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A Guide to Income Types and Mortgages

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: June 17, 2022

There are a million ways to make a living, but not all of them are acceptable to mortgage lenders… or so you thought. Here we will look at the various income types that you may not have considered viable for a mortgage and explain what your prospects are if that’s how you make your money.

We’ll also touch on mortgages for those who rely on benefits and more.

What types of income will mortgage lenders accept?

The main criteria for mortgage lenders is that any income declared is both sustainable for the life of the loan and is enough to make mortgage payments. This could include salary and wages, bonuses, commission, shares, allowances, dividends and more.

If your income is classed as ‘non-standard’ or ‘complex’ professional advice is recommended since your chances of being declined for a mortgage or offered an unfavourable deal are often higher.

Examples of non-standard income include, but are not limited to, the following…

  • Fixed income
  • Variable income
  • Limited Liability Partnership income
  • Trust income
  • Apprenticeship wage
  • Trainee pay
  • Bursary income
  • Dividends as income
  • Benefits
  • Other self-employed income
  • Wages from a new job
  • Zero hour contracts
  • Part time
  • Temp workers

How your job can influence getting a mortgage

The way you make your money has a major bearing on your mortgage prospects as some lenders specialise in customers who trade in a certain way, and others don’t.

If you’re self-employed or have complex/non-standard income, it’s important to find a lender who understands your needs and finances, and this is something a broker can help you with.

Read on to find out how your employment type can impact your mortgage options…


People who are self-employed have possibly the widest range of ways in which they are paid. This includes freelancers with multiple clients, contractors with a single client, gig workers, business owners and company directors. For all the ins and outs on self-employed incomes and how they relate to mortgages, see our complete guide to self-employed mortgages.


These can include doctors, teachers, architects, senior civil servants, armed forces personnel, nurses and many more. Pay can increase significantly as they rise higher in their careers. Some lenders may take into account ‘future earnings’ when considering a mortgage application. For more information see our guide to mortgages for professionals.

New job

Most lenders require at least 3 months worth of payslips before considering a mortgage application. Some may accept less time in employment and a few could accept even less if an iron clad employment contract could be produced. See our standalone guide for more info on getting a mortgage when starting a new job. 

Zero hours contract

There are more people on zero hours contracts than ever before. While many believe they can fulfil financial commitments such as a mortgage, the automated processes that many lenders use usually do not take into account such circumstances. There are a few lenders who will consider zero hours contracts, and the advisors we work with know who they are.

Part Time

Lenders are more concerned with your ability to service the loan, than how many hours you work. So if you have the income and a suitable deposit, there shouldn’t be a problem in obtaining a mortgage. See our guide to getting a mortgage with a part-time job for more.

Temp workers

Most lenders will want to see that you can make your monthly repayments over the course of the loan. Some are happy with certain types of temporary worker, such as doctors and IT workers. Remember that all lenders are different and may take applications on a case-by-case basis. You can find more info on mortgages for temp workers in our standalone guide.

You can find out how much you could potentially borrow if your income comes from employed or self-employed contract work by using our calculator below…

calculator icon

Contractor Mortgage Affordability Calculator

Our contractor mortgage calculator will tell you how much you can borrow, whether you work in an employed or self-employed capacity. Select your trading style below, enter the relevant details about your income and our calculator will do the rest.

The amount of money you earn each month. If it varies, put the average
The amount of money you earn each month. If it varies, put the average
The amount of money you earn each day. If it varies, put the average
If you don't work the same days a week, put the average

You could borrow up to 

Most lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on a multiple of 3-4.5 times your income, a standard calculation used by the majority of UK mortgage lenders. You should speak to a mortgage broker for bespoke calculations if you have been contracting for less than 12 months, your contract is coming to an end, or there is uncertainty around your long-term employment.

This is based on a multiple of 3-4.5 times your income, a standard calculation used by the majority of UK mortgage lenders. You should speak to a broker for bespoke calculations if you’ve been self-employed for less than 2-3 years, have declining profits or fluctuating income.

Some lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 5 times your income, a calculation only some lenders are willing to offer. You may struggle to find a lender who will offer this income multiple to an employed contractor without the help of a broker, and you should seek advice from one regardless if there is any uncertainty around your employment situation.

