yesilikeburgers asks: “With my current status, will I be able to get past credit and reference checks, and will I be able to rent a flat?”
Question 7 – Will I Be Able To Rent A Flat? – Shownotes
Today’s question comes from yesilikeburgers:
I have been a student for 2 years in the UK and I’m about to start a job in London in September. I’m looking at renting and I’ve been told to stay away from flatshares as I’m very unlikely to be approved in terms of references/credit checks, and I should stick to finding a free room in existing flats. I don’t have anyone who could act as a references for flats, but I also don’t know what qualifies as a reference. I did an Experian check which came out to around 850. With my current status, would I not be able to rent a flat that does these kinds of checks?
Almost all landlords will ask for references and many will also check your credit history.
By doing this, they are essentially trying to cover their backs that you will:
- Pay your rent on time
- Not wreck their flat
In fact, some landlords and their letting agents will ask for up to three references – an employer to confirm income, a previous landlord to see what you’re like as a tenant, and very occasionally a “personal reference” as someone to vouch for your good character (although this is very rare). All this can be is on top of your credit score.
So, there may be some hoops to jump through. However, there are ways around all of these. Let’s take a look at your personal situation.
Firstly, based on your Experian 850 credit score, you should be okay from that angle. However, if you can get your future employer to confirm your income (either through a copy of your contract or from a letter/email from your employer) that will help.
Your issue comes with your lack of reference. The landlord feels a lot safer when they’ve got a tenant who has a good track record of renting. Firstly, think about what evidence you can give your future landlord. You said you’ve been a student for two years in the UK. Given your lack of previous landlord references, I’m guessing that this was in halls of residence? If it was halls of residence, you should be able to find someone (maybe a warden or halls supervisor) to give you a reference that you would make a good tenant because you never burnt down the halls whilst you were staying there!
If you don’t have any of the above (references, proof of income or credit history), then your future landlord will often ask for a guarantor on the rental agreement. This person will become legally liable for the rent payments if you cannot pay it yourself and gives the landlord an extra confidence that they’ll get their money when they should.
To conclude, looking for a free bedroom in existing buildings, or looking for a flat share with others with good references may be the easiest option in your situation. However, I’m pretty sure that if you are upfront with the landlord (especially if you have a guarantor) then you won’t find too many issues looking to rent by yourself.
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