Credit agencies have revealed exactly how a tenant check affects a credit report.
Our previous story on tenant referencing raised some questions about what exactly shows up on a report, so it has now been clarified that there is a difference between a search just leaving a footprint and one that also affects a credit score.
Letting agents are likely to use a range of credit reference agencies for their tenant referencing, but the prospect of the fee ban has led some to query whether applications affect a credit score.
Their theory is that if the credit score isn’t affected, and tenants have no fees to pay, they could look at multiple properties, using several agents, at the same time.
This in turn may help tenant choice but will lead to a lot of time wasters.
EYE asked the three main agencies, Experian, Equifax and Callcredit, what effect a tenant check has.
James Jones, of Experian, said that only searches for credit affect the score, but other searches leave footprints that usually only the consumer would see.
This means a tenant will be able to see that their credit report has been accessed, leaving a digital footprint, but the actual search won’t affect their score and won’t be seen by lenders considering a credit application.
So essentially, tenancy referencing checks do not affect credit scores but may in some cases leave a footprint. But as others explain, this footprint will only be seen by the tenant to let them know their credit report has been accessed. It wouldn’t be seen by a lender when assessing a credit application such as for a loan or credit card.
Lisa Hardstaff, credit information expert at Equifax, told EYE: “A tenancy verification search will leave a footprint on an individual’s credit report.
“However, this will be for the individual’s use only so that they can see that a company has accessed their personal data. The search will have no impact on the individual’s credit score and would not be visible to any lenders that are carrying out searches for credit applications.”
A spokesman for Callcredit added: “Tenant vetting search doesn’t impact a credit score and doesn’t leave a footprint that is visible to an organisation doing a credit search.”