Can I Rent With Bad Credit History and No Guarantor?

Not knowing how to rent a property with bad credit can be tough enough, but what do you do if you don’t have a guarantor either? Find out the answer and learn how to rent with bad credit in our guide.

Here in the UK we have a large and varied rental market that accounts for just over 19% of the country’s occupied households. Renting is also arguably the most popular living option for those of us who aren’t in a position to purchase a property. This is because it can offer us opportunities to live independently and find a place to call our own. 

If you’ve ever lived in a rented house or flat though, you’ll also know that if you have a bad credit history it can have an influence on whether or not a landlord or letting agent will approve your application.  Some landlords may also want you to get a guarantor to cover your rent if you do have poor credit, so what can you do if you’re also unable to get a guarantor? 

Here the team at Simple Fast Loans have taken a closer look at what you can do to help secure a tenancy and have explained a bit more about why landlords run checks on their prospective occupants.


 Why do landlords run credit checks on tenants? 

Much like when you apply for any other form of credit, like a loan or mortgage, the lender – in this case the landlord or letting agent – will want to know that they’ll be paid what they’re owed when the rent is due. 

In addition, by running a credit check on you, a landlord can find out more about your financial history to essentially work out the level of risk involved in having you as a tenant. 

Unlike other lenders though, letting agents and landlords will tend to carry out ‘soft checks’ that don’t negatively impact your credit score. On the most part, the only finer details that they’ll want will be:

  • To confirm and verify your identity, which can be done via the electoral roll.
  • To see if you have any CCJs (County Court Judgements) or any historical examples of insolvency, which can be accessed from The Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines and the Individual Insolvency Register. 

These are again to help assess how trusted you can be as a tenant, as things like CCJs and examples of insolvency will suggest you have bad credit and that you won’t be able to keep up with your rent payments. However, before they can do either of these checks, they’ll need to get your permission in writing. 

From the perspective of a landlord, these checks are understandable, as once a property has been let a tenant can’t be evicted at the drop of a hat. There are many legal obligations in place that mean landlords have to give a written notice of eviction and potentially even gain a court order to remove a tenant. 

So if someone was unable to pay his or her rent across the eviction process, it’s essentially lost income for the landlord. 


 What other checks do landlords make? 

In addition to their credit checks, landlords and letting agents may also look into, or ask about, the following:

  • References from previous landlords.
  • Proof of your employment.
  • Paying the first month of rent upfront.
  • That you’re allowed to live in the UK and have the right to rent (this is a legal requirement).


 Can you rent with bad credit and no guarantor? 

You’ll be pleased to hear that you can indeed rent a property if you have bad credit and no guarantor, but you should appreciate that it can be a bit trickier for you to do so. There’s also no legal obligation for you to have a guarantor, despite how much some landlords might insist on it.


 How to rent with bad credit and no guarantor: What steps to take

What you essentially need to do if you have bad credit and no guarantor is to demonstrate to landlords and letting agents that you can be trusted to be their tenant. They’ll want assurances and a stronger sense of security that they won’t be putting their finances at risk by letting you rent and live in their property.

We’ve broken down eight different steps you can take to help persuade them that you’re a suitable candidate, and as a bonus some of these can help improve your overall credit score:


 Check your credit report 

One of the first things you should do before you start putting in applications to rent a house or flat is to review your credit history. This will show you what negative aspects you have on your records that letting agents and landlords might highlight as an issue.

You can get your credit report from any of the UK’s three main Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs), namely Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. All of these major CRAs will offer free trials, but once these end you’ll need to pay a subscription fee to continue to access their services.


 Clear outstanding debts 

By accessing your credit report you’ll also be able to see any outstanding debts as well as any existing or potential CCJs. While it might be easier said than done, you should look to clear these debts before you start looking for a rental property – the added benefit of this of course is it will make your overall finances much healthier and can improve your credit score. 

Failing that, by at least being aware of these debts you can be more prepared if you’re challenged on this during the application process. 


 Ask your current/previous landlord for a good reference 

You can also help get ahead of the curve by contacting your current or previous landlord and asking them for a positive reference – rather than waiting or assuming your new landlord or letting agent will do this when they’re running their checks.

Having this glowing example of what you’re like as a tenant to show them upfront can leave a better first impression. It can also help influence their decision to approve you and may prevent them from holding any bad credit issues against you. 


 Offer a larger deposit (if possible) 

More often than not you’ll be expected to make a deposit of up to one month’s rent when looking to secure a tenancy. One thing you can do here to help landlords and letting agents view your application more favourably is to offer a bigger upfront deposit if you can. This again might be something that makes them see past any negative aspects highlighted in your credit history. 

This is also a useful tactic if you’re trying to secure a highly sought-after property. 


 Find yourself a housemate  

Another option you have is to put in a joint tenancy agreement with another person who has a better credit history than you. The further benefits to this arrangement is you’ll then also have someone to split the bills with, making living in your chosen property much more affordable. 

One thing to note with this though is if one of you can’t pay the rent, the other individual in your agreement will be expected to still make the full repayment.


 Review your online presence 

As mentioned earlier, as well as your financial situation, landlords and letting agents may also run other checks to find out more about you as an individual – and the more digitally savvy ones may review your social media profiles.

The simple thing here is to make sure any profiles you have are as inoffensive as possible (this includes the images, bios and things you post), or that you at least set yours to private so they can’t be accessed and unfairly judged. 


 Have an honest conversation upfront 

If you’ve accessed your credit report, or you’re already aware you have bad credit and no guarantor, then one approach to take is to be honest about this from the start of your tenancy application and to stress you’re improving your situation. 

This upfront approach could see a more understanding and sympathetic landlord be prepared to give you a chance. 


 Choose a private landlord  

If your bad credit is proving to be too much of problem in the eyes of high street letting agents, then you might want to consider focussing purely on private rentals. 

Scour online forums and newspaper ads in your area to see what’s available and pursue these opportunities instead. Private landlords are more likely to accept you as an individual based on your personal merit, rather than purely on credit checks.


 Be the best tenant you can be 

With the above we’ve hopefully put your mind at rest and explained clearly how to rent with bad credit and no guarantor. To return to a key point, it’s important to remember that you’re under no obligation to have a guarantor, and with some or all of the above steps in place, you can help prove to your potential future landlord that you will be a great tenant. 

*All figures and rates correct at time of writing