Workers on zero-hour contracts could soon have the right to ask their employers to move them onto fixed hours, potentially making it easier for them to get a mortgage.
Zero hours contracts don’t provide employees with a guaranteed regular income, as employers only offer work as and when they need help. As a result, lenders are often wary about offering mortgages to people on this type of contract, as they may be concerned that in some months, income may not be sufficient to cover mortgage payments.
A government-commissioned inquiry into zero hours contracts is expected to call for employees on this type of contract to be given the right to request a transfer to fixed hours, which would help them know exactly how much they will earn each month.
There are currently more than 900,000 people in the UK on zero hours contracts, according to the Office for National Statistics. Numbers are rising, with 110,000 more people on this type of contract in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. In 2008, just 143,000 people were on zero hours contracts.
Even though it can be harder to get a mortgage if you are on a zero hours contract, some lenders are prepared to offer mortgages to temporary workers. They will treat applications on a case by case basis, but there are several things workers on zero hours contracts can do to improve their chances of getting a mortgage.
- It’s important to show you have a track record of working on this basis and that it has provided you with a relatively stable income. Having records showing that you’ve been on a zero hours contract for at least 12 months should help prove your work is consistent.
- You’re less likely to be offered a mortgage if there are big gaps in your employment record, perhaps because you work for a retailer and are only brought in during particularly busy periods, such as the summer sales or Christmas.
- You should also get a copy of your credit history and see whether there is anything you can do to improve your credit score. Ways to do this include: making sure you’re on the electoral roll, closing any credit card accounts you no longer use, and paying off outstanding debts.