Updated: December 16, 2021

Can You Get a Mortgage with a Criminal Record?

Struggling to get a mortgage with a criminal record? Find out what lenders offer these deals and how to apply in our in-depth guide.

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No impact on your credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: December 16, 2021

If you’re worried a criminal record will affect your mortgage application, it might be comforting to know there are specialist brokers who have helped people just like you secure the finance they needed, with both spent and unspent convictions.

Read on to find out how getting a mortgage is possible with a previous criminal record, which lenders can help and what information you can prepare beforehand to boost your application.

Can you get a mortgage with a criminal conviction?

Yes, it’s possible but it can be difficult. Most mortgage lenders don’t have a specific policy on this and will review each application on a case-by-case basis. It will also largely depend on the type of conviction held on your record.

For example, an application from someone found guilty of financial fraud in the past will likely be declined, while motoring offenses are usually overlooked. The key challenge is knowing which lenders can help and what information they’ll be looking for.

It can also prove difficult to get the necessary insurance to sit alongside your mortgage if you’ve had criminal convictions.

We work with mortgage brokers who have expert knowledge of helping people get a mortgage and supporting insurance policies under these circumstances. They know which lenders accept people with spent, and even unspent convictions, and will point you towards those most likely to accept you.

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How to get a mortgage with a criminal record

Before you apply for a mortgage there’s a few simple steps you can take to give your application the best chance of success. Here’s how we recommend you do it.

Step 1. Prepare your information

Before applying, it’s a good idea to fully understand the status of your conviction. If you’re unsure, use the Unlock disclosure calculator to check whether your conviction is spent or unspent.

Step 2. Check your credit reports

Credit checks are also part of a mortgage application, so downloading your credit reports from the UK’s main credit reference agencies in preparation will save time. Additionally, proof of income and other personal details will be required – your broker can help your prepare the relevant documents for this as part of their service.

Step 3. Speak to an experienced mortgage broker

All mortgage brokers are by no means alike, so it’s important to find one with experience of helping people in your exact position. This is especially true if you have a criminal record.

Our free broker matching service uses a simple assessment to match you with a broker who has experience in helping people with criminal convictions. If you get in touch we can arrange for an advisor we work with to speak to you directly.

Which lenders consider applicants under these circumstances?

There’s actually quite a high number of lenders who will look at applications under such circumstances –  for people with either spent or unspent convictions – including many high street banks such as HSBC, Barclays, TSB and NatWest.

However, the criteria will vary from lender to lender and most, if not all, applications of this nature will be considered on a case-by-case basis. As a result, attempting a ‘scattergun’ approach is not recommended and will likely see a string of declined applications. It will also leave a mark on your credit file, making it more difficult to get accepted any time soon.

When considering which lenders you should use, there’s a few important points worth considering:

  • Lender criteria relating to accepting criminal convictions are usually quite vague, many don’t have a specific policy on applications of this nature, and extra rules often apply where they do accept spent or unspent convictions
  • Your application could still be refused, even if it seemed like you met the criteria, especially where the decision is on a case-by-case basis
  • Expert brokers for people with criminal records understand criteria more clearly, helping prevent failed applications.
  • Independent mortgage lenders often have the most flexible criteria surrounding criminal convictions, however, you will usually need to access them through a specialist broker

The difference between spent and unspent convictions

Whether or not your conviction has been spent is an important factor to consider when applying for a mortgage, as spent convictions do not legally have to be disclosed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Should you declare a spent conviction?

Although you’re within your rights to withhold information about spent convictions, a mortgage lender can still come across this information from another source, for example a solicitor, or your address history.

Should you declare an unspent conviction?

You’re legally required to disclose all unspent convictions, and failure to do so can affect your ability to get a mortgage, and lead to prosecution. Remember, there are mortgage lenders who will consider your application, and the advisers we work with can help you to find them.

Do mortgage lenders carry out criminal record checks?

Some, but not all lenders will do this. This question can come up at different points in the application process too. For example, some lenders may approve a decision in principle, only to cancel the mortgage if they find an undisclosed conviction later.

Specialist mortgage brokers can prevent this type of situation by advising you about disclosing convictions, based on their knowledge of the lender. They don’t charge a fee for an initial chat, so it’s always worth reaching out to see what your options are.

Why you should use a specialist broker

If you have a criminal record it can be more complicated to get a mortgage, but it’s not impossible. Remember, not all lenders are able to help all types of people, so your absolute best chance is to speak to a broker who specialises in helping people with criminal convictions.

As well as improving your chances of successfully getting a mortgage, mortgage brokers:

  • Help to prepare your paperwork and complete your application
  • Can access lenders and offers not available to the public
  • Get you the best interest rates for your circumstances
  • Offer free initial consultations, and most only charge a fee if you get an offer
  • Help you avoid damaging your credit score with declined applications

Let us help you on your journey to home ownership, by finding you an expert mortgage broker who specialises in criminal convictions. Make an enquiry today on 0808 189 0463 or via our contact form.

FAQs

Can you get a mortgage in Northern Ireland with a criminal record?

Yes, depending on the circumstances surrounding the conviction, this is possible. At the time of writing (December 2021), mortgage lenders in Ireland assess applicants with criminal convictions in exactly the same way as mortgage providers elsewhere in the UK.

This could potentially change in the future as there have been calls for equality legislation in Ireland to be amended so people with criminal convictions cannot be discriminated against in various different walks of life, including housing and insurance.

Current legislation prevents people with spent convictions from being discriminated against, but the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has called upon the government to extend this to all criminal convictions.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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