Can I get a mortgage with a CCJ?

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Overview:

This guide will talk you through the process of getting a mortgage with a CCJ, including how to know if you have a CCJ and what can affect getting a mortgage with a CCJ.

The process of getting a mortgage isn’t easy – especially if you’re buying your first home – and having a CCJ can make things a little more complicated.

However, you do have options when applying for a mortgage with a CCJ and it’s certainly not impossible.

What is a CCJ?

A County Court Judgment or County Court Judgement (CCJ) is a type of court order that might be issued against you if you owe someone money and the court has ruled that you must repay it.

Usually, a creditor will apply for a CCJ if they have been unsuccessful in collecting a debt and have sought legal help from the court to ensure they receive the missed payments.

When you receive a CCJ claim form in the post, you must respond promptly stating whether you owe the debt or dispute the claim.

Not responding to a CCJ won’t make it go away and the court may take more serious action against you to recover the money, such as sending bailiffs to your home to seize your belongings.

How do I know I have a CCJ?

Before applying for a mortgage, it can be useful to check if you have any blemishes on your credit file that may make the process challenging or stop you from being approved altogether. This includes checking for CCJs.

The easiest way to check for a CCJ is to access a free copy of your credit report from any of the main credit reference agencies (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion). Even if you don’t think you have a CCJ, getting into the habit of checking your credit file regularly can help you ensure your financial information held about you is correct and up to date.

The Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines also lists all CCJs for six years from the date they were registered, as well as the amount of money owed. The register is publicly accessible but there is a small fee of between £6 and £10 per search depending on how much information is required.

How will a CCJ affect my credit score?

Having any type of court order on your credit file will affect your credit score and a CCJ is no different.

From the date the CCJ is registered, it will be visible on your credit record for six years. During this time, your credit score will be lowered and you’ll struggle to get approved for a loan or a mortgage.

This is because a CCJ is an indication that you’ve struggled with debt in the past and may repeat the same behaviour if you were to take out another credit agreement. Even if your application is approved, lenders will offer you less favourable terms and higher interest rates to balance the risk.

The only way to stop a CCJ from having a negative effect on your credit score is to repay the full amount owed within one month of receiving the CCJ claim form. Once full payment has been made, the CCJ will be removed from your credit file and you’ll be free to move on from the debt.

Can I get a mortgage with a CCJ?

The process of getting a mortgage with a CCJ isn’t easy, but you do have options.

Firstly, specialist mortgage lenders are mortgage lenders that have experience in helping people with adverse credit histories – including people with CCJs – secure mortgages. They will assess your financial situation and offer you the best mortgage terms for your circumstances.

Before reaching out to high street lenders – who are unlikely to look past your CCJ – start your search with specialist lenders. This can shorten the time it takes for you to get approved for a mortgage and result in fewer hard searches on your credit report which can cause further damage.

Generally, the less CCJs you have and the longer it’s been since you received them, the better your chances of getting a mortgage.

Because a mortgage is a secured loan, it’s important not to apply unless you’re confident you’ll be able to make repayments in full and on time. Missing payments could result in your home being repossessed and this will cause further damage to your credit score – especially if the CCJ is still visible on your credit file.

What can affect getting a mortgage with a CCJ?

There are various factors that can affect you getting a mortgage with a CCJ and it’s not usually as straightforward as a simple yes or no. We’ve outlined these factors below:

The age of the CCJ

When your CCJ was registered is one of the first things a mortgage broker will look at when assessing your mortgage application.

Put simply, your chances of being approved significantly increase if it has been more than three years since the CCJ was issued.

CCJs that are less than a year old, on the other hand, may cause mortgage lenders to be more wary of your ability to make payments in full and on time.

The size of the CCJ

How much debt the CCJ is for will also be taken into consideration. Most lenders – including specialist lenders – have a limit on how much debt they are willing to accept for a mortgage.

For example, some lenders may only let you borrow up to 3x your annual income while others are more lenient and would be happy to offer you 5x your annual salary.

Generally, higher debt levels require higher deposits.

The size of the deposit

The higher deposit you’re able to offer, the more likely your application is to be approved. This is the case for any mortgage, regardless of whether you have a CCJ or not.

However, it’s important to note that for a minimum deposit of 5%, your CCJ must be at least three years old.

