Can a letting agent see my credit report?

Dear James,

I have been a CreditExpert member in the past but am no longer. I am thinking of renting a property and the agent is going to do a credit check. What will they actually get to know about me?

Margaret, New Milton

Dear Margaret,

Landlords and letting agents can carry out an Experian tenant check. This can include information from your credit report along with employee and landlord references, and affordability checks. The information landlords and agents can see from your credit report is limited to publicly available records, including court judgments and insolvency records.  They cannot see information about your credit commitments, such as credit cards, loans and mobile phone contracts. If you reactivate your CreditExpert membership or order a free statutory Experian credit ceport you can see public records that could be provided to landlords.

You may be interested to learn that many housing providers in the social sector are now sharing rent payment information with Experian through the Rental Exchange, an initiative developed with the Big Issue Invest. Private tenants can also sign up to the scheme through our joint initiative with Credit Ladder. Rental payment data can be recorded once you sign up to the scheme and will begin appearing on credit reports by the end of 2017.  It can also strengthen tenants’ credit histories because lenders will be able to use this information as evidence of tenants’ creditworthiness, which could help to level the playing field between tenants and mortgage payers.  Information about mortgage payments has been included in credit reports for many years and the Rental Exchange recognises the regular payments made by tenants in a similar way.

Encouragingly, Experian’s analysis of 160,000 social housing tenants found that a massive 72% stand to benefit from an improved credit score if their rent payments were added to their credit histories, while 20% will see no change. Private tenants will see huge benefits too, because 98% of people pay their rent on time, according to a major private rental sector letting agent we spoke to.

This article provides more information on the Rental Exchange for private tenants. (November 2013, updated April 2018)

James Sign

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