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I have a CCJ should I declare it to the letting agent or landlord?

The answer is yes.

It's always best to be up front and honest with the agent or landlord when taking up a new tenancy BEFORE any credit references are taken - so the agent or landlord doesn't get a surprise with the result from your credit report.

The agent or landlord will be interested to know how your ccjs came about. Don't be suprised or offended if they ask you the following: -

  • How much money do you owe in total? (e.g. 2 ccj's totalling £378). If it was a low amount the agent/landlord may not even consider the ccj as a problem. On the other hand, what happens if you owe £20,000? Maybe it was from a business venture that went wrong. The agent or landlord may be able to relate to your failed business and with this extra information consider you as a suitable tenant. You need to give them this information otherwise they can't decide whether you're genuine or just someone who doesn't pay any bills.
  • When was the last ccj recorded against you? (was it recent or years ago?). Let's say that your last ccj was 5 years ago, and that you haven't had any lodged against you since. It is better for your application that the ccj was so long ago. Why? Well, it shows that since then you have got yourself sorted out and have been paying your bills without a problem. If it was a recent ccj, it doesn't spell disaster for you, but why did the ccj occur, was it a relationship break up that turned sour? You should have an answer ready for the question as you are likely to be asked.
  • Has your ccj been satisfied? (have you now paid the money back?) Paying back your ccj is the best tip to give you! It shows that although you got into finacial trouble, you were still interested in taking responsibility for the debt and have paid it back to the company you owed the money to. This is a real plus on your application, and in most cases a testimony to your personality. It's better if you can get a letter/certificate from the company you owed the money, to show your debt has been paid - this will also add strength to your application. Satisfied ccjs should be viewable on your credit report - does yours show it's satisfied?
  • Who lodged the ccj's against you? If you don't know who lodged a ccj against you, why not? CCJ's are not good things to have against your name, and if you don't know who has lodged it against you. It might have been lodged against you in error, until you have done a credit check how will you know? If you can't give the agent or landlord details of who and why you owe money, they will think that you're not interested in your finances and future finances such as the landlord rent, and that you're not interested in paying back the debts you already owe!
  • What are you doing about paying them back? Are you making attempts to pay back the money you owe. Contact the company you owe the money to, and agree a payment plan to pay some money each month until your debt is satisfied. Ask them to send a payment schedule to you, this way you can show your new agent/landlord that you are making attempts to clear your debts - again this will put a tick in your box with your rental application.
  • Should I declare satisfied or really old ccjs? You should still declare your satisfied and old ccjs. They should still show on your credit report. If you don't declare them, and they come back in your credit report then your agent/landlord will think that you have tried to deceive them. It is best to indicate that you have ccjs and if the credit check comes back and confirms that you do have ccjs then you declared them from the start; if it comes back and confirms no ccjs then you have nothing to worry about!


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