Renting with bad credit

author image-chloe
By Chloe Dickenson
Updated on Thursday 17 August 2023

Credit score gauge

Renting a property is something that many people choose if they want to get their own place but they’re not quite financially ready to get a mortgage for their own home.

It can be a great way to move into your own space, without having the financial responsibility of actually being on the property ladder.

However, there are still a few financial conditions attached when it comes to renting and one of those is the fact that landlords and private letting agents will want to know more information about your credit score to see whether they think you’ll be eligible to make your rental payments on time.

If your credit score isn’t in the best shape, you might be worried about trying to rent with bad credit. In our guide below, we discuss how people with bad credit can rent a property, how to check your credit file and whether you can find estate agents that don’t do credit checks. 

How to check credit score UK

Before you even attempt to rent a property in the UK, you should get a better idea of your credit file and credit score to see whether you’d be in a suitable position to be able to rent a property.

There are several credit reference agencies that offer credit score check services such as Checkmyfile, Experian and TransUnion. While it’s perfectly acceptable to just check your score with one credit reference agency, it’s a good idea to check with multiple as different creditors report to different agencies, so your score may differ slightly between each agency and you’ll need to cross-reference them to make sure there are no mistakes on your credit file.

(30-day FREE trial with Checkmyfile, then £14.99 thereafter - cancel anytime)

Can you rent with bad credit?

Renting with bad credit is different from renting with no credit score at all. For example, if you’ve just turned 18 and you have no credit history or a thin credit file, you may still be able to rent a property, it just might be more difficult to prove to a landlord or letting agency that you are able to pay your bills on time.

However, if you have a bad credit history and your credit score is poor, you may have to look into several other options that will allow you to rent a property.

How to rent with bad credit

The below tips on how to rent with bad credit applies to people with a bad credit rating and those who have no credit history.

Find a guarantor

One of the most common ways to rent a house or apartment if you have a bad credit score is to find a guarantor.

A guarantor is someone who commits to paying your rent if you’re unable to, plus any other associated costs with renting a property if you’re not able to pay your bills on time. 

This could be a family member, friend or even a private guarantor service and this option can work for many people who are not able to rent a property on their own due to bad credit history.

The downside to getting someone to be your guarantor, especially if they’re a close family member or a friend, is that it could potentially jeopardise your relationship if you’re unable to pay your rent on time every month and you’re constantly relying on them for help.

Pay your rent in advance

Another option for renting with bad credit is to offer to pay a chunk of your rent in advance. Many landlords will require you to put a deposit down anyway when you rent a property, but you could also offer to pay a larger chunk of money towards your rent if you’re able to.

Having a bad credit rating doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have any money now, it just shows that you’ve not paid your bills on time in the past or you’ve had to take out loans due to lack of funds. However, if you’re in a better financial position now, but you still have bad credit, you can offer to pay a lump sum of your rent in advance, such as 3 months, 6 months or even a full year’s worth of rental payments, so that your landlord knows you’re able to pay them.

Rent a property with a friend who has a good credit score

One option you might consider is renting a property with a friend or family member who has a good credit score. This way, they can get all the property documents in their name so the landlord or letting agency can see they're able to make their payments on time, but you can still live with them and pay your share of the rent to them.

Search for private landlords with no credit checks

While this option isn’t always very common, you may be able to find a rental property listing from a landlord who won’t perform credit checks.

These circumstances are usually rare, but if a landlord is struggling to find someone to move into their rental property, they may be in a rush to get someone in straight away and therefore, they might be willing to forgo the credit check process.

Work on improving your credit score

If you’re not happy with any of the above options but still want to work towards renting a property with bad credit, you can spend some time working on improving your credit score before you move into a rental property so that you’re in a better position when you come to apply for a rental property.

What is an acceptable credit score for renting in the UK?

There isn’t one universal credit score that is deemed acceptable for renting in the UK as each individual landlord will have their own thoughts and ideas on what they think is an acceptable score. 

Therefore, if you want to rent with a bad credit history, enquiring with different landlords is probably the best idea to see whether you’d be eligible to rent.

Latest News