If you are thinking of applying for a mortgage and know that an aspect of your financial situation could limit your options, you may be tempted to lie on your application. As you might expect, this is never a good idea. But what penalty might you face for lying on a mortgage application? We take a look.
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Is it a crime to lie on a mortgage application?
Lying on a mortgage application is considered mortgage fraud, which is a criminal offence. Therefore, yes, it is a crime to lie on a mortgage application.
It is a criminal offence to lie about:
- How much money you earn
- Where you got the money for your deposit
- Your employment history
- Who will be living at the property
- Your marital status
What happens if you lie on your mortgage application?
First and foremost, don’t think that you will get away with lying on your mortgage application. Even if your application goes through with a lie, you might experience mortgage repayment problems in the future.
Once such problems arise, a review is conducted to determine why you are facing difficulties. Mortgage lenders will most likely uncover the lie during the review.
There are several possible outcomes if you are caught. However, the magnitude of your lie might be weighed first to determine the severity of your punishment. You can expect the following penalties:
- Fine: the fine can range from a few thousand pounds for minor convictions to more than £100,000 for significant convictions.
- Prison: like fines, minor convictions might carry a sentence of a few years compared to significant convictions that may carry a sentence of more than 10 years.
- Restitution: this is money paid to the lender, separate from fines paid to the government. It compensates the lender for any trouble or losses your lie caused.
It’s also important to note that you may lose your property on top of the above penalties.
What happens if you change jobs during mortgage application?
Changing jobs during a mortgage application could have a negative impact. However, this depends on the particulars of the new job.
It is recommended that you report any plans to change jobs to your lender before applying for a mortgage for three reasons:
- It eliminates any chance of the lender assuming that you are trying to lie on your application.
- Your lender can check whether the particulars of your new job might prove a risk.
- You might qualify for a better mortgage deal.
Do mortgage lenders call employers?
Mortgage lenders may call employers when there are concerns about your income and you’ve provided insufficient documentation. Additionally, if you are changing jobs, your mortgage lender may contact your employer to verify the job change.
Do mortgage lenders check tax returns?
Mortgage lenders may request tax calculations and tax year overviews during a mortgage application. These documents help to prove that no discrepancy exists between the income on your mortgage application and your tax returns. If there is a discrepancy, make sure you’re in a position to explain it.
Alternatives to lying on a mortgage application
As mentioned earlier, speaking to a mortgage broker might be in your best interest. Mortgage brokers may present solutions like considering guarantor or joint borrower mortgages. Additionally, they may advise you to seek out mortgage lenders who accept borrowers affected by the difficulties you’re facing.
Don’t let your lack of awareness lead you to face any penalty for lying on your mortgage application.
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