Eight possible obstacles to buying a property if you’ve ever had a criminal conviction

Posted on Monday, November 6, 2017

Regrettable choices and mistakes are a part of growing up that almost everyone experiences at numerous points throughout their lives. Unfortunately, for the unlucky few, some mistakes are easier to forget and move on from than others when it comes to the decision to purchase a home and step onto the property ladder.

If you’ve ever been in trouble with the law, there are different obstacles you might face depending on the nature of crime committed, but here are some of the ways to prepare for attempting to own your own property following a criminal conviction.

1. You will generally see an increase in the cost of insurance premiums across the board if you’ve previously been convicted of a crime. This will not just include your home insurance, but it can also impact your car and travel insurance policies as well.

One way to try and lessen the cost of the amount you’re paying on insurance is to seek out the advice of a specialist insurance company who’s worked with individuals in similar predicaments in the past, rather than a mainstream provider.

2. It is worth being aware of the fact that some financial service providers may also have a problem with insuring you and your new home if they consider the policy a ‘moral risk’ to have on their books.

3. With a previous conviction, financial service providers are going to be much more likely to require more private and personal information from you than a standard applicant.

Being as prepared as possible about financial, lifestyle and job questions that could arise will give you the best chance of impressing decision makers.

4. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time when looking for a mortgage or home insurance policy, as the process of purchasing any financial service is likely to take longer as a result of your conviction. This is because the case will often need to be referred to a more senior level or teams trained specifically in this area. 

5. Total honesty when corresponding with financial service providers, by ways of disclosing accurate details of your previous conviction, is of paramount importance to ensure you don’t run the risk of voiding your cover or agreement in the future.

6. If you’re purchasing a home with a partner, then it’s also extremely important that they are made aware of any valid convictions, as it will undoubtedly impact their experience of owning a property too. Most financial product providers will ask questions about a household as a whole, and not just individual experiences, so this will help to avoid any embarrassing situations.

7. It might seem like an obvious warning, but many industry insiders are aware that property and belongings owned by the individual with a conviction are at a greater risk of expensive damage due to the prospect of revenge attacks from the person or people you may have committed a crime against, or someone who holds a grudge from a criminal trial.

8. On a final note, it’s important to remember that only unspent convictions needs to be declared in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This could mean that a conviction has no financial implication to you whatsoever, so try not to panic until you know all the facts.

Article by Rob Rushton – originally appeared in Property Reporter – November 2017

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