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Lying On a Mortgage Application

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: May 23, 2022

Many people feel the need to lie on a mortgage application because they wrongly believe it’s the only way they will be approved for finance. Not only is there a better, more honest, way to boost your chances of mortgage approval, lying on your application form can have dire consequences.

In this guide, we outline why you should never provide false information on a mortgage application, but more importantly, we explain why customers who use the right mortgage broker won’t need to resort to this.

Read on to find out more about the best alternatives to lying about your income, outgoings, marital status and other personal details when applying for a mortgage.

Can you lie on a mortgage application?

You absolutely shouldn’t. These days, mortgage lenders carry out stringent checks when assessing applicants and will ask for documents to verify your personal information as well as wage slips to prove your income.

Even if you manage to hide something from your mortgage provider during the initial phase of checks, it will almost certainly come to light during the underwriting process.

Lying on a mortgage application is never recommended as it would be classed as mortgage fraud. This is obviously illegal and can have very serious consequences.

What are the consequences of lying on a mortgage application in the UK?

First and foremost, you’re unlikely to get a mortgage. Lenders and underwriters are stringent with their assessments and background checks to protect themselves against mortgage fraud. Even if you tell a white lie about your income, it’s likely to come out at some point.

Depending on the nature of the lies you’ve told on your application, a further consequence is criminal prosecution. Providing false information on a mortgage application is classed as mortgage fraud, and if you’re found guilty of this, it’s punishable under UK law.

What penalty could I face?

In a worst case scenario, the penalty for lying on a mortgage application in the UK is up to 10 years in prison. That’s the maximum sentence for serious mortgage fraud, but opportunistic mortgage fraud by an individual is more likely to result in a fine or a suspended sentence.

The exact penalty you’d face would depend on the circumstances of the mortgage fraud.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of crime: opportunistic and large scale.

Opportunistic mortgage fraud is typically seen as the less serious of the two. This is when an individual lies or provides misleading information on their mortgage application to qualify for a financial product that wouldn’t usually be eligible for.

This might include lying about…

  • Income
  • Identity
  • Employment
  • Debt commitments and financial obligations
  • The value of the property and the price it’s selling for

Large scale mortgage fraud, as the name suggests, is illegal activity on a bigger scale and it often involves multiple properties. Organised crime groups have been known to carry out this kind of mortgage fraud to launder money through properties and for other illegal purposes.

If found guilty of large scale mortgage fraud, you’d be more likely to face a custodial sentence.

Why you should never lie on a mortgage application

Lying to a mortgage lender during the application process is obviously not recommended. Aside from the fact that you probably won’t get a mortgage and would be leaving yourself wide open to criminal prosecution, consider the possibility that you might not need to lie to get a mortgage.

If you’re feeling the need to stretch the truth or tell a white lie here or there to boost your chances of mortgage approval, you should speak to a mortgage broker instead. The experts we work with can increase your chances of approval by ensuring you’re paired up with the lender who’s most likely to offer you a mortgage based on your true circumstances.

Many prospective borrowers feel the need to lie about their income, credit issues or outgoings to get a mortgage, but what they don’t realise is that the market is vast, and with the help of a specialist broker, they can secure the finance they need without resorting to lying.

We offer a free broker-matching service and can introduce you to the right expert for your needs and circumstances. Speaking to an expert before you apply for your mortgage will dispel all of the myths you may have fallen for regarding your mortgage prospects. This is the right – and a far more honest – way to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

I’ve already lied on a mortgage application – what should I do?

If you’ve lied on a mortgage application, any qualified expert will tell you that you shouldn’t submit it, as doing so could see you prosecuted for mortgage fraud. If you’ve already turned the application over to your mortgage lender, get in touch with them to inform them that details need to be amended before things progress to the next stage.

A broker can provide you with impartial, bespoke advice if you’ve submitted a mortgage application with incorrect information on it. They can advise you on how to rectify the situation, but also keep in mind that if you speak to an expert beforehand, you might be able to get a mortgage by telling nothing but the truth on your application form.

The right broker can help you get a mortgage even if you…

  • Are earning low income
  • Have a low deposit
  • Have high outgoings
  • Have bad credit
  • Need a joint mortgage but your partner has bad credit
  • Are self-employed with limited proof of income

If you fall into any of the above categories, lying on your mortgage application in the hope of tricking the lender into approving your finance isn’t the answer. But by speaking to a whole-of-market broker, your chances of a successful outcome will be far higher despite your niche circumstances.

