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When I arrived from Canada in the UK, my letting agent tasked a referencing company to track my Canadian credit record.

I will soon move from the UK to Germany. In Germany, the domestic referencing company is Schufa. I've read in several places (but nowhere authoritative) that Schufa requires a German bank account. But if I do open a bank account as soon as I have my Meldeschein, and then immediately ask for a Schufa, it will likely show blank, which might not satisfy landlords. Can I in some way tell Schufa my current (soon previous) UK address, so they can track my UK credit record and use this to populate/initiate my Schufa while I'm still new in Germany? I'm worried that I will find it difficult to satisfy landlords/agents as long as my Schufa is empty.

  • Having rented three different appartments in Germany I was never asked to show the Schufa report. – Ex Patriot Jan 21 at 10:21
  • @ExPatriot I'm getting completely opposite testimonies on that from different people. I wonder why. – gerrit Jan 21 at 20:59
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    In Berlin (where I have recently moved, with a similar empty Schufa), close to 100% of landlords ask for it; I think it depends on the market. However, everyone (including landlords) told me that an empty Schufa is a good thing. They want to see that you don't have bad credit. Unlike some places, a lack of history is not viewed badly, it is only bad debt that counts against you. – z_dood Jan 23 at 13:59
  • If you have a credit card (for example Amex), you can move that to Germany and the German credit referencing agency will see that. – ᆼᆺᆼ Jan 28 at 18:16
  • @pete How would I do that? – gerrit Jan 28 at 22:10
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I don't think you can do what you want - but don't panic.

I moved to live in Germany in what had been our holiday house (so I had no need to obtain any sort of credit record).

After six months I was made redundant and I had to move to Switzerland for work. When I came to rent in Switzerland, I obviously had no credit history in Switzerland at all. However, my Swiss landlord was perfectly happy with my German Schufa report (which showed I had been paying phone and electricity bills on time for 10 years).

Now, Zürich has a very high ex-pat population, so dealing with immigrants is a much commoner experience than in some parts of Germany. However I believe you are an academic, so you are presumably looking around a university. That means at least some landlords in the area will have experience of dealing with recent immigrants. I suggest when you are asked for your Schufa report, you obtain it, but also download a copy of your credit report from a UK credit report agency (for example Experian), and send that along too.

(Aside: Technically, you are supposed to be able to obtain your Schufa report for free. In practice, the free report will take so long to obtain that you will have to pay for a report - which will come very quickly.)

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