Can we stop previous owner using our address for credit?

Dear James,

My wife and I bought a house over nine years ago, but we still receive mail from bailiffs and debt collectors demanding payment from the previous owner over finance she has taken out at our address. Can we do anything to stop her doing this?

Darren, Basildon

Dear Darren,

Yes there are some things you can do, but let me start by making one thing clear. Whatever the previous owner’s financial misdemeanours, your credit ratings won’t be affected. These days credit checks take place on people and not addresses. While you and your wife may well have linked up your credit reports, there will be no link between you and the previous owner. You may find that the debt demands relate to debts that the previous owner took out while he or she still lived at your address. Alternatively, he or she may have dropped off the radar of more recent lenders, who are now trying to engage at the previous address. But you suspect that the previous owner continuing to use your address for credit, so – to put a proverbial spanner in the works – I suggest two courses of action. First, contact your local council and double-check that you and your wife are the only people listed on the electoral roll at your address. Second, return any post you receive addressed to this other person straight back to the sender clearly marked ‘moved away nine years’ ago’. If you continue to do this, the message should sink in. (April 2012)

James
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