If you want to get a joint mortgage but one of you has filed for bankruptcy, it can be harder to get accepted. You might be worried about how long you’ll both need to wait until you can buy a home.
The good news is it's still possible to get a joint mortgage after being bankrupt, but you'll have different options and timescales compared to those with perfect credit scores.
In this Guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know when applying for a joint mortgage with an applicant that’s been bankrupt. We’ll explain what different lenders will be looking for in order to approve your application, and what you can do to improve your chances of being accepted.
In this guide:
Yes, you can get a joint mortgage after bankruptcy. But it’ll be more difficult. That’s because most high-street banks will refuse to give you a joint mortgage if one of you has filed for bankruptcy. They’re just not very good at dealing with complex situations. But there are specialist lenders who will consider your application. You definitely have options.
If your partner’s been bankrupt, you may be worried about what your borrowing options are and whether you should try to get a mortgage alone instead. The best thing to do is work with a specialist mortgage broker who’s dealt with situations just like yours before. They’ll have good relationships with specialist mortgage lenders and will be able to find you both the right rate for you.
It’s a mortgage myth that you can ‘never get credit again’ after being bankrupt. At Haysto, we’re working to address the misconceptions and remove the stigma that comes with bad credit. Our Mortgage Experts have seen it all, and are never judgemental. They understand that life happens and bad credit doesn’t make you a bad person. They'll be upfront about anything that could affect your application, and will work to find a mortgage lender who’s likely to accept you. Get started.
Read more in our Guide: Mortgages After Bankruptcy
Previous bankruptcies will have an impact on your joint mortgage application. Most of the high-street banks will turn you both away because they often just have a policy to not deal with complex situations. But there's specialist mortgage lenders who can help.
Lenders make decisions based on your level of risk. They’ll look for anything in your credit reports that might indicate that either of you won’t keep up with your mortgage repayments. Bankruptcy - even after you’ve been discharged - is a red flag for lenders.
When lenders look at your application, your credit histories will be viewed alongside one another. Most lenders will add your credit scores together and you may need to meet their minimum score to be considered.
Whether or not your application is approved will depend on the length of time since the bankruptcy and any other issues on your credit reports. Bankruptcies will be looked on less favourably than a few missed payments. But if one of you has a perfect credit rating then this can seriously improve your chances.
Your chance of being approved for a joint mortgage will increase significantly if you work with a specialist mortgage broker. They’ll have access to the right lenders and know how to present your application to show why the bankruptcy happened and how you’ve turned it around to make your repayments every month.
Read more about this in our Guide to find out how joint mortgages are assessed: How do lenders assess a joint mortgage application?
Bankruptcies disappear from your credit file even after six years, but most lenders will still ask whether either of you have ever been bankrupt. It's always best to be honest from the outset to avoid any major issues later on.
If either of you have previously been bankrupt, your name will have been placed on the National Hunter database. This contains everyone who's ever been bankrupt, even after they’ve been discharged. A lender will be able to find you on this database, even if you’ve decided not to declare it. To avoid disappointment and wasting time, let your broker and lender know about the bankruptcy early. You’ll save significant time, effort and money this way!
It’s really important to lenders how much time has passed since you’ve been discharged from your bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is normally officially discharged after 12 months, but it can vary. It’s worth bearing in mind that you won’t be able to apply for a joint mortgage until this has happened. And the more recently the bankruptcy was discharged, the harder it’ll be to get approved.
Some specialist mortgage lenders will consider your application right after being discharged, as long as your mortgage broker presents your application well. Make sure you carefully consider both of your current financial situations and whether you'll be able to afford the monthly repayments. Sticking to good habits will increase your credit scores and prove to lenders that you can be trusted to keep to your monthly repayments.
Read more in our Guide: How long after bankruptcy until I can get a mortgage?
When being considered for a joint mortgage after bankruptcy, lenders will want to see a clean credit history since being officially disqualified. This will usually be a condition of the approval.
Make sure you pay any outstanding debts in full before starting your joint mortgage application. New credit issues (such as Debt Management Plans or CCJs) that have appeared since your bankruptcy will make it a lot harder to get accepted for a joint mortgage.
Remember that both of your credit scores will be considered when applying for a joint mortgage. Your credit histories will be viewed alongside one another. If it’s your partner that's previously been bankrupt, make sure your credit file is as good as it can be too. This can seriously improve your chances of being approved.
It's worth speaking to a specialist bankruptcy mortgage broker who can let you know what your options are.
With joint mortgages, you’re not just responsible for your half of the loan. You’re agreeing to pay off the whole debt if the other person can’t pay. You’re both liable for any joint debt.
When a person goes bankrupt a ‘Trustee’ is appointed over their assets to make sure they pay off as much of their debt as possible. The Trustee will be an insolvency practitioner, they will be in charge of lawfully managing repayments back to the companies who are owed money.
