Mortgages for Key Workers

Mortgages for Key Workers

In 2019, a third of the total UK workforce were in key worker occupations and industries (according to ONS data).  With the event of the Coronavirus pandemic, the figure of 10.6 million people (or 33%) is expected to have risen.

A proportion of these key workers may be eligible for a key workers mortgage under the lenders criteria to help them to buy a new home or to remortgage.  Mortgages for key workers offer special rates and deals only available to those providing a valuable service to their community.   Specialist key worker lenders can offer loans to those with an unconventional or irregular income, and/or military personnel who may have regular residency changes.

Are you a key or critical worker?

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the consequential UK lockdowns that have followed, many people have become more familiar with those whose jobs qualify them as key workers.  Key workers are those people who work in the police, fire, NHS, wider healthcare, prison or state education services, as well as members of the armed forces, local authority, probation services and environmental officers and other areas. These people are considered as crucial to the smooth running of the social infrastructure of the country.

However, the title of “key worker” can also be applied to civilian and non-professional staff who work in the qualifying Government employed sectors, which includes porters, administration staff, as well as care workers and teaching assistants.  If you’re one of these vital community workers, you could be eligible for a key worker mortgage, but mortgage lender definitions may vary, and some eligibility is also area dependent.

Are you eligible for a key worker mortgage?

Fortunately, there is a range of mortgage providers who offer products, discounts and special deals for key or critical workers.  Those who think that they may qualify as key workers should contact an experienced mortgage broker like Howard Mortgages, who is familiar with key worker mortgage products and providers because the criteria for what qualifies someone for special key worker mortgage products are varied and detailed.

Most mortgages for key workers such as NHS staff and police officers require a period of time already served in the role before a mortgage application will be approved.  However, some lenders support newly qualified key workers, like teachers and dentists, with mortgage products to enable them to afford to live near their first place of work after qualifying.

The main key worker mortgage criteria includes:

  • British, EU, or EEA citizenship – or indefinite leave to stay in the UK
  • Proof of savings (and income) to cover related property purchase costs
  • Permanent employment contract (with some exceptions allowed)
  • You must be buying/ remortgaging your sole property (either as a first-time buyer or to move your residential home)
  • Good credit history (this varies from lender to lender)
  • Minimum of five years left to serve before retirement age
  • Proof you’re unable to afford a home within a practical commuting distance to work (if applicable)

Key worker industry sectors and job roles also have their own eligibility criteria.  Some examples are listed below for example purposes only.  Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

NHS/ Healthcare

To claim an NHS mortgage deal, you must be a permanent employee of an NHS trust or organisation, but not be a doctor, dentist, administrator, domestic staff, or porter.


Only key workers with Qualified Teacher Status are eligible for a teacher mortgage rate.  All teachers in state education positions may qualify to get mortgages designed for key workers. Teachers in private institutions, including nurseries and schools, will not qualify.  Lecturers and teachers in Further Education colleges may also be eligible, but not those working in a university setting.

Law Enforcement

The roles included as key workers in law enforcement are:

  • Police officers
  • Community support officers
  • Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CBC) officers
  • Prison officers and nursing staff
  • British Transport Police staff (area dependent)
  • Some civilian police officers (area dependent)
  • Social Workers
  • Adult and child social workers employed by local authorities or council districts (area dependent)

Fire Service

Fire service workers must meet the criteria of being a uniformed officer and have completed initial training as well as the 10-week training course to qualify as a Control Officer (in some cases) to qualify for a key worker mortgage.  Other staff working in or with the fire service may not be eligible.

Ministry of Defence

Staff for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) may qualify for a key worker mortgage if they are:

  • An MoD police officer
  • A uniformed member of the Defence Fire Service
  • Service personnel in all military branches
  • Clinical staff (not doctors or dentists)

Other Key Worker Roles

The rules for key worker mortgage qualification vary between mortgage lenders.  As such, some other key worker roles may be considered for preferable mortgage rates including:

  • Qualified environmental health officers
  • Highways Agency staff
  • Traffic officers

If you’re not sure whether your job role, experience, or circumstances qualify you for a key worker mortgage application, please contact us for impartial mortgage advice.

Never before have mortgage rules been so confusing – yet financial advice so critical as it is today. An expert mortgage broker will be able to guide you through the options for you and your circumstances.  For advice on the right mortgage to suit your personal circumstances, please contact the team at Howard Mortgages on 01803 554455 or contact us here.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.