Updated: February 22, 2022

How to Get a Sole Mortgage When Married or Living with Your Partner

Need a sole mortgage but living with your partner? It's easier than you think for a married couple buying a house under one name! Find out more in our guide.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 22, 2022

A joint mortgage may be the most common option for couples in the UK when buying a property together, but it’s still possible to get one in just one person’s name too. There’s a whole variety of reasons why, for many, this is the right choice.

By following this guide you’ll have a full understanding of how to apply for a sole mortgage when you’re in a relationship, what information lenders will want to see and where to look for any help or guidance you might need.

Can a married person get a mortgage without their spouse?

Yes, it’s possible. However, the process for getting a sole mortgage when you’re living with a partner can be more complex than applying in a joint capacity.

For example, lenders could be concerned about future disputes over who has the right to live in the property if only one person’s name is on the Title deeds. So, it’s really important to have a clear rationale why you want to go down this route.

A typical, and very valid, reason why a couple might choose not to get a joint mortgage is because one of them has a poor credit history. This could mean only mortgages with high interest rates or deposits would be available to you.

This can be avoided if you opt for a sole application in the name of the person with a better credit history.

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Why might somebody want this type of mortgage?

In addition to a poor credit record, there’s a number of other reasons why a single mortgage may be more suitable for a person or couple than a joint mortgage, such as:

  • One applicant is unemployed or unable to work on health grounds
  • One applicant has lower income
  • You’re using your own money for the deposit
  • You want to retain stamp duty benefits (if you are a first-time buyer)

It’s worth considering all the options available before getting a mortgage on your own. There are lenders out there who will still give you a joint mortgage offer even if one applicant has a bad credit score or low income.

As this type of mortgage isn’t so straightforward, it’s best to speak with an experienced broker before you apply so they can offer advice on what the best route may be for you to take and help guide you through the process.

How do you apply for a single mortgage?

Whatever type of mortgage you’re applying for, a lender will want to carry out a thorough check of your finances and suitability for the loan. Here’s a few simple steps you can take to make the process much more straightforward:

Step 1. Prepare your documents

As with all mortgage applications you’ll need to be organised and gather all of the documentation and information a lender will need, including:

  • Proof of income – payslips and bank statements
  • Proof of ID such as a passport or driving licence, plus a utility bill or bank statement
  • Proof of the funds available for your deposit
  • Proof of expenses – if you spend large amounts on childcare or travel for example, a lender could be concerned about your ability to make the monthly repayments.
  • Joint income – evidence of any outgoings that are usually covered by your partner’s income (leaving you with more disposable income)

For further assistance on what you might need, have a look at our mortgage application guide.

Step 2. Check your credit reports

Before you receive a mortgage offer a lender will want to run a credit check against your name. This will give them detailed information about any loans or credit cards you have taken out, plus any bankruptcies or late payments.

So, it’s worth downloading your credit reports beforehand to check them for yourself and make sure there’s no information on them which is inaccurate or out of date.

Step 3. Speak to a broker

Once you’ve prepared your documents and checked your credit reports, the shrewdest move you can make next is to speak to an experienced mortgage broker rather than approach a lender directly.

They’ll be able to save you a lot of time and, potentially, some money too by identifying the best lenders of this type of mortgage. A broker can also help you prepare your application with the right information, if you’re applying in just sole name rather than joint.

Our unique broker-matching service is designed to match you with the right expert to deal with your specific needs. If you get in touch we’ll arrange for a broker we work with to contact you directly.

Eligibility requirements for a sole mortgage

On top of reviewing the information outlined above, a lender will also work through their own eligibility criteria, focusing on the following:

Affordability

If you’re applying for a sole mortgage this obviously means only one income will be considered when assessing affordability. The more disposable income you have, after all outgoings, the better chance you have of getting approved.

This might not be a problem if you’re a high earner but if you’re not, the size of the loan you’re offered may be limited. This is why a joint mortgage may be more appealing if you’re married and your partner has a higher income than you.

If your partner is not receiving an income this could create another affordability hurdle because they may be considered financially dependent upon you.

Credit check

Every lender will have their own criteria for customers with bad credit and whether they will lend to them or not.

If one person in a relationship has a poor credit score a lender will often base their decision on the lower of the scores. This is why some couples may decide a sole mortgage application for the person with a good credit rating is a better option instead.

However, you should be aware this may mean some lenders require a larger deposit.

Deposit size

The size of your deposit will affect the amount you are offered by a lender. If the deposit is all your own money then you should not encounter any issues. However, if you’re using a deposit from a joint savings account you may find a lender requires additional clarification.

This is because your spouse’s share of the deposit would be considered a ‘gift’ and would require them to sign a legal waiver of rights to the property. This can get complicated legally because it would mean they would have no automatic rights to the property if you separate in the future.

What are some of the possible drawbacks?

One of the main drawbacks of applying for a sole mortgage when you’re living with a partner is the amount of products available to you is limited. This is why lenders may encourage you to opt for a joint mortgage instead.

Other drawbacks include a limit to the amount you can borrow and the requirement of proof that your income will cover the repayments.

However, we work with experts in single name mortgage applications and they will be able to help you overcome any obstacles you may be faced with.

What are your legal rights?

The reason lenders can be reluctant to give sole mortgages is because things can get complicated if your relationship ends, especially if your partner has contributed to the deposit and repayments.

If you are the mortgage applicant it means only your name will be on the property’s Title deeds and you will be the person responsible for paying the mortgage.

Even if the single mortgage is in your name there are laws which state the property may have to be split fairly if you and your spouse break up. Lawyers will consider how long you have been married or together, whether you have children and if your partner contributed to household bills.

Speak to an experienced mortgage broker

Getting a single mortgage if you’re in a relationship can be a much trickier process than it first appears, which is why it’s so important to get the right advice right from the start.

We can make sure you’re matched with an advisor who has the right experience and knowledge to deal with your specific requirements. Give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or get in touch and we will arrange for an expert to speak to you directly.

FAQs

I’m buying a second property - is a sole mortgage a good idea?

If you are thinking about buying a second home or buy-to-let property a single mortgage might be the right financial decision for you.

For most people, obtaining a single mortgage on a second property is easier than securing one on a residential property. The main reason for this is that your spouse or partner will not be living in the property with you so the risk of a legal dispute in future is reduced.

Ask A Quick Question

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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