Even if your home was bought with a joint mortgage, the bankrupt person's home is usually their largest asset, and so could be at risk. Don’t worry, solely-owned assets can’t be taken to pay for someone else’s debts.
The Trustee will value your home, and work out how much equity (the amount you own compared to how much is on a mortgage) you have. They’ll also look at how much of your mortgage is left to pay, and how much it would cost you to sell.
Bankruptcy is a stressful and emotional time in someone’s life. So to avoid repossession, the Trustee will usually agree to the non-bankrupt person buying the other share. Just make sure you keep in contact with the Trustee. Your mortgage lender shouldn’t take action as long as the interest is paid.
Read more in our Guide: Can a joint mortgage be transferred to one person
There isn’t a specific score needed to get a joint mortgage after bankruptcy. That’s because there isn’t a universally recognised credit score. When you’re applying for a joint mortgage, lenders look at a number of factors to assess your risk and work out if you’ll both be able to cover the repayments without struggling each month.
Checking your credit scores across the major UK credit agencies before applying for a joint mortgage will give you an idea of how risky you might look to lenders. You can do this for free with a trial of checkmyfile* (usually £14.99 a month).
*Heads up, when you click through to our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend sites we truly trust and believe in.
Getting a joint buy-to-let mortgage after being discharged from bankruptcy can be tricky. It’s more like doing a business deal than a normal mortgage. The more recently you’re discharged from bankruptcy, the harder it will be to get approved. You’ll also need a deposit of at least 25% or higher if you or your partner have a bad credit history.
Your personal incomes are important, but the total rent you can get from the property is rated higher. Showing the lender that the incoming rent will cover the mortgage, fees and maintenance costs, with a backup plan in case you don’t have tenants for a while, will increase your chances. You’ll have even more chance if you wait until you’ve both got good credit scores.
Read more in our Guide: Can I get a buy to let mortgage with bad credit
You may be able to remortgage after you’ve been discharged. But you’ll usually need a bigger deposit. You may also need to show a high income and it’ll generally come with a much higher interest rate, but this rate will improve over time.
If you’re still in bankruptcy it’s highly unlikely a lender will approve your joint remortgage application. You’ll also have borrowing restrictions as part of your bankruptcy order, so usually it’s best to wait.
Whatever your situation, it's worth speaking to a specialist bankruptcy mortgage broker (like us!) who can let you know what your options are.
The number one thing to remember is: take your time and speak to a specialist first.
Here is a list of tips for improving your chances of getting a joint mortgage after bankruptcy:
Usually, the longer it's been since you or your partner were discharged from bankruptcy, the better you'll look to lenders. Some lenders might choose to approve your application straight after discharge, but you'll both have to meet strict criteria and pay higher interest rates. Instead it may be easier to wait a few years, making sure you keep your credit reports clean to greatly improve your chances.
There are some easy ways to keep your credit report looking healthy. From registering to vote to correcting errors, it all counts towards building your credit score back up. Keeping on top of your bills and paying them on time is really important too. Read more tips in our Guide: How to Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying For a Mortgage
If you can both show how you manage your income, you’ll look less risky to lenders. Try to gather paperwork that proves you understand your income, outgoings and household budget. These will show you can live within your means.
The less financial responsibilities and debts you both have, the better. Pay off as much of your debts as you can. This will show a lender you won't struggle to make repayments.
Saving a bigger deposit means you're asking to borrow less money and make a bigger commitment. It depends how recently you were discharged, but most lenders will ask people who’ve been bankrupt to put down a bigger deposit to reduce their risk. It may be worth waiting until you have more savings to greatly increase your chances.
Most lenders will want anyone who’s living at the property to be on the mortgage application. But if the non-bankrupt partner has a good credit history some lenders will consider just one of you. Bear in mind, you’ll still have to pass the affordability checks as a lender will want to know you can easily manage the mortgage repayments on your own.
When applying for a mortgage after bankruptcy, it's best to speak to an expert advisor who can assess your unique situation and explain your options. Our Mortgage Experts specialise in the tricky stuff. They know the market, which lenders will be best for you, and how to give your application the best chance of being accepted. Make an enquiry to find out your options.
We get how it feels when you’re refused a mortgage. We have first-hand experience of how your mental health can be affected when you get knocked back. We're working hard to spread awareness and tackle the stigma that comes with bad credit issues. Life happens, and there's many reasons why you might fall into bad credit. While getting a mortgage after bankruptcy can be trickier compared to someone with perfect credit, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Difficult is what we do.
Our Mortgage Experts are fully-qualified with experience in bad credit, self-employed and complex mortgages. They have a proven track record of getting mortgages for people who’ve been rejected elsewhere.
Our calculators give you an idea of what you might be able to borrow, what's affordable and a rough estimate of the kind of property prices you can start to look at.
Talk to our Mortgage Experts to find out your options