Yes, you can get a Shared Ownership mortgage with bad credit. It’ll be more difficult than if you had a perfect credit score, but it's definitely possible.
You'll need to find a specialist mortgage lender who is likely to accept you. Over half of all the bad credit mortgages on the market aren't available to you directly as a buyer. You can only get access to them by working with a specialist mortgage broker. A broker will have in-depth knowledge of the Shared Ownership process and will know how to make your application look great, even with a poor credit rating.
Specialist lenders are mortgage companies who deal exclusively with people in complex financial situations. They're a great option if you have bad credit history. We work with experienced mortgage brokers who can help you find the lenders who are most likely to accept your application. See how it works
Shared Ownership (sometimes called Part Ownership) is where you buy part of a property and rent the rest. You take out a mortgage on the bit you're buying, then pay a reduced rent on the bit you don't own. You’re able to buy between 25-75% of the home, and can buy some or all of the remaining share later on when you can afford to.
Shared Ownership is only available for new-build homes and some existing properties via specific resale programmes from housing associations. They’re always leasehold, meaning you won’t own the land your property is built on and may have to pay ground rent and maintenance costs.
Shared Ownership mortgages help people who can’t afford 100% of the cost of a home to purchase a share of a property and rent the rest. Shared Ownership is a good option for people who can't save up a big deposit. You'll generally put down between a deposit of 5-10% of the share you're buying.
To qualify for a Shared Ownership mortgage, you'll have to meet the following criteria:
You're a first time buyer, or don't currently own a home
Your combined household earns less than £80,000 a year (£90,000 in London)
To apply, you’ll need to contact your local housing association to find out if Shared Ownership is available where you are and register on the official scheme in your region.
With over 200,000 Shared Ownership properties in the UK, the scheme has proved to be very popular. Some points to consider when applying for a Shared Ownership mortgage:
It's one of the cheapest ways to get on the property ladder
Less money up front - you only need a small deposit for the share you're buying
You can increase the share you own when you're able to afford it
You'll need to have the property valued before increasing your buyer's share. If house prices have increased since you took out the mortgage, you could end up paying more than you would have at the start
You'll have to give the housing association first refusal if you decide to sell the property
The homes are always leasehold, so you'll be liable to pay any ground rent or service charges in full (no matter what percentage of the property you actually own)
For a Shared Ownership mortgage, you only need to put down a deposit on the share you're actually buying. The average deposit size is between 5-10%.
Alongside your deposit, you'll need to put aside money for moving costs, stamp duty (if applicable) solicitors fees and leasehold fees. If you're buying a flat you'll also need to factor in yearly ground rent costs. Ground rent covers any building maintenance costs and upkeep of communal areas.
Having bad credit doesn't mean you can't get a Shared Ownership mortgage. It can make things more difficult compared to someone with a good credit score, but it doesn't make homeownership impossible.
Most big banks aren't likely to accept you for a mortgage if you have bad credit, but there's specialist lenders who'll consider you. If you have adverse credit history then you may be asked to pay a higher interest rate or put down a bigger deposit. That's why it's a good idea to work with a specialist mortgage broker - someone who's experienced in Shared Ownership and bad credit mortgages, and who'll find you the right lender and the best rate.
Be prepared to discuss your credit history with your broker. They'll listen without judgement and provide the right advice. They can then explain to lenders your reasons for falling into bad credit and what you've been doing to improve.
Go to our Bad Credit Mortgages page to find out what options you have if you have a bad credit score or have had credit issues in the past. If you’re ready to speak to someone, you can make an enquiry now.
It's a mortgage myth that you can't get a mortgage with bad credit. It's definitely possible to get a Shared Ownership mortgage with a poor credit history, but it's more difficult than it would be if you had a good rating. Whether you get accepted can depend on the type of credit issues that are on your file. Lenders will consider what caused the issue, how long ago it happened, and what you've been doing to improve.
With any credit issues, it's best to tackle them head on. Facing poor finances can cause a lot of anxiety, but finding out where you stand is the first step to putting things right. To find out your score, we recommend using checkmyfile. checkmyfile shows you data from across the big credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and gives you a fuller picture of your credit file. Read our Guide: checkmyfile Explained to find out how to use their useful service.
Here are some of the credit issues that can affect your Shared Ownership application:
Life happens. Most people pay a bill late at some point in their lives. They aren't generally seen as severe credit issues by mortgage lenders. Lenders will check to see how many late payments you have and how long ago it happened.
Defaults happen when you don't pay a bill at all, and stay on your credit file for six years. A default is the most common cause of bad credit in mortgage applicants. When applying for a Shared Ownership mortgage with defaults, lenders will check how many defaults you have, how long ago they happened, and how much money was involved. They'll also consider whether you paid them off and how much deposit you've managed to save.
An IVA is an alternative to bankruptcy. It's a legal agreement between you and the people you owe money to, allowing you to pay off your debts at an affordable rate. If you have an IVA, most banks won't accept you for a Shared Ownership mortgage. But there's specialist lenders who will.