Some lenders will approve you for a mortgage if you’ve had a CCJ in the last 12 months if you’re in a position to pay a 25% deposit.

The status of the CCJ

The status of the CCJ (e.g. whether you have an unsatisfied or satisfied CCJ) will also have an impact.

For example, most lenders will only consider applicants with CCJs that have been satisfied for at least 12 months as it proves that they have settled their debts and have managed to avoid accruing further debt in that time.

Generally, mortgage brokers look more favourably on applications if the CCJ was issued more than three years ago and has been settled.

Do I have to disclose a CCJ when applying for a mortgage?

When you apply for a mortgage with a CCJ, lenders will be able to see the CCJ on your credit file and know you failed to repay a former debt. They will also be able to see your name and details of the debt on the Register of Judgments, Orders, and Fines.

However, the CCJ will be removed from your credit file and the register after six years and nobody will be able to see that you ever had a CCJ, including lenders.

Similarly, a CCJ will be removed from your credit file and the register if you pay if off completely within one month of receiving it.

Some lenders will ask if you have a history of debt or have ever had a CCJ but you are not legally obliged to mention a CCJ if it is over six years old and there is no trace of it on your credit file or the register.

How long after a CCJ should I apply for a mortgage?

There is no set time you should wait after a CCJ before applying for a mortgage but the more time that’s passed since the CCJ was registered, the better.

Remember, a CCJ will be visible on your credit file for a total of six years regardless of whether or not you pay it during this time. Unless you need to move immediately, waiting until it has been removed will significantly improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.

The length of time you wait before applying can also affect the types of mortgages you are offered, including the required deposit and interest rate.

There may be a small handful of lenders willing to lend to you with a CCJ of less than 12 months old, but it can take some time to find a lender and go through all the necessary checks.

How can I rebuild my credit history after a CCJ?

CCJs can cause considerable damage to your finances but the good news is, your credit score will gradually start to improve as your CCJ ages. This means that, as long as you manage your other financial obligations sensibly, you should be in a position to start rebuilding your credit rating as soon as your CCJ is repaid.

Here are some of the things most financial experts recommend to improve your credit and your chances of getting a mortgage after a CCJ:

Register to vote at your current address

When you register to vote, your electoral details are added to your credit report which helps lenders confirm you are who you say you are and, more importantly, aren’t committing identity fraud.

This automatically boosts your credit score and improves your chances of getting approved for a mortgage.

Pay your bills in full and on time

Managing your financial obligations responsibly is a key indication that you’re capable of sticking to the terms of a credit agreement and are therefore a reliable borrower.

Even if you’re struggling to afford your repayments, reaching out to the lender as soon as possible can help you come to a mutual agreement and avoid defaulting, which can have serious implications for your finances.

Minimise your credit applications

Making multiple credit applications makes it look like you’re overly reliant on credit and this can make lenders wary of entering into a credit agreement with you.

Most financial experts would advise against applying for credit more than once every three months.

Check your credit report for errors

Getting into the habit of regularly checking your credit report can help you identify any mistakes that may be dragging your credit score down.

Something as simple as updating an old address or correcting a misspelt surname could give your credit score the boost it needs to get back to its pre-CCJ level.

Conclusion

One of the most common questions among people with CCJs is whether it will affect their chances of getting a mortgage.

Getting a mortgage with a CCJ is possible but you may need to contact a specialist CCJ mortgage broker or ‘bad credit mortgage broker’ instead of a standard high street lender.

Having a CCJ that is several years old and has been paid off can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage.

Key Takeaways

Getting a mortgage with a CCJ is difficult but it's certainly not impossible and you do have options
Applying for adverse credit mortgages can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage with an ongoing or recent CCJ
Applying for a mortgage with a satisfied CCJ can make it easier to get approved
You don't need to disclose a CCJ when applying for a mortgage if the CCJ is over six years old and has been removed from your credit record
Your credit score will gradually improve as your CCJ ages
Maxine McCreadie

Maxine McCreadie

Author/Debt Expert

Maxine McCreadie, prominent personal finance writer featured in Vogue and Yahoo News, delivers practical guidance, simplifying money management and championing financial literacy.

How we reviewed this article:

HISTORY

Our debt experts continually monitor the personal finance and debt industry, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

May 7 2024

Written by
Maxine McCreadie

Edited by
Ben McCormack

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