major credit reference agencies; Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, who hold a copy of your credit file. Landlords can request information about your credit rating from these bureaus.

Why is it important to Landlords?

Landlords check tenants credit history for several reasons, mostly to make sure you can afford the repayments. They want to avoid you missing payments, falling into debt and as a result, the need for eviction.

If the credit check shows that you’ve had issues with missed payments in the past, then there is a chance they won’t accept you as a tenant. However, this information is only a guideline and there is no minimal rating required to rent property in Brighton and Hove.

Some landlords may ask for upfront rental payments or ask for you to name a person you know to act as a guarantor, such as a friend or family member.

If you’re keen on renting in Brighton or Hove, do get in touch with us to discuss how we can help make this a reality, or to discuss your credit score further.

How can I find out what my credit score currently is?

The most trusted Companies in which you can sign up to online, that will automatically assign your score and track your monthly score for you include Experian and Equifax. You’ll be asked a number of questions to confirm your identity however once it’s set up it’s a brilliant way for you to monitor your score yourself, and make changes.

Top 5 ways to improve your credit score

There are many practical ways you can improve your credit score over time. Here are our top 5 quick and simple ways to do this. 

1) Register to vote

Did you know that not being on the electoral roll makes it much harder to get credit?

You can sign up for free at anytime via gov.uk and follow the simple instructions to register.

Being on the electoral roll can be a way of improving your credit score, but even where it isn’t, not being on the register can lead to unnecessary delays. This is because lenders also use it to check your address and to confirm your identity.

2) Set up direct debits for your payments

This may be obvious to some, but whether you’re struggling or not, setting up direct debits can ensure you don’t accidently miss payments which can have a disproportionate impact on your credit rating.

You can set up direct debits to pay the minimum repayment amount, then top the payments up monthly if you can afford to. This way you wont be late or miss any monthly repayments.

Missing payments once or twice can have a big impact on your credit rating, especially if it has been within the past 12 months.

3) Think carefully about who you are ‘financially linked to.’

If you are financially linked to someone, whether that’s through joint bills with your flat mate, or a loan with your ex-partner, their files can be looked at when deciding whether to accept you, meaning you are co-scored.

Therefore, if your flatmate or partner has poor spending history, keep your finances, where possible separate to protect your credit score.

If you split up with someone, it is a good idea to make sure your finances are no longer linked; you can do this by writing to the credit reference agencies and asking for a notice of disassociation. This will stop their credit history affecting yours in the future – although you will probably have to pay back any loans before a notice will be given.

4) Timing is key!

Every time you apply for credit, a ‘footprint’ is left on your file for a year. Too many applications in a short period of time can make you look desperate and can indicate to a lender that you might be poor at managing your finances.

It’s a good idea to think of borrowing money as spending, and questioning whether it’s really necessary at that moment in time.

For example, if you’re looking at renting in Brighton and Hove next month, it may be worth holding off applying for that mobile phone contract until after you’ve moved, just to keep your credit footprint to a minimum and help your credit rating when you need it most.

It’s worth noting that credit applications stay on your file for one year, and county court judgements or bankruptcy for six years. If you’re near the end of those, it may be worth holding off applying for credit until that time is up.

5) Changed your address in the past?

Having the wrong address on your files can have a negative impact on your credit score.

For example, if you had an old credit card that you don’t use any more, but it’s still listed as active, then check the address is your current one.

We recommend going through all of your current and previous bills to check that the address registered is your current one. This could help to save any unnecessary (and costly) issues when renting in Brighton and Hove.

How can Young Lee help?

At Young Lee, we are always happy to answer any questions you have on Estate Agency in Brighton, so just get in touch if you want to know more.

Don’t forget, you can view all of our current properties available to rent in Brighton and Hove.

Get in touch with us today on 01273 005599 or email lettings@young-lee.co.uk.

Please note if you are after financial advice, you may be best speaking to Citizens Advice or finding a local financial advisor in your area.

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