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How to Rent to a Tenant With Bad Credit

Just because a tenant has bad credit, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road – for you or the tenant. Renting to a tenant with bad credit is of course all about your personal preference as a landlord. And, unfortunately at some point in your circumstances, a bad-credit tenant may be the only interested person you have.

While a successful credit check is ideal for landlords, a failed one doesn’t always spell out ‘avoid at all costs’. If your potential tenant has bad credit, there are ways you can protect yourself without waving them goodbye. The trick is to understand more about why your tenant has bad credit and whether the underlying reasons are cause for concern.

If you want to rent to a tenant with bad credit, here are our top tips on how to do so safely.

What Causes a Tenant to Have a Bad Credit Score?

A bad credit score is usually caused by one or multiple things. Some things are more of a concern than others, which is why it’s always important to understand the story behind the score.

Usually, a bad credit score from a tenant is caused by things like:

  • Unpaid debts
  • Late credit card or loan repayments
  • Poor or non-existent credit history
  • County Court Judgements
  • Making only the minimum credit repayments
  • Not on the electoral roll
  • No proof of address
How to Rent to a Tenant With Bad Credit

If you’re thinking about renting to a tenant with bad credit, here are five things you can do to assess the situation and lease your property safely.

1. Find Out Why

Ask questions and dig deeper into the credit reports to find out why the credit check failed. Concerns may be things like no solid proof of address, not being on the electoral roll, or the tenant only making the minimum repayments on their credit card. But a history of not paying rent and making late repayments is a more serious red flag.

2. Charge a Higher Deposit

Depending on the reasons for the poor credit score, a good way of protecting yourself is to charge the tenant a higher deposit. It can give you an added layer of security and more reassurance should any issues arise. Plus, the tenant may already be expecting to pay more if they know their credit score is less than ideal.

3. Request a Guarantor

If requesting a guarantor isn’t already standard practice for you, it’s a good idea to make it the case for a tenant with bad credit. A guarantor will need to cover the costs if the tenant is unable to pay, so you’ll have an added layer of protection.

4. Ask for a Reference

To ease your mind, you can request a reference from a previous landlord the tenant has dealt with. Ask for their details and consider asking questions like:

  • Did the tenant pay rent on time?
  • Was the property looked after during the tenancy?
  • Would you be happy to rent to the tenant again?
5. Shorten the Tenancy

If your concerns are justified based on the tenant’s history, or you’re just not ready to take a risk, opt for a shorter tenancy with a probation period. That way, you’ll quickly be able to tell if late or missed payments are an issue.

Need Advice?

As a landlord, deciding who to rent to is important. Striking a good balance between being fair and protecting yourself from risks can be tricky. If you need advice on renting to tenants in London, we’d love to talk!

Give us a call today on 0203 441 1571 or email us at


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