Mortgages With a Criminal Conviction

Having a criminal record doesn’t mean you can never own a home, but criminal convictions can make getting a mortgage more difficult. Here’s how to do it.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: October 4, 2023

Over a quarter of all working-age adults in the UK have a criminal record, so if you’re worried about how to get a mortgage with a criminal conviction then rest assured that you’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll look at how a criminal record impacts not just mortgages but insurance for homeowners too, which lenders will consider your application and how a broker can help you get the mortgage you need.

Can you get a mortgage with a criminal record?

Yes, although it may be more difficult and your pool of potential lenders will be more limited, but it is still possible to get a mortgage with a criminal conviction. Your chances of mortgage approval will likely depend on whether that conviction is listed as spent and your broader financial situation as well.

Why might a criminal record affect your mortgage application?

Mortgage lenders will all want to know that you can comfortably meet your monthly repayment obligations over the whole term of the loan. Someone with previous criminal convictions would be seen as a riskier applicant than one with none.

If, for example, your conviction was for a serious offence such as theft or fraud then a lender could come to the conclusion that you may be an unreliable borrower.

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Eligibility criteria

Aside from the usual eligibility criteria around loan-to-value ratio, credit records and affordability calculations based on your income, different lenders will have specific criteria around your criminal convictions and how they factor these into their assessment of your application.

The key criteria in this situation is whether or not your conviction is spent. When you get a conviction or caution it remains unspent for a certain amount of time, depending on the crime and the type and length of punishment you receive. After this period of time it becomes spent, and no longer shows on your basic criminal record.

Spent convictions

Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, spent convictions do not legally need to be disclosed to mortgage lenders and therefore should have no direct impact on your ability to get a mortgage. This applies even if lenders ask direct questions beginning ‘have you ever been convicted…’ – you’re legally allowed to say ‘no’ if all of your convictions are spent.

Unspent convictions

If your conviction is unspent, you are legally required to disclose it if your lenders asks. This could potentially lead to your mortgage application being declined.

While it may be possible to secure a mortgage with an unspent conviction under niche circumstances, keep in mind that it can be a lot more difficult and the deal you are offer is unlikely to be as favourable.

How to get a mortgage after a criminal conviction

If you’re applying for a mortgage with a criminal record, make an enquiry with us so we can match you with a broker who specialises in arranging mortgages for people in this situation. Your broker will help you do the following…

  • Check whether your conviction is spent. You are much more likely to be considered for a mortgage if this is the case.
  • Prepare your paperwork and compile the documents you’ll need. In addition to the standard documents required – proof of income, bank statements etc. – you’ll need to include any evidence relating to your criminal conviction
  • Apply for your mortgage with a lender who caters for borrowers with criminal convictions. Your broker will be able to identify those lenders who will consider applicants in these circumstances.

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Which lenders will consider your application?

Every lender will have their own policies when it comes to considering your mortgage application, but your broker will have access to all of this information and will be able to research the best lenders for you based on your personal circumstances.

Many of the high street banks and building societies including Halifax, Natwest, Nationwide and Barclays are open to applications in principle but will consider them very much on a case-by-case basis rather than having a one-size-fits-all all policy.

Most will decline an application if the conviction relates to financial fraud, but it really will vary depending on the nature of the crime and how long ago it happened. Other factors such as your income and how much deposit you’re able to offer to mitigate some of the perceived risk can also play a part.

Getting insurance with a criminal conviction

Looking for insurance with a criminal conviction works in much the same way as a mortgage in that you do not have to disclose spent convictions but are legally obliged to tell your insurer about any unspent convictions if they ask you. If you don’t declare your unspent convictions then not only are you acting illegally, but you won’t be covered by the insurance and if you’re found out it could further impact your future premiums.

This applies to all kinds of insurance, including the common insurance types you may need as a homeowner, such as home insurance, life or critical illness cover. When you tell them about your unspent convictions, some insurers may refuse to insure you, charge you a higher premium or impose special terms.

It’s worth noting that for some types of insurance, such as home insurance, you may be asked to declare unspent convictions of anyone living in the property. Work with a specialist broker to help you navigate the requirements and find the best insurance deals for you.

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Get matched with a broker experienced in these cases

While getting a mortgage with a criminal conviction may not be simple, working with the right mortgage broker can at least make it as stress-free as possible. Our free broker matching service can do the hard work for you, looking at your circumstances and finding the broker with just the right specialist experience to best suit your needs.

Give us a call now on 0808 189 2301 or make an online enquiry and we’ll assess your situation and arrange a no obligation chat for you with one of the pre-vetted expert advisors we work with. There may well be a mortgage out there for you, you just need the right support to find it.

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Criminal records are not included in credit reports and so do not directly impact your credit score (a CCJ is not a criminal conviction). There may be an indirect impact though if you have spent a recent period in prison and were unable to vote or hold any credit in your name.

No, not generally. Mortgage providers do not have access to police databases and so rely on the information you give them. You are legally obliged however to disclose unspent convictions if you are asked about your criminal record.

If you’re looking for a mortgage in Ireland you’ll still be legally obliged to disclose any unspent criminal convictions as well as any spent convictions on insurance applications if they relate to any kind of fraud, deceit or dishonesty when making a claim in the past.

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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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