Your credit score and your housemates

Question: I live in shared accommodation, will my housemate’s credit rating affect my likelihood of getting a credit card?

Answer: This is a common question when it comes to credit ratings, particularly as it affects younger people who either do not yet have a credit file, or have poor credit and are struggling to get a credit card.

Quite simply, the financial situation of your housemates shouldn’t affect your own credit rating. Your credit file is a record of your own financial history, and how you’ve maintained your repayments.

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If you’re a tenant, rather than a homeowner, the home you’re living in should have no relation to your credit file, and neither should the people you live with.

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The only way your housemates or flatmates will influence your credit rating is through an error, or if you fall behind on payments as a result of their actions.

To eliminate the possibility of any errors make sure you get a copy of your £2 statutory credit report – or sign up for a free 30 day trial – from each of the three main credit agencies: Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. Check this file carefully to make sure all the details are correct.

When it comes to paying for household utilities and council tax you should also consider offering to handle this from your own account. Basic household bills are a great way to build up your credit file and increase your chances of getting a good rate when you come to borrow later in life.

Of course you should only do this if you are able to cover the payments without exceeding your overdraft limits or paying interest for borrowing.

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