If you have a CCJ (County Court Judgment) against you, it can make getting a mortgage more difficult. However, it’s not impossible. In this guide, we discuss CCJs, how they can impact your ability to get a mortgage and some options you may have.

What Is a County Court Judgment (CCJ)?

A CCJ is a court order stating that you owe money to someone. This happens when you:

  • Don’t pay an invoice or bill, for example for repairs carried out on your home or a utility bill
  • Fall behind with payments on utility bills such as electricity or water bills
  • Ignore letters and phone calls from the company or person you owe money to
  • Don’t stick to an agreed repayment plan
  • Miss payments on a credit card, loan, mortgage or other debt

If you don’t respond to the claim by the date stated in the letter or email you receive about the missed payments, the court will make a CCJ without a hearing. This is called a default judgment. Once the CCJ is issued, the court will send you a notice of enforcement telling you how much you owe and when you need to pay it by. The notice will also say how many years the debt will be enforceable for.

When you get a CCJ, it will be recorded on your credit file for 6 years, making it harder for you to borrow money. The company or person you owe money to can use different ways to force payment, including taking regular deductions from your wages, money from your bank or building society account, or asking bailiffs to seize and sell your possessions.

Can You Get a CCJ Removed from Your Credit File?

Each CCJ stays on your credit file for about 6 years - even if you repay them faster. But, you can get your CCJ removed sooner if:

  • The CCJs on your record are an error: you can appeal to the credit referencing agency and get a notice of correction added to your credit report if you think a CCJ is wrong. If you never received the CCJ but one suddenly appears on your file, you need to reach out to the court where the CCJ was originally filed
  • You paid the CCJ within 30 days: if you pay the full amount of the CCJ within 30 days, you can apply to have it removed from your credit file immediately
  • The CCJs are over 6 years old: as long as they’re settled, they should automatically fall off your credit file 6 years after the date of the CCJ. But if you see them on your file after 6 years, ask the credit referencing agency to remove them
  • You successfully disputed the CCJ: if you dispute a CCJ and the court agrees, it should be removed from your credit file

How Do You Know if You Have a CCJ?

You might have a CCJ if:

  • You've been taken to court by someone you owe money to and the court ruled in their favour
  • You didn't go to the court hearings because you couldn't afford to, or you didn't think you owed the money
  • The court sent you a notice saying you had a CCJ, but you didn't respond to it
  • The court issued a default judgment against you because you didn't respond to the claim

If any of these things have happened, then you may have a CCJ. To find out for sure, you can check your credit report via credit reference agencies like Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. It will show any CCJs against you, alongside other information about your credit history.

You can also check if you have a CCJ by accessing the Register of Judgements, Orders and Fines, but there is a small fee to do this.

How Do You Rebuild Your Credit Score After Receiving a CCJ?

If you have a CCJ, it’s important to try to pay it off as soon as possible. This will help improve your credit score and make it easier to borrow money in the future. You can also add a note to your credit file explaining your circumstances.

There are a few things you can do to improve your credit score to buy a house:

  • Check your credit report for any errors and correct them: you can get a copy of your credit report from one of the main credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion
  • Make all your payments on time: this includes credit card bills, utility bills and any other regular payments
  • Keep your credit balances low: if you have credit cards, try to keep the balances below 30% of the credit limit
  • Pay more than the minimum each month on debts: this will help reduce the amount of interest you pay and clear the debt quicker
  • Sign up for the electoral roll: this helps lenders verify your identity and address
  • Don’t apply for new credit: every time you apply for credit, it leaves a footprint on your credit report. Too many footprints can make it look like you’re desperately chasing credit and make it harder to get approved
  • Keep old accounts open and active: if you have credit accounts that you don’t use anymore, keep them open and active by using them occasionally

By following these steps, you can improve your credit score and make it easier to get a mortgage in the future.

Can You Get a Mortgage with a CCJ?

Lenders will consider a number of factors when assessing your CCJ(s), including:

  • The date of your CCJ(s): one of the most important elements related to a CCJ is the date of registration. The greater amount of time that has passed since the CCJ was issued, the better the likelihood of being approved for a mortgage. Many lenders also require that it be settled for 12 months or longer, but there are some that will still lend with a CCJ that has been resolved less than 12 months ago
  • How many CCJs you have: in most cases, when you apply for a bad credit mortgage, the lender will not consider applications with more than 2 CCJs registered in the last 2 years. There are some lenders that will accept more CCJs if you’re able to provide a larger deposit
  • The amount of the CCJ(s): the size of your CCJ can play a role in how much of a deposit you’ll need to put down, with larger amounts sometimes resulting in higher deposit requirements
  • Whether the CCJ has been satisfied: lenders' requirements for those with CCJs will differ, though getting a mortgage with a satisfied CCJ will be much easier. If it's unsatisfied, some lenders may require payoff before considering your mortgage application. Others only require that the CCJ be at least 2 years old

How Can You Improve Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage with CCJs?

