Getting A Joint Mortgage If One Applicant Has Bad Credit

Exploring a joint mortgage application with poor credit? Access expert assistance today and get matched with a broker who can help.

Firstly, do you or another applicant have any bad credit that you know of?

Home Bad Credit Mortgages Getting A Joint Mortgage If One Applicant Has Bad Credit
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Jon Nixon

Reviewer: Jon Nixon

Director of Distribution

Updated: March 18, 2024

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continuously monitor changes in the financial space and work closely with qualified mortgage advisors for factual verification.

March 18, 2024

Here we will take you through everything you need to know about getting a joint mortgage when one of the applicants has bad credit,  what additional criteria you may face, which lenders to approach and why seeking the help of an experienced broker can be a smart move.

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

Yes, though it won’t be as straightforward as if both of you had a good credit score. Most lenders will naturally be more wary in such circumstances. Some may decline your application altogether while others may offer higher rates or less favourable terms, and you may find you need to seek specialist lenders to accommodate.

The good news is that lenders may look at you as a package, so if one of you has a particularly high credit rating, it could still work out well with your mortgage secured. It’s important to be prepared for the fact that it won’t necessarily be smooth sailing. Seeking professional advice through an experienced bad credit broker can make all the difference.

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How to get a joint mortgage if one or both applicants have bad credit

There are a few steps you can take but it can really help if you seek the help of a mortgage broker with experience dealing with such applications – they can offer the kind of support and guidance that can make all the difference in this scenario. 

Ultimately the key task a mortgage broker needs to perform is to reduce the possibility of rejection and help you stand the best chance of securing the mortgage you need.

A broker will be able to:

  • Optimising your credit reports: you can access a free credit report trial and then your broker will suggest ways to optimise them and build up credit quickly to enhance your application. 
  • Reviewing your joint mortgage application: Where one person has bad credit they’ll look for ways to mitigate the impact, such as pairing you with a mortgage lender who has a higher appetite for risk.
  • Securing the best mortgage deal for you: There are lenders who specialise in complex circumstances such as this and the brokers we work with have deep working relationships with them. This means that they might be able to secure you an exclusive deal.

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Can you get a joint mortgage if both applicants have bad credit?

Yes, though it will be even trickier. The lender will take into account the type and severity of each applicant’s credit issues and criteria varies massively across the market, so no matter how bad both of your credit histories are, it’s worth speaking to a specialist advisor we work with.

Everything works on a case-by-case basis and the lender will look closely at your individual credit profile to create a combined picture and work out whether they can offer a mortgage or not, though you’ll almost certainly need to seek the help of a broker beforehand so they can identify the right lenders for you to approach.

Can you be added to a mortgage if you have poor credit?

Potentially, although as with applying for a mortgage outright, it can be more difficult. It will normally depend on the severity of the credit issue and how recent it was, and be prepared for the fact that some mainstream lenders may not accept it.

Types of bad credit that can affect your joint application

Some types of bad credit can impact your application more severely than others. If a joint applicant has one or more of the following credit issues, it could make it more difficult to be approved:

How will the lending criteria be affected if one applicant has a low credit score?

A low credit score will reduce the number of mortgage lenders willing to consider your application, which can indirectly affect the terms and deposit requirements on offer. It’s likely that you will be offered a higher mortgage rate and fees, and may need a much larger deposit than normal.

Yet the lender will take the underlying circumstances into account and the reason for the applicant’s poor credit, factoring in things like the type and severity of the problem experienced, when it occurred, how much debt was involved and what’s been done since to improve the situation.

There are a lot of other factors that will be included in the approval process as well, as is the case with all joint mortgage applications.

These include:

Does being married make a difference?

Buying a house when one spouse has bad credit isn’t all that dissimilar to if the applicants are unmarried partners or completely unattached – the lender will still look at both parties’ credit profiles to determine their suitability to lend.

However, the difference comes if you’re hoping to have only one party named on the mortgage. In most cases, married couples will both need to be named, whereas unattached buyers can apply for a mortgage in one name only.

