What credit score is needed for renting a house?
Published Sun, Sep 9, 2012 Updated Tue, Mar 2, 2021
Like with so many things in life, when you commit to renting a house or flat your will be asked for a credit check. If you have little credit history or bad credit you might be worried that you will not be accepted. So what are the minimum requirements?
Your landlord obviously wants to know that you can and will pay the rent on time each month for the duration of the contract. But when you rent, you aren’t actually taking out any credit, and if you pay in time you will never be in debt to your landlord.
Actual requirements vary from landlord to landlord but generally speaking the bigger and more ‘established’ the company managing the property is, the stricter they are likely to be.
If you rent a house privately from an individual landlord it is possible that you won’t even need a credit check, and even if you do have a credit check a poor credit rating doesn’t necessarily spell disaster.
What is the landlord looking for?
Any prospective landlord just wants to be reassured that you can pay the rent, because if you can’t afford it they might have to pay to evict you and then find a new tenant. That’s the extent of their risk.
If you have little credit history then that shouldn’t be an issue for most landlords. But if you have a history of defaults and not paying your debts, this is much more likely to cause concern – remember, the landlord’s main concern is having to chase you for rent!
The better your credit, the more credible your application will look, and if you don’t have much credit history you will probably have to prove that your income is sufficient to cover your rent. If you have a steady job this shouldn’t be an issue.
If you don’t have a big income (if you’re a student for instance) then often talking to the landlord might help, you could also offer to pay a higher deposit or even pay a few months in advance (if you have the money).
Remember that your landlord wants to rent out his/her property, so he/she will want to make things work. Landlords want good tenants too, who will look after the property, so if you can convince him/her that you will do so, you will have a much better chance.