Mortgage Applications and Address History

Learn how much address history you’ll need to get a mortgage, how to get a mortgage with limited proof of address and more.

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Home Mortgage Application Mortgage Applications And Address History
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: December 21, 2023

If you’re applying for a mortgage and have limited proof of address, the lender you approach could be the difference between approval and outright rejection.

In this article, we’ll explain how much address history you’ll need to get a mortgage, how to get a mortgage with limited proof of address and where to look for the right guidance.

How many years of address history do you need for a mortgage?

Most mortgage lenders will request at least 2-3 years of UK address history and many will decline applicants that don’t have this amount outright. That said, some mortgage providers will consider applications with 1-2 years, others don’t specify a minimum amount required and will assess the application based on other factors.

The mortgage providers with the strictest policies on this will occasionally make exceptions and lend to borrowers who have less than 2-3 years’ proof of address in the UK. For example, they might be more willing to consider offering you a mortgage if the reason for your lack of ‘proof of address’ is due to you being a British expat who’s just returned to the UK.

The amount of address history you have can determine the number of approachable lenders and more deals available to you. This means it can have a major impact on the rates you end up with, and indeed, whether you’re approved for a mortgage at all.

This is why speaking to a mortgage advisor is recommended before you apply, regardless of how much proof of address you have. They can boost your chances of landing the best deal possible by matching you with a lender whose requirements you’re the perfect fit for.

Other exceptions lenders might make

Some lenders are able to accept foreign address history under these circumstances, as long as the applicant is residing in the UK at the time of the application. If you’re a foreign national, rather than an expat, it will likely help your cause if you have the indefinite right to remain and work in the UK, ideally with 12 months of residence here under your belt.

Mortgage providers who accept applications based on 6 months’ history or less will only do so under certain conditions. You’ll likely need to have been in continuous employment for a set period of time, preferably with the same employer for at least 6 months of that period.

Other mortgage lenders might base the application on your credit score with no address history requirements, as long as your score is high enough. These mortgage providers usually assess applicants on a case-by-case basis and may insist on extra underwriter checks.

Moreover, there are banks and building societies that are known to be more lenient with UK address history requirements if you’re a first-time buyer.

The risks of applying with a limited address history

The biggest risk, if you’re going it alone and trying to find a suitable mortgage lender yourself, is that you might approach one who declines applicants with limited address history outright. Being rejected for a mortgage on any grounds can have an impact on your credit report and this could set your plans back by jeopardising future applications for finance.

Another risk to be aware of is the possibility of having to put down a larger deposit. There are lenders who cap the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio at 75% for borrowers with minimal address history, and this would obviously be an issue if you have less than a 25% deposit.

The best way to offset these risks is by speaking to a specialist mortgage broker. The advisors we work with have access to the entire market and know exactly how much address history each lender will accept, so you can rest assured you’ll be matched with the right one, first time.

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Why lenders need address history

Your current address and address history are vital parts of your credit information. Mortgage lenders will need to see evidence of it to help them verify your identity and safeguard themselves against possible fraud, but also to trace your financial history at each address.

Being able to view your financial conduct at each address you’ve listed will help the lender form a picture of your creditworthiness, which they will use to determine the level of risk involved in letting you borrow the finance you need. Most lenders prefer borrowers with stable circumstances, so having multiple addresses in a short space of time can be a red flag to them, although many lenders have the flexibility to take the reason for this into account.

To help them verify your identity, mortgage lenders and underwriters will compare the addresses you’ve listed on your application form with official records, such as the electoral register. If you’re not listed there, it’s a good idea to sign up before you apply.

Do credit reports show previous addresses?

Yes. Addresses are reported to credit reference agencies by lenders and people/organisations you’ve done business with. In addition, any address you’ve used for postal purposes will appear on your credit file, including P.O. boxes and work addresses.

Unlike other types of outdated information, old addresses don’t fall off your credit report and will remain there indefinitely. Luckily having old addresses listed on your file won’t jeopardise a mortgage application, since they don’t impact your credit score.

How to get a mortgage with limited address history

If you’re applying for a mortgage with a limited address history, it’s important to optimise your credit report before you proceed, and finding the right lender is vital. The last thing you want is to approach a mortgage provider who has a strict three-year requirement for address history when you only have proof of where you’ve been living for the last year.

If you need to find a lender who will base your mortgage agreement on your credit score, it’s important to ensure it’s as strong as possible.

Once you’ve checked your credit reports, made sure they’re fully up-to-date and optimised them where possible, it’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker. They will have access to every lender on the market and know exactly what each one will and won’t accept when it comes to address history. They can introduce you to the mortgage provider who’s best positioned to offer you a good deal based on your needs and circumstances.

As well as factoring in how much proof of address you have, your mortgage broker will take the reason for your limited address history into account when searching for your ideal lender. For instance, if your UK history is patchy because you’re an expat who’s been living abroad, your broker will find you a lender who specialises in expat mortgages.

What to do if a previous address is jeopardising your application

This can potentially happen if there’s no official record of you having lived at one of your previous addresses, for whatever reason. This could cause your mortgage application to stall as the lender will likely be wary of an applicant with discrepancies in their address history.

Luckily there are potential workaround solutions here and the best way to take advantage of them is through a mortgage broker. If you have documentary proof of residence at the address in question, they can guide you through the process of submitting this to the credit reference agencies and could help you salvage your existing application.

If your application has been declined because of issues with your address history, your broker could potentially help you find a new lender with more lenient requirements, or even no address history requirements at all, if that’s what’s necessary.

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Does changing address affect an application?

Your mortgage lender will need to be informed about any change to your circumstances if you have an application in motion with them. In this instance, though, it shouldn’t cause an issue but your lender might want to know the reason for your change of address.

The importance of keeping your lender fully informed if you change address at any point during a mortgage application cannot be overstated. The entire application could collapse if the mortgage provider thinks there’s a discrepancy between where you currently live and the address they have listed for you, so be sure to keep them up to date.

Get matched with an expert mortgage broker today

If you have limited proof of address or are concerned that an issue related to one of your previous residences might affect your chances of getting a mortgage, help is available.

We offer a free broker-matching service that will quickly assess your needs, circumstances, and the amount of address history you have to pair you up with the advisor who’s best placed to help you get a mortgage. This will be someone we’ve handpicked, vetted and matched you with because of their track record serving customers just like you.

Call 0808 189 2301 or fill out an enquiry form and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and your ideal mortgage broker today.

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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!

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Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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