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How long does bad credit stay on file in the UK?

If you have had bad credit in the UK and you are looking to improve it so you can apply for a mortgage you may want to know how long it will sit on your credit report. 

Your credit file stores all negative and positive information from your financial history. Negative items will eventually be moved but often stay on your credit report for up to 6/7 years depending on the type of bad credit that it is. These negatives may impact your credit score and stop you from applying for forms of lending.  

This list gives an indication of how long bad credit can stay on file in the UK:

Item Time Scale
Bankruptcy 6 years
Late payments or defaults 6 years
CCJ 6 years
Repossession 7 years
IVA 6 years
DMP 6 years



Bankruptcy may be the route you have taken when you were left with no other options and could no longer pay your debt. You may have declared yourself bankrupt or a lender that you owed may have taken you to court. This route does clear your debts but it does come with a lot of consequences that will affect you for a long time, especially if you are looking to get a mortgage. Bankruptcy may look like the easy option but you may still need to make repayments for your debt if your income is high enough or sell your home or business to pay back your lenders.

Late payments and defaults 

If you have late payments or defaults on your credit file, whether you have paid the debt or not, they can stay on file for 6 years. Even if the default is eventually removed from your report you can still be pursued by the lenders to pay the debt you owe. 

County Court Judgements (CCJs)

County court judgements are court orders ordering you to pay what you owe to your lender. It happens when the lender you owe money to goes to court to enforce you to pay your debts. It is common practice for you to receive a letter detailing the amount of debt you owe, who the lender is and when you need to make payment by. It is likely this cost will also include the court fees which could make the overall amount jump up significantly. You will need to make payment within 30 days of receiving the letter or assets may be seized. The CCJ will stay on your file for 6 years whether you satisfy the debt or not. 


Repossession occurs when you have failed to pay your mortgage payments. The lender seizes the property to pay back the debt they are owed. A repossession takes 7 years to be removed from you credit file. The 7 years starts from the first missed payment date that started the repossession also known as the delinquency date.


An individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is way to pay back the debt you owe. It allows your debt to be frozen so interest does not continue to build up and lets you pay back a set amount that you can afford every month. The IVA will remain on your credit file for 6 years whether the debt is fully paid or not. 


A debt management plan is a solution to help people pay back their debt in affordable monthly payments for a certain number of years. The DMP will usually be made up of unsecured lending such as personal loans, credit cards or overdrafts. The DMP will stay on your credit file for 6 years.

Hard and soft checks 

Inquires can also show on your credit report in the form of soft or hard checks. A soft check could be if you are checking your own credit score or using an indication only tool for lending. This will have a neutral impact on your credit as you have not carried out a hard search or applied for anything at that stage. A hard check can be much more thorough and is usually carried out when going through the application stages for credit. It can be viewed as negative if there are too many in a short space of time or if the application resulted in a decline.

Do positive items stay on my credit file?

Information such as one-time payments and well-managed credit can show you are financially stable and managing your commitments well. This can build up a good picture for lenders who are evaluating your credit history. Your credit history can work for you as well as against you so it is always best to keep an eye on your report to see where you stand. 

How do I remove negative items from my credit report?

If you have found information on your credit report that you deem to be incorrect you can dispute this with the company that has filed the error. This can sometimes be a long process as it can take the company up to three months to file the notice of correction. This is why we advise you to check your credit reports before an application so you can find the issue and try and resolve it in a timely manner. 

Our bad credit mortgage experts can help you to remove the error from your report as well as advise you on how to improve your credit score. If you are concerned about how long bad credit stays on your file as you would like to get a mortgage to follow our links to get in touch and let us help today!

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FCA Disclaimer

Based on our research, the information on this page is correct as of the time of writing. Because lender criteria and rules are frequently updated, please contact one of the advisors with whom we work to ensure that you have the most up-to-date accurate information. The content on this site is not tailored advice for each specific individual who reads it, therefore it does not constitute financial advice. All of our mortgage advisors are qualified to give mortgage advice and do so only for firms that have been licensed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will provide you with any specialised information you require. The FCA does not regulate some forms of buy-to-let mortgages. Consider carefully before relying on other debts against your property. If you do not make payments on your mortgage, your home may be taken back by the lender. The equity released from your house will also be secured against it.