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Mortgages for Key Workers: Are You Eligible?

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Last modified:

October 16, 2020

Mortgages for Key Workers: What You Need to Know

Mortgages for key workers offer special rates and deals only available to those providing a valuable service to their local, and wider, community.

NHS workers, military defence staff, teachers, justice workers, and firefighters: if you’re one of these vital community lynchpins, you could be eligible for favourable rates. Not only that, but you could also access special key worker housing schemes to maximise your house buying opportunities.

To find out more about key worker mortgages and property schemes, check out part one of this series Everything You Need to Know About Key Worker Mortgages and Property Schemes. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, but you’re not sure if you could apply for these special mortgages – read on.

Mortgages for Key Workers: Are You Eligible?

The criteria for what qualifies someone for special key worker mortgage rates and housing schemes are varied and detailed.

To begin with, the essential criteria every type of key worker must meet to qualify for these opportunities include:

  • Proof you’re unable to afford a home within a practical commuting distance to work
  • Be a British, EU, or EEA citizen – or have indefinite leave to stay in the UK
  • Proof of savings to cover related property purchase costs
  • Hold a permanent employment contract (with some exceptions: see Unconventional Income section below)
  • Be buying your sole property (either as a first-time buyer or to move your residential home)
  • Have a good credit history (this varies from lender to lender)
  • Have a minimum of five years left to serve before retirement age

Each industry sector also has specific job roles and eligibility criteria.


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.


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 be eligible, but not those working in a university setting.

You must have Qualified Teacher Status granted before you can apply for a teacher mortgage rate.

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Law Enforcement

Police officers and other staff in the law enforcement sector may qualify as key workers. The roles included 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 may qualify as key workers for mortgage purposes.


Firefighters seeking a mortgage for key workers must meet very specific criteria to qualify, namely:

  • Be a uniformed officer
  • Have completed initial training
  • Completed a 10-week training course to qualify as a Control Officer (in some cases)

Other staff working in or with the fire service would not be eligible.

Defence Staff

Staff for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) may qualify for a key worker mortgage or housing deal 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 from region to region, and between mortgage providers. As such, some other roles may be considered for preferable mortgage rates or housing schemes, 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, contact us for impartial mortgage advice.

Newly Qualified Key Worker Mortgage Deals

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 have realised that newly qualified key workers, like teachers and even dentists, need mortgage rates that allow them to afford to live near their first role after qualifying.

These exclusive mortgages offer deals such as enabling applicants to borrow 5.5 times their income up to a 95% loan to value, with no arrangement fee. You’ll also be offered free evaluation and may be eligible to apply for up to £600,000 – and it’s applicable to first-time buyers and home movers.

Key Workers with Unconventional Income Types

Some mortgage providers are equipped to offer mortgage deals to key workers with unconventional incomes.

For example, bank nurses and supply teachers offer a valuable service to the community but will not have a regular monthly income for a lender to assess. They may also have income from both employed and self-employed sources, which mainstream lenders may not be willing to consider.

The good news is that specialist key worker mortgage lenders can offer loans to those with an unconventional or irregular income. This includes military personnel too, who may not be able to follow traditional mortgage applications due to residency changes and lender requirements.

Mortgages for Key Worker Housing Schemes

There are several ways you can take advantage of key worker housing schemes to maximise your house purchase opportunities.The most popular key worker housing schemes include:

For more details about these schemes, read part one of this blog series Everything You Need to Know About Key Worker Mortgages and Property Schemes.

Mortgages for housing schemes like these work in a similar way to a mortgage for applicants who do not hold key worker status. However, you may be able to access preferential rates and also combine your mortgage deal with local authority schemes that prioritise key worker accommodation.

Why Should Key Workers Use an Independent Mortgage Broker?

As you can see, mortgages for key workers come with some strict, and sometimes vague, lending guidelines. Each mortgage provider has unique criteria for key worker applicants, as do housing schemes run by local authorities.

Finding the best option to buy a house as a key worker can feel overwhelming – and that’s before you realise that some deals aren’t even available on the open market for you to find.

An independent mortgage broker can offer you whole of market advice. That means the advice you receive is truly impartial and offered in your best interests based on your circumstances.

We guarantee to show you the widest range of key worker – and other – mortgages that you could apply for depending on your unique requirements and circumstances. Whether you’re a nurse in need of a mortgage to move closer to your hospital or a soldier wanting a permanent home for your family, we can help.

Request a callback from our expert team today to find out if a key worker mortgage is the right solution for your property purchase.

Lilla Dilliway

Our mortgage adviser extraordinaire.


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