If you've gone through bankruptcy and come out the other side, you'll know that it's a complex process that will seriously impact your credit status. You may now be wondering what your options are for getting a mortgage with bad credit.

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about the impact of bankruptcy on your ability to get a mortgage and the best mortgages for discharged bankrupts.

What Is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process initiated when a person or business can’t pay back outstanding debt. It can provide people with relief by clearing debts they can’t pay.

While bankruptcy will stop you from being chased by creditors and allow you to get back on a firm financial footing, it does have some severe and long term consequences.

Your bankruptcy is recorded on your credit report and will include details of when it started and whether it's active or discharged. It will also be recorded on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Register, which anyone can see for free. This can mean that declaring bankruptcy will affect your future ability to rent a property, get a job or apply for borrowing.

Can I Get a Mortgage After Filing for Bankruptcy?

You can get approved for a mortgage after you've been discharged from bankruptcy, but the options available to you will be limited. Most mainstream lenders won't offer mortgages to applications soon after bankruptcy. This is also true if you've had any CCJs (county court judgments) taken against you. But the good news is that there are mortgage lenders that can consider discharged bankrupts. These tend to be adverse credit lenders rather than high street ones, and therefore may require a larger minimum deposit and/or charge you a higher interest rate. Mortgage brokers for discharged bankrupts like John Charcol can help you find those lenders.

How Long After Bankruptcy Should I Wait Before Applying for a Mortgage?

The longer you can wait after being discharged from bankruptcy before applying for a mortgage, the more lenders can consider you and the more options you’ll have.

Generally, the minimum you’ll need to wait is at least one year after being discharged. And even then there’s only one lender that can consider you and they’ll have certain requirements – e.g. you must have maintained a clean credit profile since being discharged and provide a 30% deposit.

If you can wait 3 – 6 years after being discharged, you’ll have access to a much wider pool of lenders, more products and better deals.

If it’s been more than 6 years since you were declared bankrupt, then it will no longer appear on your credit report and you’ll have access to even more mortgage lenders and competitive deals.

Which Mortgage Lenders Are for Discharged Bankrupts?

Most lenders will assess and accept mortgage applications from borrowers with discharged bankruptcy on a case-by-case basis. They'll consider several factors when reviewing your application, including your credit history, income, expenses and affordability.

Here are some examples of lenders that can consider discharged bankrupts.


The mortgages this specialist lender typically offers depend on how long it's been since you were discharged from bankruptcy – 2, 4 or 6 years – providing you've had no missed payments during that time.


This high street lender is generally open to lending to discharged bankrupts when it's been over 3 years since the bankruptcy was discharged. The mortgage application will also need the approval of a senior underwriter.

Skipton Building Society

This lender doesn't usually accept applications but will consider referrals from trusted specialist mortgage brokers if the bankruptcy has been discharged for at least 4 years.

At John Charcol, our mortgage brokers for discharged bankrupts will be able to advise you on your full range of mortgage choices that best suit your circumstances.

What Deposit Is Required for Discharged Bankrupts?

Mortgage lenders prepared to offer mortgages to borrowers with bad credit histories or bankruptcy will want to offset their risks by requesting a larger deposit. Some lenders may specify that you put down a deposit of 15% - 30% depending on how long it's been since you were discharged from bankruptcy. It’s unlikely you’d be able to find a higher LTV product like a 90% or 95% mortgage suitable for a discharged bankrupt.

How Can I Get a Mortgage After Bankruptcy?

While getting a mortgage after bankruptcy is complex, it's possible, especially if you follow these tips.

Go Through a Mortgage Broker

If you're looking for a mortgage after bankruptcy, a specialist mortgage broker like John Charcol can advise you on the options available. This may include approaching a specialist or bad credit lender who only deals with intermediaries in order to find the best deal.

Use a Specialist Mortgage Lender

Many high street lenders are deterred by the potential risks of loaning to someone with a history of bankruptcy or who has a bad credit history. Fortunately, specialist lenders are prepared to consider mortgage situations even with bankruptcy on your credit report.