This is based on 5 times your income, a calculation only some lenders offer. You might need a broker to access this salary multiple and should take advice from one regardless if you’ve been self-employed for less than 2-3 years, have declining profits or fluctuating income.

A minority of lenders would consider letting you borrow

Only a small number of options are available for employed contractors who want to borrow based on this salary multiple. Few UK mortgage lenders offer mortgages based on x6 income under any circumstances, and you’ll almost certainly need the help of a specialist mortgage broker who knows this corner of the market inside out to access them.

Only a small number of options are available for self-employed contractors who want to borrow based on this salary multiple, as few mortgage providers are willing to offer 6 times salary deals. You’ll almost certainly need the help of a mortgage broker to borrow this amount.

Get Started with an expert broker to find out exactly how much you could borrow.

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Fixed Income Mortgages

A fixed income covers a number of scenarios, including pensions, and many are considered an acceptable risk to a lender.

Others include securities, which is a type of investment where the issuing company is required to pay the recipient a fixed amount on a certain date.

Others include-

  • Bonds
  • Loan Stocks
  • Government Bonds
  • Fixed Interest Securities
  • Disability Pensions

There are a number of lenders who will consider an application from an individual on a fixed income and whether you could be eligible for a fixed income mortgage, is dependent on a number of factors –

  • Your level of income
  • How much you wish to borrow
  • How much deposit you have
  • Your credit history

There’s some good news if you’re in receipt of disability benefits, because there are a few lenders who are more than happy to accept disability benefits as income when it comes to applying for a fixed income mortgage.

To mitigate any additional risk of benefit income vs earned income, some will cap lending to a certain % of your income, so for example @ 75%, if you receive £20,000 in benefits, they will allow you to apply as if you are earning £15,000. We work with a number of advisors who are experts in this area and they will work with you to try to achieve the best possible deal.

Getting a mortgage with variable income

Variable income can cover a whole range of jobs and professions, from those on low income with high commission (this may include people in the car sales industry), those on zero contract hours or freelance contractors on variable hourly rates. Lenders will look at your application as a whole and look at your income record as well as your possible future income to meet mortgage criteria

Getting a mortgage with no income

If you really want to see how good the advisors we work with are, then ask them about getting a mortgage with no income.

Few lenders will look at a mortgage with no income, but there are some exceptions.

You may be an experienced landlord or someone with high net worth, but no income. You’d have to prove you have a huge stash of cash lying around to show you can service the loan until you get a job or other income stream.

Every mortgage lender in the UK now has the responsibility to ensure the borrower can afford the loan, so all will make some form of “check”.

That said, there are certainly some lenders that are much more flexible than others when it comes to acceptable types for instance:

  • If you’re self employed and don’t have a long trading record, but you can prove future earnings and have an accountant willing to put a projection in writing, then they may consider your application
  • If you’re set to start a new job in the future, a nice juicy contract just might do the trick.
  • If you own a company with profits but are choosing not to draw them out, so have little/no personal income, there are some lenders happy to accept your share of retained profits.

There are a variety of reasons why someone might want a mortgage with no current income, and a number of lenders are happy to consider justification on a case by case basis.

Limited Liability Partnership mortgages

In its simplest form, a Limited Liability Partnership does what it says on the tin. An LLP allows you to be in a partnership without risking your own assets.

For taxation purposes, an LLP pays no corporate tax, instead each member is treated as self-employed (many law and accountancy firms are set up as LLPs), and so members will need to prove income just like any other self-employed individual.

This means many lenders will require 3 years of accounts, although some will require as little as one or two years accounts and a few less than 12 months subject to certain criteria. Buy to let mortgages for LLP’s are usually available from lenders who also arrange BTL through a Limited Company.

In most cases the lending criteria is pretty much identical. We work with specialist advisors who can help you find a lender who will consider an LLP mortgagee, including re-mortgages and ‘buy to let’ mortgages for LLPs.

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Trust income mortgages

A trust is usually set up to manage assets such as money, investments or property. The first thing you need to do is find out if the trust has the authority to borrow money for a trust fund income mortgage, which is not always the case.

A trust income mortgage is an excellent way of getting your child onto the property ladder (and you could save a lot of money in rent in the long term). It’s also an opportunity to be able to avoid capital gains tax and inheritance tax, so it’s a good financial decision for all parties.