Lenders will look at if you’re currently in an IVA and when it happened. They'll also check if you've been good with your repayments. Be prepared for lenders to ask for payment evidence from the last two years. Lenders will mainly be concerned with how long ago the IVA happened and whether you have any other credit issues.
Bankruptcy is declared when you can’t pay any of your debts. It will be hard to get a Shared Ownership mortgage after being bankrupt, but finding the right lender who specialises in helping people like you can make homeownership possible. You should work with a specialist bad credit mortgage broker if you've been bankrupt and need a Shared Ownership mortgage. They'll be able to find the right lender for you.
CCJ stands for County Court Judgement and happens when you owe money to someone who then takes court action against you. If you have a CCJ on your file, lenders will look at how much money was involved, how long ago it was registered and if you paid the debt off. Most lenders prefer your CCJs to have happened a while ago, but some will consider you with a recent one.
Debt management plans are a way of paying off your debts at a manageable rate. DMPs are for 'non-priority debts' such as credit cards, store cards or personal loans. You make one monthly payment to a DMP provider who then pays your creditors for you. If you’re currently in a DMP, you might also have late payments or defaults on your file, which can affect a lender's decision to grant you a Shared Ownership mortgage. If you're in a DMP it’s best to talk to a specialist mortgage advisor to understand your options.
There isn’t a specific score needed to get a Shared Ownership mortgage, because there's no such thing as a universally-recognised credit score.
When you apply for a Shared Ownership mortgage, lenders look at a number of factors to assess your risk and work out if you'll be able to make the repayments without struggling. The higher your score, the more chance you'll have of being accepted for a mortgage and getting the best rates. Read more in our Guide: What is a Bad Credit Score?
Checking your score across the main UK credit agencies will give you an idea of how risky you might look to lenders. You can do this for free with a trial of checkmyfile.
After you’ve registered for Shared Ownership you can start house-hunting. Your local housing association will need to carry out a financial assessment to see how much you can buy and how much you’ll need to rent.
You should start to gather the paperwork you need for your Shared Ownership mortgage application so you’re as prepared as possible. You'll need:
Proof of identity
Proof of your current address (usually a utility bill)
Employment details and proof of income
Payslips or accounts if you’re self-employed
Proof of your deposit
Some mortgage companies don’t offer Shared Ownership mortgages, so it’s a good idea to work with a mortgage broker who can find you the best deal. Especially if you have a poor credit history. Our clever algorithm matches you with the right mortgage broker for your unique situation. See how it works or make an enquiry
Applying for a Shared Ownership mortgage can feel daunting. It's even more stressful if you're worried about your credit history. The good news is, it's possible to get a Shared Ownership mortgage with bad credit, you'll just need to give yourself the best chance of being accepted.
Some tips for boosting your application:
Check your score
Find out where you stand. Then you'll know how to improve. For a detailed and thorough overview of everything on your credit record, go to checkmyfile.
Freshen up your credit report
Some surprisingly small factors can have an impact on your credit rating. Some quick changes you can make the boost your score:
• Register to vote where you live currently
• Check for faults on your record and ask the creditor to remove them
• Space out any credit applications
• Put your name on household bills
• Pay more than the minimum on your monthly credit card statement
• Don't withdraw cash from your credit card
• Don't use too much of the credit available to you
Use a mortgage broker
If you have a history of bad credit, it’s a good idea to work with a specialist mortgage broker. A qualified advisor will know which lenders will look at your application and consider your unique circumstances. They'll hold your hand through the whole journey, from application right through to completion. They know the market, and will make your application look as appealing as possible to mortgage companies.
A broker can help to ease the stress and anxiety that comes with a mortgage application. They'll know how to tackle complex situations, speed up the process, and keep you protected throughout. Read more in our Guide: 6 Reasons Why You Should Use a Mortgage Broker
Any marks on your record will lose their impact over time. If you’re continually working to improve your financial situation then lenders will look on this favourably. If you can, it might be better to wait for a bit while you work on your score, before applying for a mortgage.
Don't try to hide negative credit issues. Mortgage applications are thorough, so it's likely you'll be found out. Instead, be upfront and explain why you found yourself in financial difficulty, and what you’ve been doing to get out of it since. Life happens, and you’re only human.
Mortgages can be stressful - especially when things aren’t straightforward. According to a study from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, people can feel ‘trapped’ by poor credit ratings. Sorting things out might feel like a huge task, but knowing where you stand and checking what you can do is the best place to start.
We only do bad credit mortgages here at Haysto. So we completely understand the frustration. And we take mental health seriously. If you’re feeling worried about how your credit history might affect your Shared Ownership mortgage application, get in touch with us.
50% of mortgages for people who are self-employed or have bad credit aren’t available directly to you. They’re only available through specialist brokers. Using our platform guarantees you’ll be matched with a broker who has a proven track record of making mortgages possible for people like you. Less processing, more understanding.
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.