Check Your Eligibility

While specialist lenders may lend to discharged bankrupts, they may impose strict eligibility requirements to offset any risk. They may require you to have been discharged from your bankruptcy for a specific time and that you have a clean credit report since your discharge.

Check Your Credit Report

You should begin rebuilding your credit score as soon as possible after bankruptcy, including paying your bills on time and in full. It's also a good idea to look at your debt-to-income and credit utilisation ratios to ensure they're in good shape.

Save for a Large Deposit

A bigger deposit can help you access more deals and better rates. Try and cut back on unnecessary expenses so you can save more. It’s also worth opening a lifetime ISA account.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score After Bankruptcy?

While you'll have to wait for a significant amount of time to pass after a bankruptcy discharge before applying for a mortgage, there are things you can do to improve your credit score.

Make All Your Payments on Time

Ensure that you make all your payments on time and keep a clean credit record to show that you’re now responsibly managing money.

Check Your Credit Report

Make it a habit to check your credit report to review your progress and check for any errors. If you spot any discrepancies, contact the creditor or the credit reference agency directly to review and make any necessary corrections.

Register to Vote

Register on the electoral roll if you’re not already, as this is a way for lenders to confirm your identity and address. It can also give you credit score a boost.

Apply for Credit with Caution

Every time you apply for credit, another mark will be left on your credit report, which other potential lenders can see, including when you've been declined for credit. Therefore, in order to avoid your credit score being severely negatively impacted, it’s a good idea not to apply for a lot of new credit within a short amount of time.

Use a Minimum Amount of Credit

When applying for a mortgage, lenders will look at your credit report to see how many credit accounts have outstanding balances and how much available credit you have. Ideally, you should use well below the maximum amount of credit you have available. This shows lenders that you can manage your finances effectively.

What Are the Eligibility and Affordability Criteria for a Mortgage After Bankruptcy?

While applying for a post-bankruptcy mortgage will put you in a unique position compared to most other borrowers, you'll still have to meet much of the same affordability and eligibility criteria, though with stricter requirements.


Lenders will want to determine how much you can afford to borrow. Some lenders may significantly reduce your maximum borrowing amount if you’ve been discharged from bankruptcy. To find out how much you could potentially borrow, ask your mortgage adviser.  

Debt History

Some lenders will want to ensure that you have no outstanding debt from bankruptcy by thoroughly assessing your finances. They'll want to check for any missed payments on credit cards and loans, and any settled or unsettled defaults.

Deposit Amount

With a bad credit history, most lenders will require you to pay a higher deposit than if you had a good credit history. While it depends on the lender you approach, you may have to provide a deposit of 30% of the property's value.

Current Employment

Going through bankruptcy means that some lenders will have stricter criteria concerning your employment. They may want you to have spent at least 12 months in your current employment – or 2 – 3 years in your current role if you’re self-employed - which is typically more than for standard borrowers.

Length of Time Since Discharge

The few lenders happy to accept applications from discharged bankrupts will look at how long it's been since you've been discharged before determining which mortgage products and terms are available to you.

Reasons for Your Bankruptcy

Some lenders will want to know what circumstances led to bankruptcy. They'll want to take an in-depth look at your credit report and the bankruptcy details as they consider your application.

Can I Get a Buy-to-Let Mortgage After Bankruptcy?

It's possible to get a buy-to-let mortgage after you've been discharged from bankruptcy. Most mortgage lenders for discharged bankrupts will require you to have been discharged for a minimum of 3 years, but a few lenders will consider bad credit buy-to-let mortgages if it's been less time.

Can I Apply for Government Home Ownership Schemes?

Going through bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean you aren't eligible for government homeownership schemes. The Help to Buy Equity Loan, Right to Buy and Shared Ownership mortgage schemes can be suitable for discharged bankrupts, but you may have a harder time finding a lender that can offer these schemes.

Summary: Mortgages for Discharged Bankrupts

Going bankruptcy is a huge event that can seriously affect many other aspects of your life.

But bankruptcy doesn't last forever and you can soon start to rebuild your credit profile. If you’re looking for a mortgage after being discharged from bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker like John Charcol. Our advisers are experts who can help you find the best deal for your situation. Contact us on 0330 433 2927to start your journey today.

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