Someone will have to act as trustee to manage the trust and the trust income for the mortgage. So, what is a mortgage trustee? Simply put, the mortgage trustee definition is someone who manages the trust on behalf of, and for the benefit of someone else.

Lenders tend to distrust trusts (if you’ll excuse the pun) because there is a lack of personal liability, so if you’re using trust income to qualify for a mortgage, it is common for someone to act as guarantor for the debt.

Is income from a trust acceptable for getting a mortgage?

The short answer is yes. If you are receiving a regular income from a trust, then that can be considered as income for a mortgage. There are lenders who will accept 100% of income from a trust fund.

Of course the usual criteria apply and you may be asked to provide tax returns for up to three years. Again, your level of income, ability to service a mortgage, your deposit and credit history will all play a part.

As a trust income mortgage is such a specialist area, you’ll need help from one of the advisors we work with to ensure you get a positive outcome.

Can you get a mortgage as an apprentice?

This is potentially possible, but it can be difficult without professional advice. Apprentices are often paid a notoriously low wage as the company employing them usually sees them as an asset for the future, rather than a fully productive employee from the word go.

If you, or your son or daughter, are looking for a mortgage on an apprenticeship, there are a number of lenders who might consider approval, taking the following criteria into account…

  • Basic wage or salary (some lenders have a minimum)
  • Overtime/bonus paid (some lenders accept 100%, others limit amount used)
  • Job security (are you likely to be offered a permanent role? If there’s no guarantee, then more lenders will have an issue with this.
  • How much you want to borrow (is your income enough to afford repayments?)
  • How much deposit you have saved (you’ll need a minimum of 5% deposit, more if you’ve had bad credit or another reason lenders may not consider your application).
  • If your parents/family are willing to help financially (there are a variety of options where they can assist, either through deposit or using their income as guarantors)

If you’re a trainee, mortgage providers will also look at a similar set of criteria and tend to look at each case individually. So, if you want to know, can I get a mortgage being an apprentice?

The best course of action is to sit down with a mortgage advisor – not just any mortgage advisor, but one of the ones we work with who specialises in this area. It could mean the difference between getting a mortgage as an apprentice or not.

Getting a mortgage with a bursary

An NHS bursary is a monthly payment made to students to help with living costs and tuition fees. The beauty of these payments is that they are not affected by income tax or national insurance payments, so all of the amount paid is available (apart from some private bursaries in certain scenarios).

As usual, many lenders have different criteria and can look at each NHS bursary mortgage application on an individual basis.

The factors that would be taken into account include –

  • Annual bursary amount (some lenders have minimum acceptable incomes)
  • If you’re entitled to Disabled Students Allowance (this can help affordability)
  • Any additional income from part time work (as above)
  • Are you likely to go into employment once the bursary training period has ended? (if not, lenders are less likely to accept you)
  • How much deposit you have (you’ll need at least 5%, more with many lenders)
  • If your parents are willing to help financially (either with deposit or helping you afford repayments as guarantor or joint owners)

We believe that as a vital NHS worker, you shouldn’t be disadvantaged when it comes to owning your own home, so we’ll put you in touch with one of the best advisors we work with who will do everything in their power to try to get you the best mortgage on the market.

Using dividend income for a mortgage application

Many business owners and directors pay themselves a relatively low salary, then top it up with dividends. So, if you want to know if you can get a mortgage using dividend income, the short answer is ‘yes’, dividends do count as income for a mortgage.

For a dividends mortgage application, the usual affordability criteria apply, and you can find out more about mortgages on dividend income or using retained profits for a mortgage application in our standalone guide through the link.

If you’re a business owner, there are some lenders who will also take into consideration retained profits for a mortgage application, which means you may well be able to borrow more than you think if lenders are just looking at drawings you’ve made from the business.

Talk to one of the advisors we work with to see how you can use this to your best advantage.

Getting a mortgage on benefits

Yes, it may be possible to get a mortgage on benefits, though it depends on your circumstances, how well you meet the mortgage lender’s criteria, and if you can afford the repayments.

Mortgage providers will also check how much income you receive from benefits versus a salary/retirement income (if applicable) and the total combined amount.

