The zero-hour contract, has become an increasingly popular employment option in the UK, offering flexibility to both employers and employees. However, it also raises questions about financial stability and the ability to access essential financial services, such as obtaining a mortgage. In this article, we will explore the possibility of getting a mortgage on a zero-hour contract in the UK and discuss the challenges and potential solutions for those working under such contracts.
Understanding zero-hour contracts
A zero-hour contract is a type of employment agreement where the employer does not guarantee a minimum number of work hours for the employee. Instead, the employee is only required to work when called upon, and the employer has the flexibility to offer more or fewer hours according to their needs. Although this type of contract provides flexibility for both parties, it can lead to financial insecurity for workers, making it challenging to access financial products like mortgages.
Can you get a mortgage on a zero-hour contract?
The short answer is yes, it is possible to obtain a mortgage on a zero-hour contract in the UK. However, the process can be more complicated and challenging than for someone on a permanent contract or with a fixed income. Lenders typically view zero-hour contract workers as higher-risk borrowers because of the inconsistency and unpredictability of their income.
Key factors to consider when applying for a mortgage on a zero-hour contract
Lender criteria: Each mortgage lender has its criteria for assessing mortgage applications, and some may be more accommodating to zero-hour contract workers than others. It is essential to research lenders and choose one that understands and caters to the specific needs of zero-hour contract workers.
Income proof: Lenders will need to see evidence of your income to determine your affordability and eligibility for a mortgage. For zero-hour contract workers, this can be more complex, as your income may fluctuate. Lenders often ask for at least 12 to 24 months’ worth of payslips or tax returns to assess your average earnings, making it crucial to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of your income.
Deposit size: A larger deposit can improve your chances of obtaining a mortgage, as it reduces the lender’s risk. It may be necessary for zero-hour contract workers to save a more significant deposit to increase the likelihood of mortgage approval.
Credit history: A good credit score is essential for any mortgage application. However, it becomes even more critical for zero-hour contract workers to demonstrate responsible financial management and a positive credit history to offset the perceived risk associated with fluctuating income.
Specialist mortgage brokers: Engaging the services of a specialist mortgage broker can be beneficial for zero-hour contract workers. These brokers have experience dealing with unique employment situations and can help identify suitable lenders and guide you through the application process.
Guarantor mortgages: In some cases, having a guarantor, usually a close family member, can provide additional security to the lender and improve the chances of mortgage approval. The guarantor agrees to cover the mortgage payments if the borrower is unable to do so.
Joint Applications: Applying for a mortgage with a partner or friend who has a stable income can increase the chances of approval. Their income can provide additional security to the lender, improving the overall affordability assessment.
In summary, getting a mortgage on a zero-hour contract in the UK is possible, albeit more complicated than for those with more stable incomes. By researching suitable lenders, providing proof of income, saving a larger deposit, maintaining a good credit score, and considering alternative solutions such as specialist mortgage brokers, guarantor mortgages, or joint applications, zero-hour contract workers can improve their chances of securing a mortgage and achieving their dream of homeownership. With persistence and careful financial planning, the challenges associated with zero-hour contracts can be overcome, allowing these workers to access essential financial services and enjoy the benefits of property ownership.