Reference check anxiety

Hello all, I am new to renting and I just wanted to know with the reference/credit/life check how deep do they go? I have no CCJ’s or bankruptcy but I have a late payment on my mobile phone bill three times in 2016 and my credit card is maxed out, and I was late on two payments on a loan.
These issues have effected my credit score so will it stop me from renting? I earn well over what is asked and would really know if I will be turned down on the reference check because of this.

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If you are ,then explain all this to the landlord best always to be upfront


I wouldn’t know if you will be turned down but it’s not just what you earn it’s life style too so if you are spending more than you have coming in with maxed out credit cards would have thought someone may question things somewhere down the line.


Mr t makes a good point a bad credit score will always catch up with you… i dont have a good credit score, so I am told, because I dont have a credit card and so have not borrowed ever on one . I dont even use my debit card very much. Never be behind on a payment ,it will be recorded somewhere… You may find a landlord who only considers earnings. (I am not one of them)


A lot of landlords wanting to see a few months worth of bank statements too these days.


yes I’ve been honest I’ve sent in 3 months bank statements and my credit card is £500. I am just worried like I said about the credit check with this late payments in 2016.

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Hi Angela
The check has been a worry for me too. Some landlords/estate agents won’t progress my application without a Guarantor, but that’s fine. I’m just having to choose others.

I’m just being honest with them when they write and ask for more details about my Defaulted loan & Credit card., Just be honest and positive about it, because it might just save your holding deposit if you ever get to that stage and they opt for someone else instead of you.

Good luck!


Maxing out credit cards and missing payments can ring lifestyle alarm bells to a landlord regardless of how much you earn. Be careful.

@Angela25 as @Colin3 said the best option is you, to be honest with your landlord and or agency tell them what is affecting your credit score beforehand.
My credit score is a mess because of my ex, and I was refused by the reference, but I show to my landlord all the reason for my bad record, also that all my utility bills and the rent were all on time never late. He was satisfied and happy with it. He accepted me anyway on trust and didn’t ask me for any guarantor, etc… and I’ve been there for a year and a half…


Looking at a recent OpenRent reference, you see any CCJs, bankruptcy stuff, an ‘Equifax Risk Score’, and they validate your salary with your employer.

It sounds like the area you’d worry about is the Equifax score - you can get a free credit check from them directly (it’s free for 30 days then you need to cancel it)

If you earn well over what you need why have you not paid off your credit card? Especially if you think that would cause you problems.

It does seem like whilst on paper you earn enough you are actually struggling?

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In these corvid timesI imagine any landlord will be overjoyed just to see you

Key will be any late/missing LL rents!
Doctor David Noble


If you read again, my dates state 2016, it still shows on my credit report.
So I was just asking if it will effect my references.

I’m not struggling but thanks for caring.

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My issues were in 2016, they are still showing in my credit report so was worried that this will stop me from renting.

they last six years
If you default whilst its active it continues

If you have a 2 yr min LL reference of similar rent
If you have income that fits,and, a employer reference to match

You will have lots of choice
Many LL have empty flats right now

Try contacting directly
NOT through " letting agents" of which there are many who will eventually be struck off!


Thank you for this information David.

Hi Angela Just yesterday 23/9/20 I went through this same issue with something registered from 2016. Which unfortunately I knew nothing about. Not my debt, it was my ex husband. Anyway!!

  1. Firstly all debt registered, stays on your credit report for 6 years. If you clear the debt, this will show on ur credit report as Satisfied, and you can get a certificate which can be shown to the LL

  2. The worse scenario is the LL could ask you to pay more deposit up front for example 3 to 6 months Upfront. However with this Covid, you will be able to negotiate with a LL’s as no one will have for example if they want rent plus 6 months deposit, that depending on your weekly rent, you could be anywhere from £8,000 + which is totally crazy. I was honest with my LL and luckily, got it this reduced to 3 months up front.

  3. There is a web sight called check my files. It checks all 6 credit reference agents nothing missed. It’s excellent. Link below

Hope this helps. My happy ending is,I’m moving into a brand new flat. This LL will love me as I’m super OCD and it will looked after the flat in the way it’s given to me because I appreciate, I’m grateful and I respect people homes. ( there are not many people out there with my attitude which is worth more than 3 months rent upfront believe me) :blush:

LL realise a lot of the time that most people who have or had pass credit issue,are the ones who keep up with their rent and will stay long term because it’s hard to find a LL who will accept you.

Good Luck and remember your past always catches up with you so sort it out Don’t ignore it.


It’s not fair because one late payment gets registered on your credit score and reduces your score dramatically.l hope this inaccurate system get scrapped off one day.

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Credit checks are pretty thorough as they tap into a range of different systems such as electoral register, loans, credit card and mortgage accounts that are open, start date and loan amounts. Any accounts you have closed in the last 6 years are included, current account overdrafts, previous applications, any joint accounts you may have now or in the past, missed repayments and number of times, debt history including bankruptcy, CCJs and identity fraud.

So its not something you can circumvent you can only mitigate these areas over time and so being up front with a landlord and showing evidence of how you are resolving credit issues will demonstrate your financial responsibility and more likely for the landlord to accept your tenancy as it is the Landlord who has all the risk of mortgage repayments and rent arrears. In my view the worst thing a tenant can do is not pay their rent as they will face eventual court action for eviction and reimbursement of rent arrears under a legal contract. So as well as being forced onto a repayment plan, or their debt handed to bailiffs their credit score will tumble.

One more point is that any Landlord just accepting pay slips as evidence of a potential tenants ability to meet the rent is throwing caution to the wind. Expecting to see 3 months worth of bank statements as well as the credit check report is vital to identify ‘outgoings’ as well as income, such as loan repayments, credit card payments and overdrafts to see if the prospective tenants are living beyond their means. They should make no apologies for such rigor as their btl investment, personal savings and credit history are at stake.


By the way Caroline16, landlords are legally restricted to charging only the equivalent of 5 weeks rent as security deposit so I would take this up with the LL who would also be pulled up by the Deposit Protection Service when registering it which they have to do within 30 days of start of tenancy. Arrangements for paying 3-6 months rent up front are also risky as the tenant may not have the financial means to meet the rent thereafter.