Lying about income on your mortgage application

Lying about income on a mortgage application is the most common form of mortgage fraud. This would be classed as opportunistic mortgage fraud and any misinformation provided would usually be flagged up during the lender’s background checks or the underwriter’s report.

Even the smallest white lie about your income, whether that’s the amount you make or how you earn it, is likely to be picked up. Needless to say, you won’t be getting a mortgage if the lender has any reason to suspect mortgage fraud, and you might even end up being prosecuted.

The main reason people lie about their income when applying for a mortgage is because they think they don’t earn enough to be approved for the finance they need. This is often a misconception, and many of these people will find that speaking to a mortgage broker who specialises in affordability issues can help them get an application approved without the need for white lies, half truths or exaggeration.

A mortgage broker can help your income go further

How can a broker help you out in this scenario? Well, with access to the entire market, they could introduce you to a lender where your income is likely to go further. Most mortgage providers cap their lending at 4.5 times your income, but it may be possible to find lenders who are willing to stretch to 5 times your earnings, or even 6 times.

Moreover, there are also lenders who allow customers to declare other sources of income on their application to supplement their wages and bulk up their borrowing potential. These include benefits, bonuses, overtime and commission payments, as well as freelance work on the side.

It’s also worth pointing out that there are specialist mortgage lenders for customers on low income and they will likely consider workaround solutions if you aren’t earning enough to qualify for the mortgage you want. For instance, if you have a family member who’s willing to support you, a specialist low income lender might explore your guarantor mortgage or family mortgage options.

Although there are niche lenders out there who offer higher income multiples and low income mortgage options, you will likely need the help of a mortgage broker to find them. The right broker will be able to present your business case to the right lender in the best light possible to maximise your chances.

Lying about marital status on a mortgage application

People might consider lying about their marital status on a mortgage application because they think it will boost their chances of approval. There are many reasons why they might wrongly believe this, but often it’s because they think they have to hide credit problems in their partner’s name.

Lying about anything on a mortgage application, marital status included, is a very bad idea. If this is something you’re considering and the fact you’d be breaking the law isn’t enough to deter you, bear in mind that you could have mortgage options without falsifying information.

You don’t have to take out a joint mortgage if you’re married. There are workaround solutions including joint borrower, sole proprietor agreements, or alternately, there are flexible lenders who assess joint mortgage applications on their overall strength if one applicant has bad credit.

If you’re feeling that your marital status might negatively impact your mortgage application, get in touch to speak with a specialist broker. They can lay out all of your available options and help you find a workaround solution that’s a better alternative to providing false information and running the risk of getting a criminal record.

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Lying about dependents and other financial commitments on a mortgage application

The main reason someone might lie about their dependents and other financial commitments is because they think they won’t be offered a mortgage if their outgoings are too high. While it’s absolutely true that some mortgage providers will cap their lending or turn you away outright if your outgoings are too high, there could be options available to you.

One of the factors a lender will take into consideration when assessing your creditworthiness is your debt-to-income ratio. This is a figure which tells them how much capital you have left when all of your outgoings are taken into account, expressed as a percentage.

There’s no golden rule on how low your debt-to-income ratio must be to qualify for a mortgage. Lenders will use their discretion here, and you’ll find that some have a much higher cut-off point that others. This is because not all mortgage providers have the same appetite for risk.

With this in mind, a better alternative to providing false information about your outgoings is to speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in high-risk cases and knows exactly which lenders have an appetite for them. We can match you with a mortgage expert who helps people with high debt-to-income ratios every day. They have a strong track record when it comes to saving these customers time, money and potential disappointment in the long run.

Speak to a mortgage broker

If you think you’ll have trouble getting a mortgage for any reason, don’t resort to lying on your application, speak to a mortgage broker instead. Having access to the entire market will boost your chances of a successful outcome more than any amount of white lies ever could.

We offer a free broker-matching service and can pair you up with a mortgage expert who has exactly the right expertise to help you secure finance whatever your circumstances. The brokers we work with have been fully vetted, are FCA regulated and we trained them ourselves.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online and we’ll match you with a whole-of-market broker for a free, no-obligation chat today.

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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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

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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 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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