Updated: December 15, 2021

Getting a Joint Mortgage With Bad Credit

Looking for a joint mortgage with a bad credit score? Our in-depth guide will tell you everything you need to know

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No impact on your credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: December 15, 2021

A joint mortgage is a common way for couples to buy a property together, allowing you to combine your incomes and secure a larger amount of borrowing than if you were a single applicant. But, what if one, or both of you, has a bad credit record?

If you’ve recently had an application declined due to your overall credit history then this article will show you that it’s still possible to get a joint mortgage even if one person has bad credit.

Can you get a joint mortgage if one applicant has bad credit?

Yes, qualifying for a joint mortgage with one bad credit applicant is quite possible. But it all depends on many factors and your choice of lenders may be limited to those that specialise in applicants with a bad credit record.

Some of these factors include…

Bullet Tick The age and severity of the bad credit problem (and whether just one or both of you have a bad credit history)
Bullet Tick If the bad credit debts have been paid off or not (and how much might be outstanding)
Bullet Tick Whether you are married or buying a house with a girlfriend or boyfriend
Bullet Tick If the mortgage will be in single or joint names
Bullet Tick If you are both employed (whether you are PAYE or self-employed may be a factor)
Bullet Tick The income of each mortgage applicant

Relying on specialist lenders for a mortgage in these circumstances should actually be seen as a positive step. They will already have the expertise to deal with different bad credit scenarios.

The challenge is finding out who these lenders are which is why we would always recommend you speak with a mortgage broker first before trying to approach a lender directly, so they can find them on your behalf.

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How to apply for a joint mortgage if one of you has a bad credit rating

If you’re looking to buy a property using a joint mortgage and one of you has a poor credit record, there’s a number of steps you can take that will improve your chances of success…

1. Get the credit history for both you and your partner

You can use credit reference agencies, such as Experian, Equifax and Callcredit to check your credit history. Do this before your prospective lender does their own credit search and you will be in a position to correct any inaccuracies or out of date information held on file. Their services are free and well worth the time.

If either one of you have a poor credit history, it might be worth delaying your mortgage application for a couple of months while you or your partner rebuild your credit rating.

2. Practise good financial conduct

It is recommended that neither one of you take out any new loans or financial commitments in the weeks or months before applying for a mortgage.

Ensure all of your utility bills, rent/mortgage, credit and loan repayments are up to date and are paid promptly.

Lenders want to be convinced that you are financially responsible and a good risk, and it will go a long way toward helping create a good credit rating.

3. Speak to a mortgage broker

The best way to begin your mortgage application is to find a mortgage broker who specialises in applicants with bad credit. They can guide you through the application process, make sure you’re matched with the lender who’s best placed to offer you a good deal on a joint mortgage and help you with any paperwork along the way.

We offer a free broker-matching service that can pair you with the right advisor, first time. Make an enquiry to boost your chances of saving time and money on your mortgage application today, as well as avoid marks on your credit report.

How are Joint credit scores and credit score checks assessed?

Your credit score is a rating of how well you manage your finances. For instance, if you save regularly and pay off all your debts on time, you should have a high credit score.

But if you are regularly late with payments, or have black marks like defaults or CCJs, then your credit rating will be poor and you will be seen as a higher risk to mortgage providers.

A joint credit score would be an assessment of how well you and your partner manage your finances together. For example, joint credit facilities or car loans.

Whose credit score is used on a joint mortgage application?

Mortgage providers will look at both applicant’s credit reports but may base their lending decision on whether or not to approve a mortgage application based on the person with the lowest credit score.

There is no specific joint credit score that you need to get a mortgage. All UK lenders have their own stance on this, and some don’t use credit scoring at all.

All lenders are different, some will take the highest credit score, while others may only count the lowest. Some mortgage providers may combine the score, and if the joint score meets their criteria, then the credit section of the application may be approved.

An experienced mortgage broker will be able to explain all of this to you in much more detail and tailor your application so it best fits what a particular lender is looking for.

What if both applicants have bad credit?

Then it’s still possible to get a mortgage, depending on the age, severity and reason for the bad credit on the applicant with the weakest credit history’s file. It’s highly likely that you will need a specialist bad credit mortgage lender if you both have adverse credit, although this might not be the case if both applicants only have ‘minor’ issues.

Bad credit lenders are more flexible than lenders on the high street and often assess joint applications where both borrowers have bad credit on their overall strength and likely ability to meet the monthly mortgage repayments.

There’s a good chance you’ll need to use a specialist bad credit mortgage broker to get approved for a joint mortgage if both of you have bad credit.

Other criteria the lender will take into account

The eligibility criteria for a joint mortgage is pretty much in line with a sole application.

The major difference is that the information is all assessed on a joint basis:


This is proof that you can make the repayments over the full term of the mortgage. Each lender is different and affordability is based on your joint income and  outgoings. Most lenders will lend 4.5 times your income, while others may extend that to 5 times your income, and a few may accept 6 times your income.

The larger the deposit you can put down, the better your chances of securing a mortgage, especially if one of you has a bad credit history. Most lenders require a minimum of at least 5% deposit, but it is unlikely you’ll find a lender willing to accept such a low deposit, if either one of you has a bad credit history. Your choice of lenders will increase significantly if you have 10%, and if you have 20% or more, the deals on offer will be much more attractive.

Get matched with a bad credit broker who specialises in joint mortgages

As you can see, there are some obstacles to overcome when applying for a joint mortgage with adverse credit, but it’s certainly not impossible.

The good news is, you don’t have to do this on your own. The smartest move you can make is to speak with a mortgage broker at the very outset rather than try and approach a lender directly.

Our unique advisor-matching service is designed to introduce you to someone with the right knowledge and expertise to deal with your specific needs. In this case – we will introduce you to a broker who has experience dealing with bad credit applications.

Call 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry and we can arrange a free, no-obligation call with an advisor we work with today.


Can you get a joint mortgage with an IVA?

If one applicant has an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), there are some lenders who may consider your application. It all comes down to the severity and age of the IVA.

Most mortgage providers will want the IVA to have been settled, while others may consider your application if it’s at least 3 years old.

Will an IVA affect my partner's credit score?

No, an IVA won’t have a direct impact on your partner’s credit score, however, it can affect your chances of securing a joint mortgage because it will still show up when the lender conducts their credit check.

Ask a quick question

We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in bad credit mortgages. 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!

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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