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Getting a Mortgage with a Criminal Conviction

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

No impact on credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: August 10, 2021

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 at some point broken the law, then this article is for you.

The brokers we work with have helped hundreds of customers get a mortgage, even in situations where the criminal conviction is unspent or the client has previously been declined for a mortgage.

We can provide support and guidance throughout your mortgage process, to ensure you’re treated fairly and potentially save time and money.

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

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

Does a criminal conviction affect a mortgage?

This will depend on whether the criminal conviction is spent or unspent. If you’ve been in prison or have been convicted for a crime, getting a mortgage can be difficult with some lenders as they may have rules that restrict their lending in these circumstances.

Can I get a mortgage with a criminal record?

Depending on the conviction, one lender may be happy to loan to you whereas another may decline you for a mortgage. 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 criminal conviction is one 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 time 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 criminal 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?

Most lenders allow borrowers to apply for a mortgage ‘in principle.’ Often this process doesn’t involve questions about criminal records, so 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 criminal convictions. This could result in your mortgage being rejected, depending on the lender’s policy on borrowers with a criminal record.

It may be the case with some lenders that they simply ask you about the conviction to establish whether you meet their criteria. However, with other providers 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 your circumstances. You may be approved, declined or asked for a higher deposit if the lender feels you pose a higher risk that usual.

For more information on affordabilitytalk to an advisor by making an enquiry with us.

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.

How do I apply for a mortgage with a criminal record?

Before you apply, 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.

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Speak to a broker about a criminal conviction mortgage

Life can be tough with a criminal conviction against your name, so the last thing you need is extra hassle when the time comes to make a mortgage application.

The good news is that we work with brokers who specialise in customers with criminal convictions and have a strong track record in saving them time, money and potential disappointment. Call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online and we’ll introduce you to one of these brokers for a free, on-obligation chat.

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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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