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what do estate agents look for when doing a credit check?
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# 1
Old 01-06-2009, 11:03 PM
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Question what do estate agents look for when doing a credit check?


i'm looking to move out, i currently live with my parents but need to move in with my boyfriend as i am pregnant and looked into renting and shared ownership. we viewed a property that would be perfect, 485 a month, and we would have to pay a months rent in advance and 585 deposit which we were fine with, but as we have both always lived with our parents we just presumed we would need references, so we asked the estate agent what we would need and she said they don't do references but charge 175 for a credit check, which is a lot to pay even if we were to pass it, but we're worried we won't pass and it's a lot of money to lose with a baby on the way!

i have checked my credit score on experian and it is 303 which it says is in the very poor category, i'm only 18 so haven't had any loans or anything to give me good credit, i have a contract phone and i also got a laptop on contract but the direct debit didn't go out the first month and they sent me a letter saying if i didn't pay it immediatley my name would be blacklisted, it was payed the next day over the phone but i have a feeling this is why my score is so low because of this. my boyfriend is yet to check his credit score, he has loans and a credit card but he pays them off on time every month. we are both in full time employment and i will be going back to full time work 9 months after i've had the baby. so i was just wondering if the estate agents are going to turn us down because of my low score, like i said it's a lot of money to pay if we pass, but if they turn us down it's a lot of money to lose, and i'm under the understanding that a lot of estate agents do credit checks now?!

please help!! many thanks
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# 2
Old 02-06-2009, 12:01 AM
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Most Estate Agents do credit checks now. I suspect the reason your credit score is low is because you have little credit history, not that your record is bad. It's unlikely that the contract for the laptop has created a black mark if the payment was late rather than missed altogether. Was it missed?

Your boyfriend may not have a bad record but it all depends on what his debts are compared to earnings. You say he pays his loan and credit cards off every month: did you mean he pays the balance or makes the minimum payments on time?
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# 3
Old 02-06-2009, 9:27 AM
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A credit check is simply where an estate agency contracts with a credit agency to search your record and produce a recommendation as to whether you are credit-worthy enough to rent the property.

The 'credit score' you see from the agencies is not necessarily the one that you will be judged on by others. Everyone has their own scoring method, they just get basic data from your credit record to produce it.

Things it will pick up include what credit accounts you have, how much credit you have access to, if you are registered on the electoral roll at the address (massively important, you are probably missing this), if you have any missed credit payments, if you are associated (as joint signatories) to any people with poor credit history, if you have any CCJs against you.

Checks for housing are probably more concerned with you not being a credit delinquent than having access to a vast pool of credit already, so don't be too scared.

175 is a rip-off for checks. Even here in London I have never paid that much. The true cost is anything from 20-50, I have see LAs charge 40-80. If that figure is not just credit but includes all the various admin it's in a much more normal range (I think the practice is unfair, but let's not get into that debate now).

If you used experian *properly* then you would know what black marks you have. There is a service called creditexpert which shows you your actual credit record, including all credit accounts linked to you and any missed payments.

There is also a web tool on their site (or there certainly used to be) that estimates your credit score from a series of questions - this is just a generic thing and is nothing to do with you personally, so it's next to useless and is really only a marketing tool for credit expert, so if you used that, ignore it.

As pointed out here on MSE you can get a free trial of creditexpert.

Almost all LAs will do credit checks.

I very much doubt your missed payment will be an issue and it sounds like your partner will be fine from what you have said.

Finally, if you do not pass a credit check then you can often ask a guarantor to be put forward which can resolve the situation.
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# 4
Old 02-06-2009, 10:50 AM
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Wow 175 is a bit much!!! I paid 100 and that was between 2 of us for all admin costs.

The credit check is to just basically look at what your earning and if you have any CCJs or if your bankrupt. If you fail this they may ask you to provide a guarentor which is someone with a mortgage who will stand behind you and is liable to pay and arrears if you cant x
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# 5
Old 02-06-2009, 11:14 AM
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Our lettings side of the business on their credit check only look to see if your on the electoral role where you currently live and if you have ccj's and that's about it. If it does come back a bit 'wobbly' they can always ask for employers reference, saying that you are in full time employment, or as someone else said make you provide a guarantor. Not everybody wants to be one, though could ask family, as they would be liable if you missed any payments
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# 6
Old 12-06-2009, 6:56 PM
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i'm a bit nervous about a LA check too. Me and my OH (not married) have seen a property we want to let and will be progressing with the letting agents credit checks ...BUT...i have a dicky credit history from years ago 9-12 years prob.... I earn average wage now and have been in same full time job for 8 years...OH earns double what i earn and is home owner on annother property.... do you think my possible dicky credit report will scupper our chances of getting the property or will my other half in effect be the gurarantor anyway???
should have mentioned that we are currently renting but through private landlord who never did any checks...
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# 7
Old 12-06-2009, 7:13 PM
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Are you paying rent in advance? Yes? Then they are not providing you with credit and the sole purpose of the 'credit check' is to charge you the fee! It's a tenant's market right now. Rent privately from a landlord and you won't have to pay this unjustified fee. The credit check - even if the agent actually does it - will not say how much you earn, where you work etc.

Last edited by bristol_pilot; 12-06-2009 at 7:16 PM.
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# 8
Old 12-06-2009, 8:00 PM
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FYI re. Credit Checks: The Scottish Association of Landlords quotes (in this months magazine) 30 for a "Comprehensive reference for each Person" from a company called KeySafe.

I reckon that is about the typical price for a reference, @

charge from 15:88 upwards

So if an Agent wants much-much more he's probably an evil money-sucking a***sole.... Of course I could be wrong & he's really a charming and honest businessman just trying to earn a small crust.

Sadly the answer to your question "What do EAs look for when doing a credit check" is, all too often, a bleedin' great profit from some poor mug's fees

Cheers & sorry!

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# 9
Old 13-06-2009, 2:51 PM
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50 each we are getting charged!! checked my credit score on experian thingy last night cos i was worried about it hampering my chances of getting the property i'd seen and its actually classed as "good" :confused:- score of >900! Hope this is good enough!!!!
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# 10
Old 13-06-2009, 2:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bristol_pilot View Post
Are you paying rent in advance? Yes? Then they are not providing you with credit and the sole purpose of the 'credit check' is to charge you the fee! It's a tenant's market right now. Rent privately from a landlord and you won't have to pay this unjustified fee. The credit check - even if the agent actually does it - will not say how much you earn, where you work etc.
We once mentioned this to a LA just to see what the reaction was - we weren't the slightest bit interested in the property so we thought we'd have a bit of fun. The expression on the agent's face was priceless, they looked at us like we'd fallen off the moon and said that if we were going to be 'difficult' then we wouldn't get the house. Just for good measure we said that we wanted the LL to be credit checked and we'd like to see six month's worth of bank statements from him just to make sure he was paying the mortgage. They couldn't get away from us fast enough

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# 11
Old 14-06-2009, 6:35 PM
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Hi would it be cheaper for just your partner to be credit checked and the lease be solely in his name. When my OH and I rented the lease was only in his name and I was just a named person on the agreement it depends if your EA will let you do this. We did it because it was cheaper just to have one tenant instead of two. For everything including arranging the contract it was 60 for two people it was double this. This maybe a way round it if one of you has a poor credit rating.
Moved in 12/09 Mortgage 126K

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