Updated: February 21, 2022

Self Certified Mortgages: Are They Still Available?

Looking for a self-certified mortgage? The market now has more alternatives than ever! Read our guide to find out exactly what your next steps should be.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 21, 2022

For many years, self-cert mortgages offered a convenient way to buy a home for the self-employed and anyone else who had difficulty proving their income. Though these mortgages no longer exist, alternatives are available for people in this position.

This guide will explain how they worked, what you can do if you have one and who to speak to for any advice or guidance.

What is a self-cert mortgage?

Self-cert mortgages, more formally known as self-certified or self-certification mortgages, were a type of homebuyer loan that didn’t require proof of income. An applicant would simply declare their earnings without evidence.

In other words, the applicant would ‘self-certify’ their ability to repay their own mortgage.

Self-cert mortgages were designed for people with an income that is irregular or difficult to prove, such as self-employed, freelancers, contractors, and directors of limited companies. At the time, they were the only way people in these types of professions could get a mortgage.

Though they’re no longer available, there are now far more options. If you’re in a similar profession, a broker with experience helping people in such circumstances would be able to outline what they are and how you can get the mortgage you need.

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Why self-cert mortgages are no longer available

Mortgage lenders are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a regulator that protects the interests of consumers of most financial products, such as banking services, pensions, investments and, of course, mortgages.

The FCA felt that self-cert mortgages were unfair to consumers, as they made it too easy for applicants to get a loan they couldn’t afford, leading to financial trouble. It’s thought that self-cert mortgages contributed to the 2007-8 financial crisis, when many people lost their homes.

So, the FCA ruled that the responsibility for judging whether an applicant can afford their mortgage repayments should lie with the lender, not with the applicant themselves. Responsible lending guidelines were introduced, requiring lenders to carry out an evidence-based affordability assessment before approving a mortgage application.

Alternatives to self-cert mortgages

Though you may not meet the affordability criteria for many mainstream lenders, there’s no need to be discouraged. A minority of lenders provide niche mortgages that could be considered alternatives to self-cert mortgages and could be perfect for you. These include:

  • Self-employed mortgages. These are not a specific type of product but there are lenders who specialise in helping the self-employed get the home loan they need
  • Company director mortgages. These might be suitable if you have retained profits within your business and want to find lenders who will include them as part of their eligibility criteria
  • Low-income mortgages. These might be suitable if you can provide evidence of income at a low level over several years.
  • Buy-to-let mortgages. These might be suitable if you’d like to invest in property and are not looking for a home to live in. They do not always require evidence of employed income if you intend to cover the repayments through rental income.
  • Guarantor mortgages. These might be suitable if you have a family member willing to use their earnings and/or home as security to guarantee your loan.

Proving your income if you’re self-employed

Since self-cert mortgages were banned in 2009, you cannot get a mortgage without proof of income in the UK. Most applicants prove their income by providing payslips from their employer. Freelancers, self-employed people, contractors, and company directors can supply two alternatives:

  • Full company accounts (directors)
  • 2-3 years certified accounts (sole traders / partnerships)
  • SA302 year-end tax calculations (i.e. your tax return)

They may also ask for other evidence, such as contracts with current clients, profit projections (if you have less than 3 years accounts) or details of dividends payments you’ve taken from your company. Providing this documentation could be a problem if:

  • You’ve been operating for less than three years
  • You’ve made a loss in one of the last three years
  • Your income has been very inconsistent
  • Your profits have been decreasing

If you can’t supply evidence dating back this far, or if doing so would present your finances in a negative light, it’s risky to apply directly to a lender for a mortgage. Many will automatically decline your application without this paperwork.

The shrewd move is to seek the help of a specialist broker first. They’ll be able to help you identify lenders who will look more favourably on your application and avoid unnecessary rejections which could result in a black mark on your credit score.

How to find the right mortgage

As a self-employed person or business owner, it’s crucial to find a lender who understands the nuances of your income and can fairly assess what you can afford based on the evidence you’re able to provide.

This is a difficult task, so it’s best done with the help of an experienced broker, who will:

  • Work with you to understand the exact nature of your business and income
  • Offer advice on the best way to present your case
  • Identify which lenders offer mortgages for people with limited proof of earnings
  • Seek out deals that may not be available if you apply directly
  • Tell you exactly which paperwork you need to apply for the mortgage you want
  • Aim to find the best possible rate for someone in your position

Not all brokers have experience with self-employed mortgages, and you’ll want to work with one who does. You may also have other requirements, such as a broker who specialises in bad credit mortgages or low deposit mortgages.

It’s surprisingly easy to find a broker with the exact experience you need to deal with your case. Through our free broker matching service, we’ll introduce you to one of many brokers we’ve trained and vetted, based on their compatibility with your situation.

Call us now on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry so we can schedule a free, no-obligation chat with a broker we’ve selected for you.


Are self-cert mortgages available outside the UK?

Yes, but they’re not recommended. The rates are usually higher than conventional mortgages and there may be added fees. If you fall behind on your repayments, there is an increased risk of losing your home. You won’t have the same protection as mortgage customers in the UK.

Will self-cert mortgages ever be available again in the future?

No, it’s unlikely we’ll see the return of self-cert mortgages, as they’re not in the best interests of consumers. You’re better off with one of the wide range of mortgages that are currently on the market.

Can I remortgage if I have a self-cert mortgage?

If you’re currently paying off a self-cert mortgage that you took out before 2009, you may be able to remortgage with a different type of product. Remortgaging could result in cheaper repayments since self-cert mortgages typically came with higher rates. Speak to a broker to find out about the best available mortgages for you

Can I get a buy-to-let mortgage without proving my income?

Yes, you can sometimes get a buy-to-let mortgage without evidence of your income if you can show that the mortgage repayments will easily be covered by the rental income of the property.

This isn’t the case with all lenders, so you will have a better chance of success if you work with a broker who specialises in buy-to-let mortgages and knows the market well. Again, you can use our broker matching service to identify the right person.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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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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