While rent prices have soared in most areas of the UK, London has seen the cost of renting fall to the lowest level in nearly a decade. In fact, average rent prices in London have fallen by nearly 10% due to the high volume of people who opted to live elsewhere with more space during the pandemic. This is good news for people with less-than-stellar credit who are looking to find housing for rent in London.

Use the Drop in Rent Prices to your Advantage for Bad Credit Housing

It’s important to remember that landlords are responsible for all bills on a property during void periods between tenants including: council taxes, utility bills and other fees. This creates a sense of urgency for landlords to find renters and when the supply of people looking for housing goes down, they may be more willing to negotiate with you than ever before. Experts at Foxtons estimate that 22% of all tenants in the capital city left last year which created  mass vacancies that landlords are eager to fill. 

Remember that everything in life is negotiable. If you come forth with an honest and well thought out plan, you may have better luck now.

Here are a few tips to consider when presenting a plan to a London landlord for bad credit housing for rent:

Find a Private Landlord

If you have poor credit, it’s best to avoid agents or formal renting agencies as they will probably deny you outright or worse, charge you exorbitant fees.

The best advice is to find a private landlord who will be willing to rent to you. One way of doing this is to find the local free paper and check the classifieds ads for housing for rent. Pick up the phone and ring a few but refrain from mentioning your poor credit up front. If you are working with a stable job and can afford the monthly rent payments, you have a higher chance of finding housing this way.

Take Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Building your credit file properly is the best long-term solution to finding better housing and rental deals. In fact, An ‘excellent’ credit score could save you tens of thousands £s over a lifetime. Portify is helping the hardest workers build credit. 

Learn more about how we’re helping our community build healthy credit through partnerships with all of the major Credit Reference Agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Get started.

Other notable ways to improve your credit over time include:

Make an Offer the Landlord Can’t Refuse

Some people have success offering a larger deposit and a few months of rent in advance to make up for their bad credit. Since rental prices have fallen in London, this may be a more feasible option. It’s important to be cautious when taking this method and ask plenty of questions. Although it’s rare, if the landlord isn’t current on their mortgage payments and the property gets repossessed you could be out of luck and lose your money.

Show Proof of Stable Income

Having a stable job with proof of income that is sufficient to pay the monthly rent will help you immensely make the case that you are a reliable tenant who is trustworthy. It’s a good idea to lead with this information when contacting private landlords and proactively offer to submit proof of income and pay stubs. Offering this information up front shows that you are trustworthy and may result in the landlord skipping a credit check altogether. It is unlikely for agencies or professional renting services to skip a credit check. 

Talk to Your Local Council

There are a few ways that a local council can help you out if you have bad credit but need to rent housing. Contact them and ask about the following:

  • Ask if they have a bond guarantee scheme (also known as a rent deposit scheme). Essentially your local council might be able to help cover the cost of your deposit with a bond that you can pay back over time.
  • Ask if they have a list of accredited landlords and work by contacting these individuals. Some councils even have a list of accredited landlords that have current vacancies!
  • Ask to be added to a vacancy waiting list with your local council – this option may take a while depending on where you are looking.

Persistence is Key

The age old saying of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, applied to finding housing with bad credit. Persistence is key. Keep ringing different landlords and act confidently to make your case!


Lauren Robson is the digital communications manager at Portify.
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