Do you need a good credit score to rent?

🕑 6 minute read

There’s no magic number you need to hit to be able to rent a property, but keeping an eye on your financial health can help make the process easier.

A good credit score is an indication that you have a strong borrowing history. A landlord may be more likely to rent to you if you have one, as they will trust that you can make regular rent payments.

Your credit score is based on your credit file. This file is a record of your past and present borrowing history. Your score will depend on whether the evidence within your credit file suggests that you are a reliable borrower.

A credit check is one of many checks a landlord will perform when you apply to rent a property. These checks usually take a couple of days. Your landlord must have written permission from you to access your credit score.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a figure created from analysing your credit file, which is based on your borrowing history.

A landlord will want to check your credit score, as it’s a useful indication of how reliable you are paying bills and repaying credit.

Lots of things can impact your credit score, causing it to rise or fall.

There are three main credit reference agencies that calculate your credit score:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Each use a different number scale to explain your score, but the higher the number, the better the score.

What can you do to improve your score?

  • Avoid defaults.
    A default is when you fail to meet a repayment, for example, missing a loan repayment.
  • Pay bills on time.
    Paying bills late can cause your credit score to go down.
  • Build up a credit history.
    You need to have a borrowing history to form a credit file, which your score is based on.
  • Be on the electoral roll.
    Registering to vote can improve your score and help verify who you are.
  • Avoid too many hard credit checks.
    Applying for certain types of credit requires a “hard” credit check. These can temporarily lower your score, so avoid too many applications in a short period.

What credit score is required to rent a house or apartment?

There isn’t a specific credit score landlords will be looking for when you apply to rent a home. But you are likely to stand a better chance if you have a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ score:

  • A 'good' credit score shows that you had a solid borrowing history, perhaps with a few small blips.
  • An 'excellent' credit score shows responsible borrowing and a near spotless record of meeting repayments and paying bills on time.

Here are the key numbers for each credit agency:

Credit reference agency

Score

Rating

Credit reference agency

Equifax

Score

800+

Rating

Excellent

Credit reference agency

Score

670 - 799

Rating

Good

Credit reference agency

TransUnion

Score

721 - 850

Rating

Excellent

Credit reference agency

Score

661 - 720

Rating

Good

Credit reference agency

Experian

Score

961 - 999

Rating

Excellent

Credit reference agency

Score

881 - 989

Rating

Good

If you’re not sure what your credit score is, it’s a good idea to check it out before you start looking for somewhere to rent. That way, if there are any issues, you can look at ways to put them right before you start house hunting.

Most of the big providers let you check your score online, with just a few personal details. However, you may need to pay to check your credit score.

Why do landlords require a credit check?

Landlords want to know that you’re going to pay your rent, in full and on time. If your score is low, a landlord may be reluctant to rent to you, as they could be worried you’ll miss rent payments in the future. 

What if your credit score is too low to rent?

If you have a low credit score but you’re working to improve this and are confident you can afford the rent and manage your money in the future, there are a few things you might be able to do.

Agree to pay more upfront

A landlord might agree to taking a few months’ rent in advance to assure them you can afford to live at the property. Make sure you get it in writing and have a contract in place if you go down this route.

Give evidence of your salary

If you’ve got a steady job and are now earning more, sharing your pay details might convince a potential landlord that you’re in a stable financial situation.

Arrange a guarantor

A landlord might let you use a guarantor – a parent or relative who will agree to pick up the bill if you can’t pay your rent.

Use references

Getting a reference from your employer to show you’ve got a regular income and asking previous landlords to vouch that you’re a good tenant, might be enough to convince a landlord.

Move in with a partner or roommate

Sharing the bills can really take the pressure off your finances, so if you think you could be ready to move in with a partner, or have a friend who needs a place too, think about finding a place together.

Don’t try to hide issues with your credit score – the best thing is to be honest with the landlord and offer evidence to show any blips are in the past.

Find and apply for the right mortgage with a little help from us. Whether you want to take that first step or plan your next move, your search starts here.

Calculators and tools

We have a range of mortgage calculators to help you:

  • Find out how much you could borrow from Halifax
  • See how much you could save if you make overpayments on your mortgage
  • Get an idea how a change to the Bank of England Base Rate could affect your monthly payments
Use our calculators & toolsCalculator and tools

Speak to someone

Whether it's on the phone, by video or in a branch, speaking to our mortgage advisors has never been easier.

Contact usContact us