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Mortgages with Criminal Conviction

Is it possible to get a mortgage if you have a criminal conviction? Find out here.

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By Pete Mugleston   Mortgage Advisor

Last updated: 26th June 2019 *

In the UK, over 11 million people have a criminal record. If like many of these people, you worry that you won’t be able to get a mortgage because you have been in prison or have had a conviction, then this article is for you.

The brokers we work with have helped hundreds of borrowers get a mortgage, even in instances where the conviction is unspent or the borrower has previously been declined a mortgage or has bad credit.

We can provide support and guidance throughout your mortgage process, to ensure that you are treated fairly and find a lender with interest rates and terms that work for you.

Read our guide for more information and advice about how you can get a mortgage with a conviction.

If you’re looking for advice about a criminal conviction mortgage and would like to speak to a specialist today, click here.

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Does a criminal conviction affect a mortgage?

If you have been in prison or have been convicted for a crime, then getting a mortgage can be difficult with some lenders as they may have rules that restrict their lending in these circumstances.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act states that any spent convictions do not have to be disclosed to banks, building societies or mortgage brokers, so if your conviction is spent, this should not affect your choice of lenders.

However, if your conviction is unspent, you are legally obliged to inform banks and other lenders. Every lender has different policies and conditions regarding loaning to a borrower with an unspent conviction.

For example, depending on the conviction, one lender may be happy to loan to you whereas another may reject your application. This is where the expert brokers we work with come in. Talk to one today about your particular circumstances and they’ll do everything in their power for a successful outcome.

What is the difference between spent vs unspent convictions?

Many people come to us confused about how whether their conviction is spent or unspent and this is an important factor because this affects whether they have to legally disclose their conviction or not.

Spent convictions

A spent conviction is a conviction which, under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, can be effectively ignored after a specified amount of time. This type of conviction does not have to be disclosed to a lender.

The length of period it takes for a conviction to become spent varies depending on the sentence given on the date of prosecution.

For example a conviction resulting in a fine would not become spent until 1 year has passed, whereas a conviction with a sentence between 2 ½ to 4 years can take the length of the sentence plus an additional 7 years to pass.

Unspent convictions

Unspent convictions are records that have not yet reached this defined time and will appear on a Basic Criminal Record Check, until they do. For prison sentences over 4 years, often given for more serious crimes, a conviction will always remain unspent.  

Unspent convictions are records that have not yet reached this defined time and will appear on a Basic Criminal Record Check, until they do. For prison sentences over 4 years, often given for more serious crimes, a conviction will always remain unspent.  

Unspent convictions must be disclosed to banks, building societies and mortgage lenders and if you fail to disclose them, you could be prosecuted.

As well as this, if your lender finds out about that you had hidden an unspent conviction, your mortgage agreement could be invalidated as well as any insurance policy connected to it.

How can I check if my conviction is spent?

Charities including Unlock can help you find out whether your conviction is spent or unspent. Unlock is an independent national charity that provides support for people with convictions, often because of the stigma faced because of a criminal record.

Their website will allow you to confidentially log on to their online disclosure calculator and work out whether your convictions are spent or unspent. As well as this, you can also access information, advice and support regarding your previous conviction.

Will lenders check my criminal record?

The majority of lenders allow borrowers to apply for a mortgage ‘in principle.’ Often this process doesn’t involve questions about criminal records. Therefore a lender may initially agree to provide a mortgage in principal.

However, you may find that when you complete the full application form, the lender will ask you to provide details of any unspent convictions. This could result in your mortgage being rejected, depending on the lender’s policy regarding a borrower with a criminal record.

It may be the case with some lenders that they simply ask you details about the conviction in order to establish whether you meet their criteria. However, with some lenders, this could lead to an automatic rejection.

Do lenders have any other checks I need to pass?

Additionally, as with any borrower, you will also have to pass the lender’s checks on affordability. This could include questions regarding your income, employment type, age and credit history. These also vary heavily depending on the lender and depending on your circumstances, you may be approved, declined or asked for a higher deposit.

For more information on affordability, talk to an advisor here.

Are there lenders who will approve criminal conviction mortgages?

There are lenders across the UK that are more likely to accept mortgage applications from borrowers with spent or unspent convictions, and the brokers we work with have experience negotiating with them.

It’s important to find a broker that has successfully found mortgages for borrowers with similar circumstances to you.

A lot of the time, brokers will claim to have whole of market experience, yet when it comes to niche areas such as criminal conviction mortgages, they are unable to find the right lender. This can lead to unnecessary mortgage rejections on your file.

The brokers we work with will take the time to understand your situation and will find lenders who are more likely to approve your application.

Speak to a broker about a criminal conviction mortgage

If you have questions about a spent or unspent conviction mortgage application or want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0800 304 7880 or make an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances.  We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 26th June 2019
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of 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 info 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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