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What To Do If You’ve Had a Mortgage Application Declined By Leeds Building Society

Updated: March 24, 2021

Pete Mugleston
Author: Pete Mugleston Mortgage Advisor, MD


Leeds Building Society is a good, well-respected mortgage provider but no lender in the UK is able to accept every single application they receive. The aim of this article is to help you understand what your options could be if your mortgage application has fallen outside of Leeds Building Society's lending criteria.

If you’ve had a mortgage application declined by Leeds Building Society, it’s okay to feel upset, disappointed or frustrated, but don’t assume that this is the end of your home-buying ambitions. While rejection can be disheartening, always keep in mind that there might be grounds to appeal against the lender’s decision, or the potential to salvage your plans with another lender.

Whatever the circumstances surrounding your rejection, we’re here to help by matching you with your ideal mortgage broker. The right advisor will have the expertise to help you turn that rejection into an approval. But first, read through our guide to find out what your next move should be if Leeds Building Society have declined you, or you think they’re about to decline you.

Options could still be available, and the brokers we work with can help you choose the right one.

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Common reasons why Leeds Building Society rejects mortgage applications

1. There’s an issue with your credit report
Leeds Building Society does offer bad credit mortgages for customers with a range of credit issues but, as is the case with most mortgage lenders, there are types of bad credit that they consider deal-breakers. For example, customers with unsatisfied defaults, debt management plans and county court judgements (CCJs) are usually rejected on the spot.

If you have one of these issues against your name and Leeds Building Society has declined your mortgage because of it, it’s all too easy to lose hope and fear the worst about your prospects. But the good news is that a rejection on these grounds is by no means the end of the line. There are specialist bad credit lenders who offer mortgages to people with defaults, debt management plans and CCJs every day, and the brokers we work with know exactly how to find them.

2.You’re self-employed and want to borrow based on your latest year’s accounts
If you’ve been self-employed for at least 24 months and have evidence of your income over that period, there’s no reason why Leeds Building Society won’t at least consider you for a mortgage.

But issues may arise if you want your affordability assessment to be based solely on your latest year’s accounts. Maybe you only have one year’s trading under your belt, or perhaps you had an exceptional last 12 months, but struggled the year before

Either way, Leeds Building Society isn’t the mortgage lender for you if you want to borrow based solely on your latest year of trading. They’re known to reject applications on these grounds, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. The brokers we work with have deep relationships with lenders who specialise in self-employed professionals, and some of them are willing to lend based on one year’s accounts, under the right circumstances.

3.Leeds Building Society doesn’t lend for your property type
Some aspiring homebuyers have found that Leeds Building Society offered them a decision in principle (AIP), but ultimately rejected their application when it came to the full mortgage offer stage. This may occur when property surveys have come back. Sometimes this is because the survey results suggest the property is worth less than what the buyer is paying for it, but it might also be because a build type that falls outside of Leeds Building Society’s lending criteria has been found.

They usually reject mortgage applications on properties with British Iron & Steel Federation construction, wholly timbered construction or non-repaired prefabricated reinforced concrete.

If you got as far as the AIP stage, only for your application to fall apart because one of these building materials were discovered, we understand why you might be feeling disheartened, but try to keep in mind that not all lenders dislike non-standard construction as much as Leeds Building Society.

In fact, there are brokers in our network who specialise in non-standard’ construction properties, and they might be able to offer you a lifeline by referring you to a lender who offers mortgages for properties with unusual build types every day.

4.The lender is wary of your deposit source
One of the reasons why Leeds Building Society might decline your mortgage application early on is because they’re uncomfortable with the source of your deposit. This is something you’ll need to evidence early on to get an agreement in principle, and while Leeds Building Society are happy with many of the more traditional deposit sources, they’re not keen on unsecured loans, gifted deposits unless they’re from an immediate family member, and overseas capital from outside of the European Union and European Economic Area.

If your deposit came from a ‘non-traditional’ source, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Leeds Building Society will turn you down straight away, but if that does happen, try to stay positive. We can offer you a safety net in the form of a broker who specialises in usual deposit sources. They have tight connections with lenders who are known to be flexible with mortgage deposits, and they could be a much better fit for you than Leeds Building Society.

5. Your income is made up primarily of benefits
 Many people on benefits such as Universal Credit have other capital to declare on a mortgage application, and with some mortgage lenders, the total amount they’re bringing in across all of their income sources is enough to get them onto the property ladder. It’s even possible to get a mortgage with an income made up primarily of benefits, under the right circumstances.

If you’re looking for a deal like this from Leeds Building Society, unfortunately you’d be out of luck since they don’t consider applications where benefits are listed as the primary income source. But if they reject you because of this, don’t assume that getting a mortgage is impossible.

There are brokers in our network who specialise in customers whose main source of income in benefits, and they know exactly which lenders are willing to consider offering a mortgage under these circumstances. And there’s more good news: one of these specialist lenders might even be willing to approve you with a recent rejection from Leeds Building Society on your file.

Been declined because of something else?

There are countless other reasons why Leeds Building Society might decline you for a mortgage, but for every issue that can derail a mortgage application, there’s an expert who specialises in solving it. Whatever problem is blocking your path to the property ladder, we can match you with a broker who can help you overcome it, whether there’s through re-negotiations with Leeds Building Society, or starting afresh with a new mortgage lender who is offering a far superior deal.


