Can I explain my unfortunate circumstances on my credit report?

Dear James,

Are their any special notes that can be attached to you credit report. I ask because I purchased my first home with a friend two years ago as a first step to get on the property ladder. The recession hit last year and house prices fell and the friend vanished and left me to pay the joint mortgage alone. I am therefore being forced to enter into an IVA with my other creditors so that I can keep paying the mortgage as the house is now in negative equity and selling it would result in a substantial shortfall. My credit report will be destroyed while his will remain fine, this doesn't seem fair.

Neil, Merseyside

Dear Neil,

I'm sorry to hear about your friend’s disgraceful disappearing act. You've clearly been left in a very difficult situation and have opted for an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) to clear your debts and stay in your home. The IVA is likely to appear on your credit report for six years and will probably put a major dent in your credit rating. But this might not be such a disaster as you probably won't be applying for more credit for a few years anyway. Our fact sheet Your credit report and individual voluntary arrangements explains IVAs in detail, how they affect credit ratings and how credit reports can be updated when they end. If you will be applying for credit and would like prospective lenders to know your circumstances you can add a note to your credit report. Simply send us the wording you want to use and, assuming it's suitable and within the 200 word limit, we'll add it to your report. As far as your 'friend' is concerned, assuming he hasn't left the country he will need to provide his previous address when he next applies for credit. If he doesn’t declare his outstanding joint mortgage, any new lenders are likely to ask questions. And if he has left other unpaid debts at your address, there's a good chance his past misdemeanours will eventually catch up with him. As you’ve been living apart for quite a while now it may be worth asking all three credit reference agencies to create a disassociation between you and your friend. This will make sure that any debts he has run up in his own name do not damage your already fragile credit rating. For Experian, simply complete our online disassociation form. (November 2012)

James
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