We are currently viewing flats for rental. Generally going through agencies at the moment.

In order to apply for a rental property the agency obviously needs to run a credit check. They charge around £30 for this, per person. They do assure you that it only needs done once, but I'm not sure if we would need to pay that for every agency that we go through. The £30 is paid whether your application is successful or not.

We have decided that we'd like to skip this step by getting our own credit reports sorted. This would save us money and allow us to go through the application process much faster (where we live, houses get swept up VERY quickly).

So what is our best option for a credit report that we can provide to any letting agency? On the main website I'm looking at the £2 Statutory Report. Is that really all we need or do the agencies get a different report?

  • Could you clarify whether the £30 is just for a credit report, or also includes the other things that landlords normally check (including employment status, income, immigration status, CCJs, and previous addresses)? – Steve Melnikoff Jun 14 '17 at 15:58
  • I don't know. Going by what you've said, I assume that it's the latter as this will be run for the landlord. The agency acting on their behalf. – Jamsandwich Jun 15 '17 at 7:03
  • @SteveMelnikoff - silly question: Does the credit report not include CCJs and previous addresses? (And immigration status may be settled by a passport in many cases?) – nsandersen Jun 15 '17 at 10:37
  • @nsandersen: CCJs/addresses: as part of the full referencing service provided by a number of companies: yes. For the £2 statutory one: I don't know, but it doesn't matter, because other details certainly aren't included (e.g. a letter from the tenant's employer, confirming their salary). Re immigration: that's true; and there's a gov't website for checking those for whom a passport isn't enough. – Steve Melnikoff Jun 15 '17 at 11:30

There are (at least) two reasons why the letting agents may insist that they carry out the check (and charge you for it):

  1. The £2 statutory credit report only covers credit-related matters. However, the typical checks for prospective tenants also cover employment status, income, immigration status (now a legal requirement), county court judgements, and previous addresses. If needed, they also cover guarantors.

  2. If the landlord intends to take out rent guarantee insurance, insurers often have a whitelist of referencing companies whose reports that they will accept. So even if you found a referencing company to provide your reference for less than £30, there's no guarantee that the landlord would accept it.

  • I can guarantee you this employment status, income, immigration status check willn't come for £30. I am pretty sure the agents are trying to scam £30 for credit check only. The OP only mentions about credit check too. – DumbCoder Jun 14 '17 at 15:51
  • @DumbCoder: It's possible; I've asked the OP to clarify. FWIW, Experian do all the above except the immigration check for precisely £30 - but that's the price for private landlords. I'd imagine that the price for letting agents may well be lower (the website doesn't say). – Steve Melnikoff Jun 14 '17 at 16:00
  • Your answer makes sense given the details you've given. I would hesitate to say that the agents are attempting a scam with this cost. It appears to be standard practice amongst all of the (reputable) local agencies. On the plus side, it only needs to be paid once. I believe we get a copy of the report that they receive. I just wanted to see if we could speed up the application process. – Jamsandwich Jun 15 '17 at 7:08
  • it only needs to be paid once. No if the deal fails through and you go to a new agent, the cycle starts again. I believe we get a copy of the report that they receiveThe chances are near to zero that they will share the report with you, but no harm in asking. And the use of the word scam isn't to be taken literally. Scamming you means they are charging you £30 for something which costs them next to nothing. – DumbCoder Jun 15 '17 at 8:06
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    Another reason why letting agents may not accept a £2 report: only by pulling it themselves can they be certain that it's accurate -- what you show them may have been "edited" to make it look better. (I'm not saying the OP would, or that £30 is a fair charge, but it's an excuse I could see them using). – TripeHound Jun 15 '17 at 13:22

In order to apply for a rental property the agency obviously needs to run a credit check

No you don't need to do that. Only when your offer has been accepted do the checks need to be done and not before that. Whoever told you to do it before even you have liked a property is scamming you for your money.

`Is the £2 Statutory Credit Report Suitable For Renting

Yes that is the real thing and should satisfy the agents. Whether they accept it or not is a different matter, because they are loosing money which you would have paid them. But no one is stopping you from haggling with them

The agents will try to scam you saying that isn't the correct report, or something is missing all of which are outright lies to make you pay.

But there is a downside to it i.e. they might go with somebody else who is willing to pay the price.

If you feel you have been improperly treated use the agent's redressal process and if unsatisfied approach The Property Ombudsman if the agents are registered with them.

Some more help for redressal

  • Oh, they're not asking for us to pay it before even liking a property. It is just the initial step in the application process. So we would fill in the application forms first, then they would carry out the credit checks in order to make a decision. But our thinking is that we could potentially skip that check and have them continue directly with the application. – Jamsandwich Jun 14 '17 at 12:38
  • Has the landlord accepted your offer ? If not, no the credit checks are a waste of money. What after the credit check the landlord decides to go with somebody else ? Let the landlord accept your offer than the process should start. I have been through all this and realize how scammy the agents are. thinkmoney.co.uk/news-advice/… – DumbCoder Jun 14 '17 at 12:41
  • I absolutely agree that it's not an entirely fair process. An offer will not be accepted without the credit check though. We are using reputable Agencies. This is why we would like to be able to supply our own credit reports. I just want to make sure that the basic Statutory Credit Report would be acceptable. I don't think it would affect our application so long as the report is favourable. – Jamsandwich Jun 14 '17 at 12:45
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    I won't vote or answer as I'm in the US, and not familiar with the UK credit reporting structure. But in the US, there is a difference between the report you pull (even the "FICO Score" report) and the report the landlord pulls; what they're paying for is the calculated score, which is customized for their particular business (the "score" for a renter is a different algorithm, and different score, than the "score" for a credit card or a car or home purchase). All based on the same raw data, but they're paying for the statisticians, basically. – Joe Jun 14 '17 at 14:46
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    Downvote explanation: I believe this answer is incorrect because of Steve Melnikoff's answer. – AndyT Jun 19 '17 at 16:39

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