Do you live at a phantom address?
Tonight millions of children will don their favourite bedsheet, cover themselves in fake blood and march out into the night, greedily searching for the faint glow of a candle in a pumpkin and the promise of some sweets.
Visiting your neighbour's spooky house may sound like fun for one night, but for 1 in 5 inhabitants of a genuine 'phantom address' it can be a nightmare.
A phantom address in this instance is one that can’t be found when filling in online forms that use the auto fill-in function.
Unlucky residents may encounter difficulties when they give their address to someone over the phone should that person rely on a computer system to find the details.
According to a study, carried out on behalf of Ocean Finance, the addresses most likely to be AWOL are those of buildings that have been converted into apartments - around 43% of respondents who have lived at this type of property revealed that they have experienced the curse of the phantom address.
There are a few reasons why this might be the case, such as the Royal Mail not listing that the address is in multiple occupancy, or the details not being correctly added to the Land Registry.
The side effects of living at a phantom address range from the slightly irritating, such as 22% unable to find their postcode; 20% could not locate their street and 18% found their home was assigned a different name or number to the one they use, to real horror stories.
According to the findings, a worrying 19% of respondents said they had failed a credit check as a result of their phantom address. This could send a shiver down the spine of anyone wanting to borrow in the near future who has encountered this problem with their address before.
As well as difficulty accessing credit, some people have even had problems looking for work as a result – with 11% saying they had not been able to finish a job application because of the error. Meanwhile, 30% of respondents who have lived at an address like this at some point said they had been unable to get services like broadband and 17% ran in to complications when attempting to register for utilities.
A spokesman for Ocean, had this to say: “This Halloween, spare a thought for the Brits who are living in their very own ghost house – one that is completely off the map as far as some services are concerned. While in most cases a phantom address is simply a matter of inconvenience, when it’s standing in the way of people applying for jobs or accessing credit, it can be a very real horror story.”