There are things you can do to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage, even if you have CCJs.

  • Save up for a larger deposit: you'll typically need a larger deposit for bad credit, to offset the risk associated with having CCJs. It can also help you qualify for a lower mortgage rate
  • Improve your credit score: if you have CCJs, there's a good chance your credit score has been negatively impacted. Improve your credit score to buy a house by paying all your bills on time, being mindful of credit card limits and signing up for the electoral roll
  • Look for a bad credit mortgage specialist: there are adverse credit lenders who specialise in helping people with CCJs get mortgages. These lenders are more likely to look at your application favourably. It’s best to use a bad credit mortgage broker like John Charcol to make sure you find the right lender for your situation
  • Work on your financial situation: most lenders will also take into account your current financial situation when reviewing your mortgage application. This includes your income, employment history and other debts you may have. While having a CCJ can impact your ability to get a mortgage, showing that you haven't had any other financial difficulties and that you have a steady income can help offset this

Can You Get a Mortgage with a Paid CCJ?

If you have a paid CCJ, this is generally seen as more favourable by lenders than an unpaid one. It shows that you're capable of meeting your financial obligations. Overall, getting a mortgage with a satisfied CCJ is easier and less expensive than getting one with an unsatisfied one.

Can You Get a Mortgage with an Unpaid CCJ?

If you have an unpaid CCJ, this will make it more difficult to get a mortgage. It indicates that you're struggling to meet your financial obligations. In most cases, lenders will require that the CCJ be paid off before they'll consider your application, or that it be at least 2 years old. There are a few lenders that will consider an application with an unpaid CCJ but you’ll have options if it’s been satisfied.

Can You Get a Shared Ownership Mortgage with a CCJ?

Shared ownership mortgages are available to those with CCJs, but the shared ownership process is a bit different from a normal mortgage. If you're approved, you'll usually be able to purchase between 25% and 75% of the property. You’ll only pay a mortgage on this part. A housing association will own the rest and you’ll pay rent to them on that percentage of the property. You can purchase a greater proportion of the property later on via staircasing.

Generally, your deposit requirements will be lower with a shared ownership mortgage than with a traditional mortgage. This is because you're only taking out a loan for a portion of the property's value. That said, the minimum deposit required will still depend on the lender and your individual circumstances.

Can You Get a Guarantor Mortgage with a CCJ?

Having a guarantor for your mortgage used to be a way to secure financing with a CCJ. A guarantor is someone who agrees to cover your mortgage payments if you can't make them. Guarantor mortgages aren’t available anymore. Instead, you can speak to your broker about what options are available today.

Can You Get a Joint Mortgage with a CCJ?

If you have a CCJ, you can still apply for a joint mortgage with another person. However, be mindful that your adverse credit will affect the overall application and products available to you.

Can You Get a Mortgage if You’ve Had More Credit Problems?

Having adverse credit in addition to CCJs will make it increasingly difficult to borrow money. Lenders will take into account the severity of your other financial issues when assessing you. Issues such as overdrafts and late payments on credit cards are seen as less severe by lenders, than more serious financial problems like repossession or bankruptcy. Some specialist bad credit lenders may still consider you for a mortgage if you have other credit difficulties.

How Much Can You Borrow if You Have a CCJ?

The amount you can borrow with a CCJ depends largely on the details of your CCJs as well as your income and deposit amount. Your broker will be able to review your situation and confirm your maximum borrowing amount with the lender.

Applying for a Mortgage with a CCJ

While it may be difficult to get a mortgage with a CCJ from a traditional high street lender, there are still options. You could quickly be declined for a mortgage from a bank like HSBC, but be approved by a specialist bad credit lender. So, it's important to compare your options and find a bad credit mortgage that best suits you.

John Charcol has access to a whole market of these specialist lenders. We understand that having a CCJ can make it difficult to get a mortgage, so we'll do everything we can to help you find the right solution for your needs. We work with bad credit mortgage lenders to help you find the best deal possible and we'll support you through the application process from start to finish. If you're looking for a mortgage with a CCJ, get in touch with us today on 0330 433 2927.

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