If you’ve been offered a mortgage in principle by Leeds Building Society but are worried that your application might be rejected before completion, it’s not too late to take a pause for expert advice. The brokers we work with can tell you whether it’s best to stick with Leeds Building Society or consider an even better deal that’s on offer with another lender.

What to do if Leeds Building Society has refused your mortgage application

If you’ve had a mortgage declined by Leeds Building Society or think they’re about to put you in the rejection pile, here are the steps to take to give yourself the best chance of salvaging your plans.

  1. Don’t make another application just yet
    So many people make the mistake of rushing out to another lender in the hope of getting a better outcome the second time around, but if you don’t know the market inside out, there’s no guarantee that things will be any different than they were with Leeds Building Society.
    By rushing into a second application straight away, you’d be running the risk of another rejection, and too many finance applications over such a short period can negatively impact your credit report. This might set your plans even further back by jeopardising any future mortgage applications. Also bear in mind that the associated costs of starting an application with another lender at the wrong time could be quite high.
  2. Gather all of the facts
    If Leeds Building Society wouldn’t approve you, find out exactly why so you can explore a workaround solution armed with all of the facts. Request a copy of any reports they had carried out and download all of your credit files so you can see any issues firsthand and have any outdated information corrected. A broker can help you optimise your credit report for next time.
    If you’re short on time or unable to get hold of the relevant documents, simply jump ahead to step three.
  3. Speak to a mortgage broker
    A broker is your best possible defence against mortgage rejection as their advice could be the difference between another rejection and mortgage approval. The right broker will know how to re-negotiate with Leeds Building Society on your behalf, and if there are no grounds for appeal, they might even be able to find you another lender who is more likely to approve you.
    We offer a free broker-matching service that will pair you up with the broker who’s best positioned to help you overcome whatever issue stopped you from getting a mortgage with Leeds Building Society. This will be a specialist advisor we’ve vetted ourselves, someone who offers a lifeline to customers who’ve been rejected by a high street mortgage lender every day.

How the mortgage brokers we work with can help you

If you’ve been declined for a mortgage by Leeds Building Society, don’t give up on your homeownership ambitions. A mortgage rejection might be disappointing, but other options could be available, and you’ll stand the best chance of salvaging your plans if your next move is to speak to a mortgage broker who specialises in customers who’ve been turned down by high street lenders.

Finding the right lender is absolutely vital, as mortgage advisors tend to specialise in different areas, and you’ll need one whose bread and butter is whatever issue prevented you from getting a mortgage, whether that’s bad credit, low income or a non-standard property type.

We offer a free broker-matching service that will ensure you’re paired up with the best expert for your needs and circumstances. The advisor we match you with can check whether there are grounds to appeal against Leeds Building Society’s decision and re-negotiate with them for you, if that’s the best option. But you might even find that they can get you a better mortgage elsewhere.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation chat between you and your ideal mortgage advisor today.

Options could still be available, and the brokers we work with can help you choose the right one.

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How much deposit do I need to get a mortgage with Leeds Building Society?

This will depend on the property type and value. For ‘standard’ residential properties worth between £300,000 and £400,000, Leeds Building Society asks for at least 10% deposit, though they will consider 5% deposit deals for customers buying a home valued at under £300,000.

For new build homes, a higher deposit of at least 15% is usually needed. You can read more about their deposit requirements in Leeds Building Society’s lending criteria guide.

If you think you might be declined for a mortgage because you don’t have enough deposit, see our guide to low-deposit mortgages to read about your potential options.

How much will Leeds Building Society let me borrow?

They typically lend to eligible customers based on a multiple of their income. The income multiple Leeds Building Society bases its mortgage offers on is between 4.5 and 4.75 times the combined income of all of the applicants who will be going on the mortgage.

If you’ve been declined for a mortgage because your salary multiple wasn’t high enough to cover the property you want to buy, keep in mind that there are lenders who offer higher income multiples than this, as well as mortgage providers who will let you declare other sources of income, such as benefits and freelance work on the side, on your mortgage application.

How much address history will they ask for?

Leeds Building Society ask for at least 24 months of UK address history before they’ll offer an agreement in principle or mortgage offer. If you were declined because you couldn’t provide this much address history, the good news is that a broker could introduce you to a lender who asks for less than two years’ history. There are lenders who ask for 6-12 months, and even none at all.

Does Leeds Building Society offer interest-only mortgages?

Yes, Leeds Building Society offers interest-only mortgages but their deposit requirements are high if you want one to buy a main residence. You’ll need at least 40% deposit in addition to a clearly evidenced repayment vehicle.

If you’re unable to save up that much, we work with brokers who specialise in interest-only mortgages, and they might be able to match you with a lender with lower deposit requirements.

Leeds Building Society have ‘referred’ my mortgage on. What does that mean?

This means that the lender has passed your application onto its underwriting team for further checks. This is common practise for any mortgage application and is by no means an indication that there’s a problem or that Leeds Building Society is likely to reject you.

It is, however, a good opportunity to double check that Leeds Building Society is the right lender for you and compare the deal they’re offering with products from other mortgage providers. If you speak to a broker, they can check this for you and advise on whether staying put is the best option.

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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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