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Is it possible to leave a partner with adverse credit off the mortgage?

Yes, but this would essentially just be a solo mortgage application. Your partner can live with you at the property but would not be named on the title deeds, nor would they have any legal right to the property unless you were to remortgage onto a joint mortgage agreement when their bad credit is resolved.

How to improve your chances of being approved

One of the key things a lender will look at is what you  – the applicants – have done to resolve the situation. So, if you’ve suffered from credit issues in the past, it’s vital to do everything you can to boost your creditworthiness and prove to lenders that you’re a responsible borrower.

For example:

  • Never miss future payments (and set up direct debits to ensure it)
  • Pay more than the minimum if you can afford to
  • Don’t over-rely on credit or apply for too much at once
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio
  • Focus on saving to build a substantial deposit
  • Make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address
  • If you’re not yet named on household bills, make sure you’re added
  • Ensure you’re living comfortably within your means

Which lenders can help?

When bad credit is involved the number of lenders who can help will be far more limited. It can depend on the type of issue experienced, too, but here are a few lenders who will consider applications in these circumstances:

  • Nationwide Building Society can potentially consider applicants who had CCJs registered more than 12 months ago, but not if they have a current debt management plan in place.
  • HSBC will consider applicants who have previously been declared bankrupt, provided they have been discharged for more than three years.
  • NatWest will consider applicants who were repossessed more than six years ago, but this will be subject to credit score and bank account conduct.
  • Leeds Building Society can potentially consider applicants who have a current debt management plan in place, provided it was an isolated incident and they meet other criteria.
  • Barclays can potentially accept applicants who have had a previous IVA, provided it was satisfied more than six years ago.

As you can see, many mainstream lenders may consider applicants with previous credit issues on their profile, but this will likely need to be some years previously – which means anyone with more current concerns will almost certainly need to seek specialist solutions and the help of a broker who has experience arranging mortgages in such situations.

What rates to expect

The current deals available for mortgage applicants who have bad credit are as follows:

Lender Product Details
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Last updated May 2024

Please note that the above rates were accurate at the time of writing but are always subject to change. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to find the most up-to-date deals.

Remortgaging a joint mortgage with bad credit

You can remortgage a joint mortgage if one of the applicants has bad credit, but if the adverse appeared since the original mortgage was taken out, it will be taken into account by your lender and you may get a less favourable deal than before.

Whether you are approved for a mortgage will depend on the age, severity and reason for the poor credit. If it is a severe or recent type of adverse, you might need to consult with a specialist mortgage broker to get approved.

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Why Use Online Mortgage Advisor?

If you want to get a joint mortgage with bad credit, specialist advice is essential. We can put you in touch with the broker who can provide that kind of support.

Our unique broker matching service will do the hard work for you – just tell us a few details and we’ll scour our network of brokers to find one who specialises in joint mortgage applications where one person (or both) has poor credit. Call us on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry to get started and arrange a no-obligation chat.

Maximise your chance of approval with a broker who's a specialist in mortgages with bad credit

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Yes, though this will depend on the severity of your poor credit and the reasoning behind it, as well as individual lenders’ criteria. That said, having a good income can definitely improve your chances of approval as it will reduce your overall credit risk, so it’s important to speak to the specialists if you’re in this situation to discuss your options more fully.

Not exactly – but there are ways you can boost your eligibility and reduce the risk posed by any bad credit you may have if you have family members who are willing to help you out.

Typical options include a guarantor mortgage or a joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage – you can read more about these arrangements through the links.

The mortgage lender will hold both parties responsible in this scenario and has the right to chase each person for the debt. Even if only one of the two people in the joint mortgage has failed to make their payment, both tenants’ credit reports will be impacted.

As all the major credit agencies use different scoring systems, there isn’t one universal number that would guarantee you a mortgage. The best thing to do is to keep a regular check on your report so you can see that your history looks clear before you apply.

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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 Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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