Staying on the electoral register when moving

Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful life events that someone can endure, regularly topping polls of least desirable activities. The huge amount of paperwork involved does not just include the purchase and move, but also the need to update all the documentation that still has your old address.

As well as notifying your bank, phone and broadband provider, utility companies, the DVLA and having your mail forwarded, you should also make sure you update your address on the electoral register. The electoral register is a list of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections and has details of your name, address and date of birth.

Ensuring that the information on the register is up-to-date and correct is important, not just for voting, but for helping to improve your chances of getting credit.

How to change your address on the electoral register

Changing your address on the electoral register is a relatively simple process that can be done via the government website. Once you have moved, visit and make sure you have your national insurance number to hand. You will need to fill in a few details about your name, address, date-of-birth and nationality, but it should not take long.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales you can use the above link to change your address; if you live in Northern Ireland you will need to print off a form from The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website and return it to your local electoral office.

You can also fill out a paper version if you live in England, Scotland or Wales – the forms can be downloaded as PDF files here.

The Electoral Commission publishes an updated register on 1st December each year so if you’re moving and applying for credit, make sure to change your details in time and check your credit report to see if information is up to date. If lenders cannot verify your address, then it may mean your application for credit is not successful or it may delay the application as they verify it in another way, such as checking utility bills.

What if I live at multiple addresses?

There may sometimes be a situation where you have multiple addresses, for example, if you are a student living away from home. You may also split your living time between your main residence and a holiday home.

In both cases it is possible to be registered to vote in two different electoral areas, although it is illegal to vote twice in the same election. To find out if you are allowed to register at both properties, you will need to contact the local electoral registration office for the particular area. To be considered resident at an address you must be able to demonstrate a “considerable degree of permanence”.

How does the electoral register affect credit reports?

Lenders use the information from the electoral register to confirm your identity when you make an application for credit. The register shows your name and address and also how long you have been registered at that address, this provides an easy way to check both personal information and how stable you are in terms of residence.

Where having two addresses could affect your credit report is if there was confusion as to which address was your permanent residence. Also, if the details of your address changed quite frequently it may indicate to lenders a lack of stability. Using only one of your residences as the main address for applications, bank statements and other financial documents may help simplify your situation.

Ensuring your electoral register details are up-to-date is a relatively fast and easy way of keeping your credit report as accurate as possible.

If you are interested in checking the details of your credit history, you can get online access to your credit report with your Equifax Credit Report & Score, which is free for 30 days and £14.95 a month thereafter.

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