Many mortgage lenders will accept government benefits and could consider the following benefits:

  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credits
  • Child benefits
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit (IIB)
  • Incapacity benefit (IB)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Pension Credits
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance.

However, some lenders will not accept any form of state or employer benefits towards your income when assessing a mortgage application.

Get matched with an expert mortgage broker today

Professional advice is a must if you’re applying for a mortgage with non-standard or complex income. It’s vitally important that you find a lender who understands your needs and finances, as this will boost your chances of mortgage approval and landing a good deal.

We offer a free broker-matching service that will take your needs, circumstances and income type into account to pair you up with an expert who specialises in customers just like you. They will have deep working relationships with the lenders you need and can make sure you find the right one, first time.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and a broker who helps people with your income and employment type every day.


Can you get help with your mortgage if on benefits?

You cannot get help with getting a mortgage to buy a home, but if you already own a home, you may be entitled to help with the mortgage interest.

What benefit income is acceptable?

There are a few lenders who will accept pensions or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as income when accessing your ability to service a mortgage. Other benefits may count towards overall income on a lender by lender basis.

What about unemployment benefits (JSA)?

There are some lenders who will consider an application from someone on certain kinds of benefits. Talk to one of the advisors we work with who specialise in this area.

Can I use child support as income for a mortgage?

While many lenders don’t consider child support to be part of your income, there are a few that will take it into account.

Does maintenance count as income for a mortgage?

Yes, some lenders accept up to 100% of maintenance income. It will depend on the lender and you would generally need a history of maintenance payments to be considered, or a court order for them to be paid.

The age of the children is also a factor, as some lenders will only lend if the children are under a certain age, to ensure the benefits are likely to continue for a reasonable period of time.

Can you get a mortgage on disability benefits?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is considered income by quite a few lenders when it comes to applying for a mortgage. The usual criteria would apply and remember, if you meet their conditions, they cannot refuse you a mortgage because you are disabled.

Do tax credits count as income for a mortgage?

While some lenders won’t accept tax credits, there are a few lenders who will accept tax credits as income. This can vary, with some lenders accepting 100% of the credit toward income, while others can cap it at 60%.

Which mortgage lenders accept tax credits?

There are lenders that accept tax credits as income for a mortgage. You’ll need to provide bank statements or letters from the relevant government organisation to substantiate your claim. Talk to one of our advisors to find out your best options and which lenders will suit your circumstances in regard to mortgage tax credits.

Can I get a mortgage with no income verification?

Getting a mortgage with little/no income evidence is often a problem faced by the self-employed or those on contract work. The days of self-assessment of income are long gone, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lenders who would consider your application.

There are various people able to borrow now in all manner of circumstances, such as newly self-employed, temporary workers, and contractors on day rates. There are even mortgages for professional gamblers. Talk to one of the mortgage experts we work with to see what your options are.

Can I get a mortgage as a gig worker?

If you work in the gig economy (also known as freelance or contract work) it can be a bit trickier but the advisors we work with specialise and understand this type of self-employment, there are gig worker mortgages available the lenders will just want to see your accounts or consistent contracts.

Can I get a mortgage with low income and in receipt of benefits?

Many lenders are happy to consider different types of benefits as mentioned above and if you have income from employed or self-employed work as long as you can evidence the income there may be some lenders available to you who will use both to help improve your affordability for a mortgage, you can read more about low income mortgages in our guide.

Can I get a UK mortgage based on overseas income?

Yes, this is possible but you will almost certainly need a specialist lender for a complex application like this. Some lenders consider applicants whose main earnings are in US dollars, Euros, Australian dollars and many other currencies.

You can read more about this topic in our guide to getting a UK mortgage based on foreign income.

Do shares count as income for a mortgage?

Yes, provided you have documentary evidence to confirm the value of them and that you legally hold them, there are mortgage lenders who may consider allowing you to declare investments such as stocks and shares as income.

Can tax credits be used as income for a mortgage?

Yes. There are lenders who are happy to consider child tax credits, child benefit and working tax credits as declarable income, but you’re likely to need additional income sources on top of this to be approved for a mortgage, under most circumstances.

Be sure to keep any letters you’ve received about your tax credits from the tax office, as the lender may request them as evidence of your income.

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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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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!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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 who 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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